7:00 PM ET, January 29, 2007
DURHAM, N.C. -- If Duke keeps playing like this, the Blue Devils might not have to worry about having to defend a No. 1 ranking.Their 22nd straight victory -- a lethargic, come-from-behind 75-65 win over Virginia Tech -- left coach Gail Goestenkors with an empty feeling."Feels like a loss," Goestenkors said.Abby Waner scored 18 points, Alison Bales added 17 points and 11 rebounds and Duke (22-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) rallied from an early 11-point deficit and overcame a career-high-tying 19 points from the Hokies' Britney Anderson.But the Blue Devils, who pride themselves on having one of the best defenses in the country, allowed Virginia Tech to shoot 49 percent -- the highest percentage Duke has allowed this season.And while the Blue Devils kept pace with North Carolina as the only remaining unbeatens in the country -- and the ACC -- this much was clear to Goestenkors: A repeat performance Feb. 8 against the No. 2 Tar Heels, and Duke can forget about its perfect record."I'm extremely disappointed. I'm proud of the way this team has played throughout the year," Goestenkors said. "We played with a chip on our shoulder. We played with an attack mind-set. ... I just have higher expectations for this team than what we displayed tonight."Brittany Cook scored 18 points, Kirby Copeland added 17 and Nare Diawara had 11 for the Hokies (14-9, 4-4)."Confidence makes all the difference in the world," Anderson said.Bales had her second double-double of the season and Lindsey Harding had 15 points and scored in double figures for the seventh straight game to lead Duke to its seventh straight win in the series.The Hokies struggled with Duke's full-court press when it counted and were denied their first victory against the Blue Devils since 1998."Our team has grown a lot since the first time we played Duke," Virginia Tech coach Beth Dunkenburger said. "Duke played an excellent defensive game. They continued to mix defenses up and make us think."Virginia Tech gave Duke a scare for about a half before falling to 0-9 against No. 1 ranked teams. They lost their previous eight matchups with top-ranked teams by an average of 30 points.The Blue Devils entered having won each of their games by an average margin of 28 points, but Virginia Tech made things interesting for a half by shooting nearly 54 percent in the opening 20 minutes."We lacked discipline, emotion," Goestenkors said. "It was like there was no energy out there."The Hokies held Duke without a field goal for more than 5 minutes and built an 11-point lead. Anderson's three-point play with about 8 minutes before halftime gave Virginia Tech a 26-15 lead."We have six freshmen, and I think it made them believe," Anderson said. "We're not ranked. We lost some games we shouldn't have lost, but we can't give up on our season. This game made us see that we can go pretty far. We played the No. 1 team in the country to a 10-point game, and we were up."Duke responded with a Waner-led 20-3 run to take the lead for good. Waner started the run with a 15-footer and scored nine points during the spurt, which she capped with an open-court layup with 2:26 before the half gave the Blue Devils a 35-29 lead."We started playing like we should have been the whole game," Bales said. "Playing to our strengths, sharing the ball better, pushing it in transition."Duke then opened the second half with a Harding-keyed 7-1 spurt to push the lead into double figures for the first time. Virginia Tech didn't get closer than seven points the rest of the way.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||25-51 (.490)||27-58 (.466)|
|3P Made-Attempted||6-9 (.667)||3-10 (.300)|
|FT Made-Attempted||9-11 (.818)||18-23 (.783)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||14 (0/0)||13 (0/0)|