6:00 PM ET, March 5, 2005
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."