Duke Overcomes Turnovers to Top Virginia Tech, 69-56
March 3, 2006
By David Droschak
GREENSBORO - Duke shot 54 percent to overcome its most turnovers in an ACC Women's Tournament game since 1979, defeating Virginia Tech 69-56 to advance to the semifinals for the 12th straight season.
The Blue Devils (26-2) improved to 18-1 in the ACC tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum since 2000, but Duke has certainly seen better days here offensively. The 31 turnovers matched the most in school history in the tourney. Duke also had that many against Clemson in 1979.
Duke, the ACC's top scoring team at 88.9 points a game, also produced its fourth-lowest point total of the season.
"We were a little over anxious to play," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said of her second-ranked Blue Devils. "We shot the ball well when we got shots off, but to turn it over 31 times, I don't think I've ever seen that from this team. I'm disappointed by that."
This game marked the sixth time in the last eight outings that Duke has turned it over at least 20 times.
"Obviously we've got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball," Goestenkors said. "I'm not quite sure why we're turning the ball over more now. I don't think we're seeing any greater pressure than we've seen all year long. I just think we're not quite as focused as we need to be and we're not making great decisions with the basketball."
Monique Currie scored 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting to become the third Duke player to surpass the 2,000 career point plateau.
This win certainly wasn't as easy as a 93-51 victory over the seventh-seeded Hokies (20-9) in Durham on Feb. 22.
"Give Virginia Tech a lot of credit," Goestenkors said. "I thought they played really hard, strong and physical. We knew they never give up. They showed a lot of character."
The Blue Devils led by just six at the break and didn't take control until making 8-of-11 shots midway through the second half to build a 17-point lead.
The Hokies never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.
"We were forcing some turnovers, but we've got to knock down some easy shots," said Virginia Tech coach Beth Dunkenberger. "We shot 38 percent, which isn't terrible, but we missed an awful lot of layups early on that would have given us a little bit more confidence and maybe even gotten them a little jitterier."
Nare Diawara, a key reserve for the Hokies, was having a solid inside game with eight points and five rebounds in 13 first-half minutes. But she took an elbow to the jaw and had a tooth cut through her lip requiring stitches and an exit from the game.
"She was playing really good," Dunkenberger said. "She was a trooper and went back in there, but she was in a great deal of pain and it altered our post substitutions."
In addition to Currie, Mistie Williams had a nice offensive game for the Blue Devils, getting 11 points in 26 minutes. She hit 4-of-5 shots from the field and all three of her free throws.
"We need to focus that much more (in the tournament) and I don't think we were successful in doing that," Williams said. "We have to just learn from this game and move on and be ready to play."