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Currie, Duke hold off Texas surge, stay undefeated

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Duke knew the Texas Longhorns
were better than their 41-point loss to Tennessee a few days
earlier.

Good enough to give the Blue Devils (No. 2 ESPN/USA Today, No. 1 AP) a pretty good fight, just
not good enough -- or experienced enough -- to win it.

Monique Currie scored 23 points and Duke survived a surge from Texas' (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) new freshmen-heavy lineup for a tough 84-70 victory
Sunday.

Mistie Williams added 14 points and Alison Bales had 13 rebounds
for the Blue Devils (6-0), who got their stiffest test of the
season after winning their first five games by at least 26 points.

Freshman Erika Arriaran's 16 points led the Longhorns (3-3),
whose upset bid ended with 3-of-16 shooting and seven turnovers
over the last nine minutes after forging a 61-61 tie that had the
home crowd of 8,394 buzzing.

"I knew they were going to come out fighting and battling and
they did," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "When you've got a
team with such tradition and at home, it's a very dangerous
combination."

After a 102-61 loss at No. 2 Tennessee last Thursday, Texas was
facing the back end of a tough 1-2 punch against the Blue Devils
and Longhorns coach Jody Conradt decided to start three freshmen
from her top-ranked recruiting class.

Earnesia Williams and Carla Cortijo got their first career
starts and the energetic duo joined Arriaran in making a big push
for an early lead and keeping it longer than the Blue Devils may
have expected.

"I started the people who competed the hardest against
Tennessee," Conradt said. "I didn't care what class they were
in."

Unlike at Tennessee, where Texas fell into a 17-0 hole and never
recovered, Williams scored four of Texas' first six points,
Arriaran hit consecutive 3-pointers and Cortijo had five rebounds
and two assists as the Longhorns pushed a quick tempo against the
Blue Devils and held the lead for most of the first half.

Duke committed 12 turnovers before finally taking a 39-38 lead
into halftime when Bales put back Currie's miss with two seconds
left.

"They had to let their fans know, and let themselves know,
they're a better team than (at Tennessee)," Mistie Williams said.

Tempers flared in the second when Currie was whistled for an
intentional foul on a hard screen on Earnesia Williams, who was
then hit with a technical foul for her retaliation. Williams hit
two free throws and Texas cut a seven-point Duke lead to 57-55 when
Arriaran hit a 3-pointer from the left corner.

The Longhorns tied it 61-61 with Cortijo's crosscourt pass to
Tiffany Jackson for a layup before Duke answered with a layup and
3-pointer by Wanisha Smith.

That's when the Longhorns started mishandling the ball and the
Blue Devils started working it inside to take advantage of their
bigger lineup. Duke outscored Texas 44-28 in the paint.

Mistie Williams scored four straight points that pushed the lead
to 74-65, and Texas lost Earnesia Williams when she twisted her
right knee and left the game with five minutes left.

Texas, which shot 56 percent from the floor in the first half,
fell far off that pace after halftime, shooting 31 percent in the
second. Cortijo, who had three assists, struggled against the Duke
defense down the stretch and had six of Texas' 23 turnovers.

"We needed to settle down a little bit, run our sets and get a
stop one at a time," said Currie, a senior. "I think our
experience helped."