Duke Holds Off Georgia Tech to Advance to ACC Tournament Championship Game #ACCwbb
March 6, 2010
GREENSBORO - Georgia Tech gave eighth-ranked Duke all it could handle on Saturday afternoon in the Greensboro Coliseum, but the Blue Devils held off a determined Yellow Jacket squad, 67-55, to advance to the finals of the ACC Tournament for the ninth time in the last 11 years.
For the first 32 minutes of the game, the teams were locked in a tight battle in which neither team led by more than five points. Then Alex Montgomery, who led all players with 19 points and 12 rebounds, picked up her fourth foul with 10:44 remaining. From that point on, she was limited to just one rebound as Duke shifted into overdrive.
Over the final 9:22, top-seeded Duke outscored the fourth-seeded Yellow Jackets 19-9 to secure the victory. The Blue Devils, who tallied 14 steals and rank third nationally with a 13.4 steals per game average, forced nine of Georgia Tech's 26 turnovers during that run.
"We've been trying to get the post players to step and steal or to be in front," said Karima Christmas, who led Duke with 15 points, six rebounds and four steals. "Since (Alex Montgomery) went out, we knew they were going to go to their bigs and we had to be in front of them."
With Montgomery on the court, Georgia Tech held its own against the Blue Devils, who own a 31-game winning streak in the series. In a first half that featured seven lead changes and four ties, Duke took a 29-25 lead into the lockerroom at halftime.
"We feel we're right there knocking on the door," said Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph. "We feel we're one player away from being a Top-10 team. We need one more scorer."
Led by Christmas, Duke had three players score in double figures. Joy Cheek added 10 points and four assists while Jasmine Thomas registered a 10-point, three-steal effort.
Along with Montgomery, Sasha Goodlett (13 points), Deja Foster (11 points) and Brigitte Ardossi (8 points, 8 rebounds) turned in strong performances for the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech outrebounded Duke, 38-28, but ultimately was unable to overcome the turnovers and foul trouble.
Duke improved to 26-5 on the year and will face the winner of the NC State -Boston College matchup in Sunday's championship game at 1:00 p.m. Georgia Tech fell to 22-9 with the loss.