Jan. 6, 2003
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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Although Alana Beard had her usual dominant performance, top-ranked Duke found itself in a rare spot – behind in a game.
But Beard scored 16 of her 26 points in the second half to rally the Blue Devils to a 69-53 victory Monday night over Clemson in Duke’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
“Defensively, we were all out of sorts and offensively our timing was off in the first half,” Beard said. “I think defensively we didn’t talk and communicate with each other like we should.
“Then the second half we came back and communicated. We knew where each other were and we were able to find each other on the court.”
Beard also had 13 boards to help Duke outrebound the Tigers 39-32. Iciss Tillis added 19 points for Duke (13-0), getting 12 during a span of 6:19 as the Blue Devils pulled away in the second half after trailing 31-28 at the break.
Coach Gail Goestenkors was impressed with Clemson.
“I think they came very ready to play,” she said. “I thought they did an excellent job really making us work on the defensive end of the court. They took a lot of time off the clock.They set great screens. They just did a great job.”
Beard scored six of Duke’s first nine points in the second half.
Chrissy Floyd added 10. Floyd hit a runner as time expired in the first half. It was the first time this season Duke trailed at home.
Duke hadn’t played since winning twice before the holiday, and Goestenkors was not surprised by the struggle.
“I think it really shows that we haven’t played a game in several days,” she said. “They were physical on the defensive end, and I think it threw our timing off a little bit. Hopefully we will be able to adjust for our next game.”
Arkansas was the only other team to lead Duke at halftime, at 31-29 in what turned out to be a 74-72 overtime win for the Blue Devils in the Virgin Islands’ Paradise Jam.
Clemson led 33-32 after two free throws from Leah Roper with 17:15 to play. But Vicki Krapohl’s 3-pointer with 17 minutes remaining gave Duke the lead for good at 35-33. The Blue Devils extended their winning streak over ACC teams to 25.
“I’m a little disappointed, especially after the way we came out in the first half and played,” Clemson coach Jim Davis said. “But you’ve got to give Duke credit.They aren’t ranked number one in the country for nothing.They’re just a talented basketball team.”
Clemson made just eight of 24 shots after halftime (33.3 percent), while Duke made 13 of 25 (52 percent) from the field.
“Duke’s a great team, but we just didn’t execute,” White said. “We just weren’t smart.”
Clemson’s Julie Aderhold missed the game to undergo tests for a recently discovered irregular heartbeat.
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