BOSTON (AP) -- Gail Goestenkors and the Duke women have a chance to finally hang a basketball championship banner next to the three won by Mike
Coach G.'s Blue Devils advanced to the NCAA Tournament final with a 64-45 victory over LSU Sunday night, shutting down the smoothest scorer in women's basketball to guarantee this year's champion will come out of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Duke (31-3) plays Tuesday night against Maryland (33-4), which beat North Carolina 81-70 in the early game. The Blue Devils went 2-1 against the Terrapins during the season, losing in the semifinals of the ACC tournament.
"We played them three times this year already, and we know them inside and out," Duke guard Jessica Foley said.
Mistie Williams had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Blue Devils, who lost to Purdue in 1999 in their only other appearance in the championship game. This trip was earned by a defense that ganged up on two-time Associated Press player of the year Seimone Augustus, holding her scoreless in the first half and bouncing the Lady Tigers out of the Final Four for the third straight year.
"It was a team effort defensively," Goestenkors (GUESS'-tin-korz) said. "And it really takes a team to defend Seimone Augustus."
LSU (31-4) was just the seventh school to place its men's and women's teams in the Final Four in the same season. But the men got blown out in the national semifinals, losing 59-45 to UCLA on Saturday, and the women's season ended in much the same way.
One night after playground playmate Glen "Big Baby" Davis shot 29 percent in the LSU loss, Augustus -- the nation's leading scorer with 23 points per game -- picked up most of her team-high 14 points long after it was no longer in doubt.
"We've been here three years, and never got past the semis," said Augustus, who was 6-for-18 shooting. "It made it look a little more difficult because of the things we didn't do on offense."
Constantly running off screens and still unable to get an open shot, Augustus wore down and was unable to chip away at a deficit that reached 20 points -- 63-43 -- with 1:50 to go. She finished her career with 2,702 points and an NCAA-record 132 double-figure games out of 140 played.
"Her legacy will not be this last game," LSU coach Pokey Chapman said.
Duke's men also were a disappointment, finishing the season atop the AP poll before Coach K.'s team lost to LSU in the round of 16. But Coach G. still has a chance to hang another banner from the rafters in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"We worked so hard this season on our defense because we were so offensive-minded in the beginning," said Williams, whose other claim to fame is that she is the daughter of singer Chubby Checker. "As the season went on, we knew defense was going to help us win games toward the end."
Sylvia Fowles had 13 rebounds for LSU, which lost its previous three games this season by a total of five points. But the Blue Devils used an 11-1 run midway through the second half to open a 48-32 lead and coasted from there.
Monique Currie scored 13 points, Abby Waner had 11 and Lindsey Harding had 10 with six rebounds and five assists for Duke. Alison Bales blocked two shots in the first 22 seconds -- she finished with six -- and helped Duke open an 18-4 lead with 9:24 left in the first half.
Florence Williams made a jumper to awaken LSU, and three Tigers free throws later she made another. Williams then grabbed the rebound of Augustus' miss and passed to Fowles for a layup that made it 18-13 with 4:42 left in the first.
Duke scored eight of the next 10 points, and the last five of the half, to make it 26-15.
In the second, LSU cut the deficit to 37-31 before the Blue Devils went on an 11-1 run to put the game away.
Duke's win could deflect attention away from an investigation back home into whether members of the men's lacrosse team raped an exotic dancer hired to perform at a party last month. Members of the women's basketball team have flatly refused to comment on the case.