3:00 PM ET, February 11, 2007
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Duke coach Gail Goestenkors had to rant and rave to get the top-ranked Blue Devils out of their funk.Fueled by Goestenkors' tirade early in the second half, Duke overcame its sputtering offense to remain the nation's only unbeaten team with a 77-45 win over Wake Forest on Sunday.Lindsey Harding and Joy Cheek scored 13 points apiece and Wanisha Smith added 11 for the Blue Devils (26-0, 11-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who beat the Demon Deacons for the 30th consecutive time.Three days after knocking off archrival and No. 2 North Carolina in an emotional battle of unbeatens, the Blue Devils looked sluggish for more than a half against the last-place Demon Deacons. Duke shot a season-low 34 percent and made only 5 of 17 3-pointers."Obviously it was not our best effort," Goestenkors said. "There was a little bit of a letdown after our last game."After Corinne Groves made back-to-back jumpers to start the second half to pull Wake Forest to 35-24, Goestenkors called a timeout and screamed at forward Carrem Gay as she ordered her players to sit on the bench.Three minutes later, the Demon Deacons got to 37-29 on Alex Tchangoue's 3, while Duke leading rebounder Alison Bales was on the bench with four fouls."It was entirely effort," Goestenkors said. "We were getting beat. They were attacking (Bales) and our rotations weren't good. This is our fourth game in 10 days and I think there was some emotional and physical fatigue."However, Duke scored the next eight points to regain control, part of a game-ending 40-16 run as the Blue Devils won their 68th straight game against unranked teams and held an opponent to under 30 percent shooting for the 13th time.Cheek, a freshman, helped pick up the slack for Bales, finishing with a career-high in points and going 7-of-7 from the free throw line."All of us feel that when we come into the game we have to add something," said Cheek, who added six rebounds. "When [Bales] came out, I had to step up."Tchangoue and Groves scored 15 points each and Groves added 10 rebounds for the Demon Deacons (9-15, 0-10), who last beat Duke in the 1993 ACC tournament.Alternating between man-to-man and zone defenses sprinkled with halfcourt traps, Duke frustrated Wake Forest, the ACC's lowest scoring team coming into the game at 58.3 points per game. Wake Forest shot 30 percent and committed 19 turnovers.Duke built a 35-20 halftime lead in spite of its offensive woes. The Blue Devils shot 33 percent in the first half, but made 13 of 16 free throws and took advantage of 14 Wake Forest turnovers."If every time we turned the ball over we threw it to somebody sitting in the stands, it would have been 20-20, because they had 15 points off turnovers," Wake Forest coach Mike Petersen said. "We lost our composure a little bit and that's the nature of running around out there with mostly freshmen and sophomores against a team ranked No. 1 in the country."Leading scorer Yolanda Lavender scored 12 points, but shot 5-for-20 for Wake Forest, which has lost four straight and 13 of 14."The hard thing in this league is, you can keep getting better and not get rewarded for it," Petersen said. "I like my team, but it's hard because I'm a bad loser. I pout. It's who I am."
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press