Thursday, November 15, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 61



Duke whips Red Raiders

Women's NCAA Basketball

Crystal J. Doucette

Last season she was Alana Beard. This season she's Monique Currie.

The No. 5 Duke Blue Devils have yet another outstanding freshman in their ranks.

The Blue Devils faced No. 7 Texas Tech in their season opener at the Tip-off Classic. Duke's top players for the night were veteran Iciss Tillis and newbie Currie. Head coach Gail Goestenkors was worried Currie would be nervous in her first collegiate game, but there was no need to fret.

The Devil defense handed Currie a steal, which she hustled back to the Duke goal. She was fouled by Tech's Plenette Pierson on the shot, which sent her to the floor as her ball, with a slight finger roll off her falling hand, teetered on the edge of the rim before it graced the inside of the net.

Tillis finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Currie had 17 points and 10 boards and Beard checked in at 10 points, five rebounds and six assists.

Though Duke led the second half by as much as 21 points and won 85-69, Texas Tech's players were no pushovers.

Pierson, a Kingwood native and ex-teammate of UH redshirt sophomore guard Courtney Pastner, was a heavy presence on the boards for Tech.

Tech's Jia Perkins led the team with 27 points.

In the first Associated Press Top 25 poll of the regular season, Connecticut still holds on to No. 1. The Huskies convincingly defeated Fairfield (93-50) and Florida International (91-47) in their first two games of the season in the 2001 Preseason Women's National Invitational Tournament. UConn is now in the semifinals and will face North Carolina on Thursday.

No. 2 Tennessee will hold its season opener Friday against Chattanooga. The Lady Vols are holding on to their ranking despite knee injuries to two top players, Gwen Jackson and April McDivitt.

No. 3 Vanderbilt routed Eastern Kentucky 91-62 and Oregon State 81-55 in the PWNIT. The Commodores managed to pull off the win against Oregon State without a lot of offensive help from Chantelle Anderson. The preseason All-American was held scoreless in the first half, but teammates Ashley McElhiney and Jenni Benningfield picked up the slack.

"They thought taking (Anderson) out of the game would affect us," Vanderbilt head coach Jim Foster said. "We're a more diverse basketball team than that."

Coming in at No. 4 is Oklahoma, which almost lost a close competition with 2001 national title runner-up Purdue on Sunday in the Duke-sponsored Tip-off Classic.

Trouble came early for the Sooners, as preseason All-American Stacey Dales and veteran LaNeisha Caufield picked up too many fouls. Dales fouled out in the second half after only 18 minutes of play.

But Rosalind Ross took over in the absence of her high-profile teammates, knocking down six three-pointers as she racked up 24 points for the game.

No. 6 Louisiana Tech opens its season against Michigan on Friday. No. 8 Iowa State faces Conference USA team Marquette on the road for its first game of the year. No. 9 Stanford plays its first game Nov. 28 against San Francisco.

No. 10 North Carolina State will start the season without two of its guards, junior Ivy Gardner (arthroscopic surgery on her left knee) and sophomore Terah James (a second anterior cruciate ligament injury).

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