Feb. 16, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- When it comes to playing Tennessee, few teams have ever done it better than Duke.
The seventh-ranked Blue Devils became only the third team to win three consecutive games on the Lady Vols' home court with a 62-54 win over No. 13 Tennessee on Monday night.
Duke leads the all-time series against the Tennessee 6-5. Only Connecticut, at 13-9, has been better against the Lady Vols in 10 or more matchups in the modern era of women's college basketball. Maryville College (15-8) is the only other team with a winning record against Tennessee in 10 or more meetings, but most of those games were played between 1906-23.
"It just speaks for excellence, because we certainly know how excellent Tennessee has been over the years," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
Duke (21-3), which also won here in 2004 and 2007, joins Texas and Louisiana Tech as teams that have beaten Tennessee three straight in Knoxville. The Longhorns did it between 1983 and 1988, and the Lady Techsters managed the feat between 1981 and 1986.
Monday's game marked the end of the six-game series between the two perennial powerhouses, a series in which the home team has only one once.
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said it's time for her team, which includes seven freshmen, to grow up.
"Right now, I don't think our team really gets it," she said. "We got outworked. We got outplayed. Duke is a veteran team, and they wanted it more. They were a lot more physical."
The Blue Devils responded with a 16-0 run through an 8-minute drought by the Lady Vols (18-7). Free throws by Bridgette Mitchell with 8:51 left gave Duke a 44-28 lead -- its largest of the game.
Tennessee used free throws to slowly chip away at the margin, and Angie Bjorklund's 3-pointer with 48 seconds left trimmed Duke's lead to 58-54.
The Lady Vols began fouling the Blue Devils but couldn't manage to pull in defensive rebounds on the missed shots.
Jasmine Thomas scored 19 points and Chante Black added 18 points for Duke, which shot 41.8 percent and outrebounded the Lady Vols 49-36.
Duke scored the first four points of the first half and knocked in 50 percent of their shots in the first 10 minutes of the game.
The Blue Devils took a 20-10 lead on a jumper by Thomas with 6:34 before halftime.
But the Lady Vols went on an 8-1 run from there. Briana Bass hit a 3-point shot with 2:08 in the first half to tie the game at 23.
"We set the tone early in this game, and you could see it around midway through the first half that they were wearing out," Black said. "Once we saw that, we just started to push it, and that carried over to the second half.
"It's hard to keep up for 40 minutes when a team is pushing up-tempo."
Duke had 12 points off 13 Tennessee turnovers at the break. The Blue Devils had committed 14 turnovers by then, but the Lady Vols capitalized for only five points.
Duke moves to 5-2 over ranked opponents for the season while Tennessee drops to 2-7.
"It's obviously disappointing, because we know this could have helped us, not only now but in the postseason," Fuller said. "We can't really linger on it too long because we are coming up on the end of our season."
The game was part of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Pink Zone initiative to raise breast cancer awareness. Both teams wore uniforms trimmed in pink and fans received pink and white T-shirts to wear at the game.
Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick's Championship for a Cause Foundation donated $67,000 to breast cancer programs, including $8,000 to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund in memory of the North Carolina State coach who passed away on Jan. 24.
"It was a great pink celebration," McCallie said. "I think someone like Kay would have been very, very pleased, very tickled to see all the pink."