BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- Duke has one of the deepest benches in
That depth helped the Blue Devils wear down Michigan State and
cruise to an 86-61 win Sunday night in the Bridgeport Regional
"I think it's quality depth," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said
of her bench which scored 32 points. "A lot of teams have a lot of
players, but our bench is productive, probably as productive as any
team in the country."
Monique Currie scored 17 points and center Alison Bales
dominated inside to get top-seeded Duke (29-3) to its sixth
regional final. The Blue Devils will play second-seeded Connecticut
on Tuesday night.
Abby Waner led the Duke reserves with 14 points that included a
momentum-killing 3-pointer in the first half.
"One of our biggest strengths is we like to run and press,"
Waner said. "That comes from our depth, that wears people out. I
think that's really evident toward the end of the game when are
still running the floor."
The Blue Devils had an answer for every Michigan State run early
on -- then ran away with the game in the second half and led by as
many as 27 in the closing minutes.
Currie was one of six Blue Devils in double figures. Bales,
Duke's career blocks leader gave the Spartans (24-10) few second
chances. Seven of her eight rebounds were on the defensive end and
helped get the Blue Devils' transition off and running with every
Michigan State miss. Duke had 18 points off the fast break and
outscored the Spartans 48-22 in the paint.
Mistie Williams had 13 points and a season-high four steals for
the Blue Devils, who scored 23 points off turnovers.
"In the first half we trapped their screens a little bit and
they made us pay for it," Goestenkors said. "We knew we needed to
lock down on defense in the second half and we did. That was really
The inside combination of Bales and Williams helped neutralize
Liz Shimek, MSU's career scoring and rebounding leader. Shimek
finished with five points. Victory Lucas-Perry had 17 points to
lead the Spartans, last year's NCAA runner-up.
"They are a pretty big team. We tried to get Liz to step out a
little bit... but I think they did a great job being aware of where
Liz was on the floor," Michigan coach Joanne P. McCallie.
Michigan State hung around for the first 10 minutes of the game
and was down by just a basket after a quick 7-2 run that got the
Spartans fans into the game. The Blue Devils silenced them quickly
with a 3-pointer from Jessica Foley and poured it on with a 13-4
run, capped by another Foley 3-pointer.
The Spartans had one more run in them as the first half wound
down. Lucas-Perry's hit a 3 with 35 seconds left to close out a 7-0
run and cut the deficit to five.
But the Blue Devils came right back with a 3-pointer, this time
from Waner in the final seconds and took a 45-37 lead into the
half. The play was designed for Lindsey Harding to penetrate the
lane. She did and spied a wide-open Waner on the wing.
"We didn't want to go out this way," Shimek said. "It hurts a
lot right now. Duke is just a great team and they had a great