3:00 PM ET, March 6, 2005
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Separated by a concrete wall, North Carolina and Duke players crowded around locker room television sets to watch their men's teams battle it out.When North Carolina wrapped up a close victory in that heated rivalry, and the women's shouts of joy could be heard through the wall, Duke coach Gail Goestenkers broke the silence in her locker room."Are we ready to go?" she asked. "Let's get out of here."With that, the Blue Devils were off, headed back to the hotel to prepare for North Carolina in the finals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.No. 6 Duke will be trying for its record sixth consecutive tournament title, advancing to the championship game after a 74-44 victory over Maryland (No. 25 AP) on Sunday."Coach isn't telling us to defend our championship," said Monique Curry, the ACC player of the year. "She says to pursue another. That's stuck in my mind throughout the tournament."Duke (28-3) will have to beat North Carolina (26-3) for the first time this season to win another title. The Tar Heels won both regular-season meetings, including a 77-68 victory at Duke last week."I think we're looking forward to another opportunity to redeem ourselves," Goestenkers said.The Blue Devils will have history on their side in Monday night's matchup. They've won 17 consecutive ACC tournament games, are 19-0 at the Greensboro Coliseum and have beaten the Tar Heels in the last three finals.Plus, Duke has been playing outstanding basketball in this tournament. In addition to its blowout win over Maryland, Duke dismantled Wake Forest 107-50 in the quarterfinals.The Blue Devils had five players in double figures, including 14 apiece from Mistie Williams and Chante Black.But this one wasn't about how well Duke played. Instead, it was a question of how bad Maryland was (21-9).The Terrapins scored just 11 points in the first half -- the fewest one-half total in ACC tournament history -- and never challenged the Blue Devils. The Terrapins missed their first eight attempts, 19 out of 22 in the first half, and went over 11 minutes without a basket while falling behind 33-11 at the half.Then they opened the second half by missing 12-of-14 shots to fall behind 45-15 with 12:00 to play. Maryland finished 15-of-57 from the floor (26 percent) and was 2-for-9 from 3-point range."Duke is hard to prepare for," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said.Anesia Smith led the Terrapins with 12 points and Crystal Langhorne, the ACC freshman of the year, had 11.Smith defended the Terrapins for not quitting in the second half."I felt like everything that could go wrong went wrong," Smith said. "But we decided we weren't going to quit and my team took huge steps forward in terms of heart and commitment."Curry scored 13 for Duke, Jessica Foley had 11 and Wanisha Smith chipped in 10. Alison Bales had three blocks to give her 116 for the season, an ACC record.
|FG Made-Attempted||15-57 (.263)||24-52 (.462)|
|3P Made-Attempted||2-11 (.182)||2-10 (.200)|
|FT Made-Attempted||12-15 (.800)||24-27 (.889)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (0/0)||15 (0/0)|