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Duke trying for 6th straight ACC title

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Duke's run at a sixth straight Atlantic
Coast Conference tournament title is off to an impressive start.
Mistie Williams and Wanisha Smith each scored 17 points Saturday
and the Blue Devils turned in an awesome offensive performance to
beat Wake Forest 107-50 in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.
Monique Currie, the ACC player of the year, and Laura Kurz each
added 16 points for the second-seeded Blue Devils (27-3), who set
single-game tournament records for most points and 3-point field
goals. The 57-point margin was tied for the second largest in
tournament history.
"It was one of those nights when everything's clicking," Duke
coach Gail Goestenkors said.
Indeed. The Blue Devils hammered the Demon Deacons (15-14) from
the start and never took their foot off the gas, breaking the
previous single-game record of 106 points set by Virginia in a
triple-overtime championship game in 1993.
Duke also set records with 12 3-pointers and 62 points in a
half, and held Wake Forest to a record-low 12 field goals. The Blue
Devils also had 29 assists, one short of tying the tournament
record.
It was a good way to follow a disappointing 77-68 home loss to
North Carolina last weekend, which cost the Blue Devils the
tournament's No. 1 seed.
"It's the best 40 minutes I've ever seen any team play at any
level," Wake Forest coach Mike Peterson said. "At one point I
thought we could make a run for it, but they would probably lock
the doors on us."
The Blue Devils have won 16 straight tournament games and stayed
unbeaten in the Greensboro Coliseum heading into Sunday's
semifinals.
The Blue Devils shot 68 percent to take a 62-26 lead at the
break. And with only eight players on the bench, the Blue Devils'
regulars played until the final horn.
By the time it was over, the Blue Devils had led by as many as
60 points and had made nearly as many field goals (46) as the Demon
Deacons had attempted (49).
"We just talked about playing with purpose and passion,"
Goestenkors said. "We feel like we play very well together, and I
thought we were very, very focused and ready to go."
All but one Duke player scored in double figures. Alison Bales
scored 12 points, Chante Black and Wynter Whitley each scored 10,
and Jessica Foley finished with nine.
The Blue Devils cracked the 100-point mark on a 3-pointer from
Kurz for a 102-47 lead with 2:37 left, and broke the scoring record
on another 3 from Kurz for a 107-47 lead with 30.6 seconds to play.
Duke improved to 18-0 all-time in the Greensboro Coliseum, a run
that includes two wins in the 1999 NCAA Tournament that propelled
the Blue Devils to their first Final Four.
"I know the tradition started before I got here," Williams
said of the Blue Devils' history in Greensboro. "We know that
tradition, and we have to have that pride."
Duke made nine of its first 10 shots, taking a 22-4 lead on a
jumper by Whitley with 12:31 left in the half. Wake Forest hardly
could keep up, missing six of its first seven shots and committing
seven turnovers during that run.
It didn't matter who was shooting for the Blue Devils, the
results were always the same. Duke shot 26-for-38 in that half,
including 7-for-12 from 3-point range.
Currie had two 3-pointers in that initial burst and finished the
half 5-for-5 with 14 points.
Liz Strunk scored 13 points to lead Wake Forest, which is
eligible for postseason play for the first time since 1993.
"I don't think there is any way you can let one night diminish
what you've done for the past six months, ever since the first day
of practice," Strunk said. "We really want to get a (WNIT) bid
and continue playing."