NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- Two losses in three games to end the regular
season put Duke in a foul mood heading into the NCAA tournament,
and Southern University paid the price.
Monique Currie scored 19 points, Lindsey Harding had 18 and Duke
held the Jaguars to a tournament record-low for points in a 96-27
victory Sunday night.It was Round 2 of Duke-Southern, but the women had a much easier
time than J.J. Redick and the guys. The victory came two days after
the Duke men's team dispatched Southern 70-54 in the men's tourney."I think it was good for us mentally," Duke coach Gail
Goestenkors said. "We haven't blown a team out in a while. ...
Confidence is sometimes such a fleeting thing. Honestly, this game
was probably better for us mentally than physically other than to
get the rust off."The top-seeded Blue Devils (27-3) dropped to No. 4 in the
rankings after losing to No. 1 North Carolina in the regular-season
finale, then to No. 3 Maryland in the Atlantic Coast Conference
tournament. They had two weeks to get ready to play again."I think this was a really important game for us just to get it
all started," said Harding, who also had five of Duke's 60
rebounds and three assists. "There are six games on the way to the
national championship and we wanted to start off right."The Blue Devils, top seeds for the fifth time in six years, will
play eighth-seeded Southern Cal in the Bridgeport Regional on
Tuesday.Southern (20-11), seeking the first victory in 15 appearance by
the Southwestern Athletic Conference, viewed the tournament bid as
a nice reward after a difficult season that was disrupted by
Hurricane Katrina.Once the game started, it wasn't much of a reward. The No. 16
seed broke the record for scoring futility held by Long Island with
29 against Connecticut in 2001.It had scoreless droughts of eight minutes in the first half,
almost five minutes to start the second half and nearly nine
minutes against Duke's reserves.The Jaguars barely avoided also tying the mark of fewest field
goals (10) in a tournament game when Ashley Blake banked in a
15-footer with 1:09 left."We were so out of sync the whole game and their size and
defensive pressure caused us problems," said Southern coach Sandy
Pugh said.But she said the effort of some players faded as the game wore
on."You give up 60 rebounds, you're just not giving the effort,"
she said.The Jaguars had 28 rebounds and shot 18.3 percent. They also
finished with 26 turnovers, almost matching their point total.Tiffany Jones led Southern with seven points. SWAC player of the
year Rolanda Monroe shot 2-for-7 and scored five, but Pugh said
Monroe wasn't feeling well and her illness hurt the Jaguars.Duke scored the game's first nine points, led 16-6 with 12
minutes to play and then held the Jaguars without a point for eight
minutes in building a 32-6 advantage.Ciara Shiggs finally broke that drought with a three-point play
for Southern. She had to end another dry spell in the second half,
when the Jaguars went scoreless for the first 4:53. When Shiggs'
layup fell, the Blue Devils lead had grown to 50-18.