|Sunday, November 24
Beard's 22 points lead Duke to easy win
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Duke's first week at No. 1 was a rousing success.
Alana Beard had 22 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals to power the top-ranked Blue Devils over No. 2 Tennessee 76-55 Sunday in the inaugural women's Jimmy V Classic.
It was the 35th meeting of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in women's college basketball. Tennessee, with six national titles, has been involved in 19 such matchups and dropped to 4-6 when ranked second.
"This was a great opportunity for us to show the nation that we were here to play,'' said Duke coach Gail Goestenkors, whose team won its opener over East Carolina by 62 points Friday. "This hopefully proves to people that not only were we here to play, but we're here to stay.''
Iciss Tillis added 17 points for Duke, on 7-for-10 shooting.
"Going into the game we had a lot of doubters,'' Tillis said. "There were a lot of people who believed that we did not deserve to be No. 1. Knowing that gave us a lot of motivation. We wanted to go out and prove it.''
Tennessee (1-1) turned the ball over 23 times and shot 21 percent in the second half, shooting just 6-for-29. Gwen Jackson led the Lady Vols with 12 points.
"We're extremely disappointed and embarrassed by our lack of competitiveness,'' Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "It was glaring.
"The one thing you learn about a basketball team right off is what happens when things are not going well,'' Summitt added. "Our turning the basketball over was atrocious at times. All I can tell you is Duke deserves to be the No. 1 ranked team in the country and Tennessee obviously doesn't look to be second-best. We have an awful lot to learn.''
Tennessee hasn't had much luck recently in big games against the Blue Devils in North Carolina. Duke (2-0) broke Tennessee's string of three straight NCAA championships with a 69-63 win in the East Regional title game in 1999 at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The Blue Devils took the first double-digit lead of the game at 44-32 four minutes into the second half. Tennessee started 0-for-7 from the field with three turnovers.
"They were able to take away our first option and we weren't able to go to our second, third or fourth options,'' said Tennessee point guard Kara Lawson. "Credit their defense for affecting us.''
Beard had a follow shot and a free throw during Duke's 8-1 run to start the period.
Moments later Beard fed Tillis for a layup, and Tillis sank a 3-pointer for a 17-point lead with 13:54 left as Summitt called timeout to try to calm her reeling club.
Duke freshman Jessica Foley gave the Blue Devils a 20-point lead less than two minutes later with a 3-pointer from the wing.
Tennessee never got closer than 15 the rest of the way.
"I thought we played a great second half of basketball,'' Goestenkors said.
Summitt didn't disagree.
"They went after us and they went after this game,'' Summitt said.
Duke fell behind by five early on, but Beard keyed an 11-2 run with a bank shot and a pair of layups in a first half in which the All-American guard was a factor on both ends of the court.
The Lady Vols -- who had 15 turnovers in their season-opening 26-point win over No. 22 Oklahoma -- gave the ball up 12 times in the opening 20 minutes. Beard had four steals in the half.
"Coming into this game we wanted to be up in their face,'' Beard said. "We wanted to extend their offense and that's what we did. We put a lot of pressure on their guards.''