7:00 PM ET, December 7, 2006
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- One short sequence proved to be the difference in a matchup of unbeaten teams.Up by nine points late, No. 4 Duke took advantage of an intentional foul and a technical foul to get eight unanswered points in 11 seconds and go on to a 69-48 victory over No. 11 Vanderbilt on Thursday night."It was still extremely close, and that definitely got our crowd into it," Duke's Abby Waner said. "That was what we needed, and we basically took over at that point."Vanderbilt was within 49-40 after two free throws by Carla Thomas with 5:53 to play. After misses by both teams, Vanderbilt's Caroline Williams fouled Waner as the Blue Devils guard fed Wanisha Smith for a wide-open layup with 4:18 to play.Before Waner went to the line, referee Joe Cunningham called a technical on Vanderbilt's bench. Lindsey Harding knocked down two free throws on the technical, and Waner hit one of two free throws off the intentional foul. Eleven seconds later, Waner drained a 3-pointer to put Duke up 57-40."That was a tough situation for us, obviously, but I don't think the game was won or lost on that play," Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said. "I never think a game is won or lost on one play."Until then, Vanderbilt (8-1) effectively accomplished its prime mission of keeping Duke's Alison Bales from getting many open looks from around the key. So, the 6-foot-7 Blue Devil killed the Commodores inside."She's an incredibly good passer, and will kill you with the pass if you double her," Balcomb said. "We just wanted to push her off the block and not let her get many easy 15-footers."Bales scored 14 of her game-high 16 points from either the lane or the line to lead four Blue Devils in double figures. Harding had 15 points and five assists for Duke (8-0), while Waner finished with 14 points and Smith 13 points.Thomas had 15 points and nine rebounds to lead Vanderbilt. Dee Davis chipped in 12. Williams averaged 15.6 points going into the game but was held to six at Duke, none in the second half."We lost Caroline Williams on two occasions in the first half, and she made us pay both times with 3-pointers," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "But, from that point on, we did a nice job on her."Bales and Carrem Gay each grabbed nine boards to help Duke dominate inside with a 41-26 advantage in rebounds."Coach G has been us from day one about rebounding," Bales said. "Tonight I think it just culminated and we really crashed the boards hard." Duke led 29-22 at halftime. Bales went 5-for-7 from the paint and had 11 points in the first half.Thursday's win was Duke's second in four days against a ranked opponent. Duke won 85-45 Monday at No. 18 Rutgers and will host No. 22 Texas on Sunday before a 10-day break for exams.