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26 turnovers bedevil Duke

3/24/2004

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.