7:00 PM ET, March 23, 2004
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- The All-American did her part to make sure Duke reached the NCAA tournament's round of 16. She got plenty of help from a freshman who had barely practiced in two weeks.Alana Beard scored 30 points in her final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and freshman Brittany Hunter added 12 after halftime Tuesday to lift the Blue Devils past Marquette 76-67 in the second round of the Mideast Regional.Monique Currie scored 15 first-half points for the top-seeded Blue Devils (29-3), who have won 12 straight games. Duke next faces No. 5 seed Louisiana Tech, which beat fourth-seeded Texas Tech 81-64 on Monday.Kelly Schwerman had 16 points to lead the ninth-seeded Golden Eagles (22-10), while Christina Quaye added 15.The Blue Devils shot 52 percent, but committed a season-high 26 turnovers that led to 26 points for the Golden Eagles. Duke led by as many as 16 in the second half, but struggled to put Marquette away."When we did take care of the ball, I thought we got great looks," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "It was almost like we either turned it over or scored."On the day when Connecticut's Diana Taurasi won the Naismith award as college basketball's top player, Beard went 11-for-17 from the field and had seven rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals in 39 minutes.She got plenty of help from Hunter, a 6-foot-3 center who has battled knee trouble since suffering a torn right lateral meniscus in November. Hunter -- who was averaging 8.3 points and five rebounds -- missed the Blue Devils' first-round rout of Northwestern State.In the two weeks leading up to the tournament, Hunter practiced just once, and her right knee swelled badly. But she made it through Monday's practice, and Goestenkors went to her with 17:51 left in the game.Hunter immediately grabbed a rebound on a missed free throw by Christina Quaye."I really didn't know what I was going to do," she said. "I finally came in and rebounded. It felt like, 'I'm back."Hunter went 6-for-8 from the floor and grabbed six rebounds in 13 minutes. She and Beard combined for 28 of Duke's 37 points after halftime."Brittany's always ready to play," Beard said. "I don't know how someone can sit out a week and come in and just go 6-for-8. That's pretty impressive."Duke led 39-28 at halftime, but the Golden Eagles chopped the deficit to seven early in the second half. Hunter answered with a jumper from the left corner off a feed from Beard, then followed with a putback for a 46-35 lead with 16:35 left.She added two more baskets inside -- a putback and a layup off a feed from Currie -- for a 50-40 lead. She also grabbed a rebound and found Beard on the fast break to give Duke its biggest lead at 59-43 with 9:57 left."She was in during a stretch where I thought we were being a little tentative with our defense and not protecting the paint," Marquette coach Terri Mitchell said. "She really gave them the spark that they needed in keeping it a double-figure game."The Blue Devils might have pushed the margin higher, but they struggled protecting the ball against Marquette's trapping zone and man defenses. At one point, the Blue Devils committed five straight turnovers.On the fifth, a bad pass from Beard to Iciss Tillis with 2:58 left, Goestenkors put both hands on her head in frustration."We usually take good care of the basketball," she said. "I'm very disappointed with the poise we had on the offensive end."Marquette struggled to take advantage, scoring just two points during that two-minute stretch. The Golden Eagles got no closer than seven points in the final minutes, and Beard and Lindsey Harding combined to go 6-for-6 at the line to seal it.