7:22 PM ET, March 25, 2008
Comcast Center, College Park, Maryland
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Her teammates insisted that she enjoy herself. If repeatedly getting elbowed on both ends of the basketball court is a good time, then Chante Black had a blast.Black scored a career-high 26 points and had 13 rebounds, and third-seeded Duke never trailed in a 67-59 victory over Arizona State on Tuesday night.Black, a 6-foot-5 junior, was 9-for-20 from the field and 8-for-10 at the line. She also had three blocks, two assists and two steals.The gangly center begrudgingly held her position on the defensive end and engaged in a physical duel on the offensive side. Somehow, Black kept getting free in the low post despite the effort of several defenders, each of whom nearly enveloped the center in an effort to deny her the ball."I thought Chante just dominated and really maintained great poise despite tremendous physical play inside," Blue Devils coach Joanne McCallie said.Said Black: "This time of year, it's all about having fun and playing your best game. My teammates really pumped me up. They wanted me to have fun, and it carried over into the game."Jasmine Thomas, with 11 points, was the only other Duke player to reach double figures.The Blue Devils (25-9) will next face No. 2 seed Texas A&M on Sunday in the semifinal round of the Oklahoma City Regional. Duke has now won at least two games in 11 consecutive NCAA tournaments."This team is growing together and getting better each game," McCallie said. "We had a lot of really good things going."Briann January scored 17 points and Lauren Lacey 13 for Arizona State (22-11), which went 0-10 against ranked opponents this season. The Sun Devils were seeking to reach the round of 16 for the third time in four years.After averaging only 10 turnovers over its previous two games, Arizona State had 10 at halftime and finished with 16. That wouldn't have been a problem if the Sun Devils could have contained Black."Chante Black hurt us, not only on the boards but in scoring," Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said.Duke led 29-28 before a three-point play by Joy Cheek and a layup by Black sparked an 18-5 run that made it 47-34 with 11:19 to go.But Arizona State made eight free throws in a 12-4 spurt that got the Sun Devils to 56-53. It was 59-57 before Black made two foul shots, and she added two more free throws with 29 seconds remaining to give Duke a six-point cushion.Lacey, who often had the task of guarding Black, said, "She is an amazing post and all-around player who works extremely hard on both ends of the court."Black had 12 points and nine rebounds in the first half, but the Blue Devils staggered into halftime with a 27-24 lead after going up by 10 with 4 minutes elapsed.Arizona State got off to a horrid start. After Thomas scored off the opening tap, the Sun Devils committed two turnovers, missed all four field-goal tries and botched two free throws while falling in an 8-0 hole.It was 10-4 before baskets by Wanisha Smith and Black gave Duke a double-digit lead. But the Blue Devils scored only four points over the next 7 minutes, allowing ASU to close to 18-16."I think the team came ready and focused," McCallie said. "We didn't keep up that pace, and that's something that we'll have to work on."
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||20-52 (.385)||24-59 (.407)|
|3P Made-Attempted||2-13 (.154)||0-4 (.000)|
|FT Made-Attempted||17-21 (.810)||19-24 (.792)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||18 (0/0)|