Nov. 27, 2005
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Top-ranked Duke took Auburn out of its game before Sunday's final of the Duke Women's Basketball Classic ever began. The result was the same.
Auburn usually likes an up-tempo game, but the Blue Devils have loved to run this season, so the Tigers tried to slow down the pace of their third meeting in three years with Duke.
It didn't help as the Blue Devils blew out Auburn 69-37.
"It was the only way we could handle them, limiting their possessions," Auburn coach Nell Fortner said. "But we gave up 24 offensive rebounds and 29 turnovers. When you do that, holding the ball doesn't do you much good."
The Blue Devils (5-0) pressed for the entire game and scored 29 points off turnovers.
"Their press made things real difficult," Auburn guard Whitney Boddie said. "Honestly, they did rattle us some. It was hard just to get the ball, and when you did it was hard to get open. They'd just sandwich you."
Duke's Lindsey Harding was selected the MVP of the event, which Duke has won 13 of its 17 years. Harding had eight points and seven assists without a turnover against Auburn and finished the tournament with 27 points total in two games.
"She's the difference between-maker between last year and this year, because her game and her shooting have improved so much," Fortner said.
Monique Currie and Abby Waner each scored 14 points to lead Duke's scoring Sunday. Mistie Williams added 12 points.
Boddie and Marita Payne led Auburn (3-2) with 10 points apiece.
The tallest team Duke has played so far, Auburn still got beat on the boards 41-26. But the Tigers prevented the Blue Devils from scoring at will from the paint as they had in four previous games.
"We played them last year and had some trouble with their height," Duke's 6-3 Williams said. "They got a lot of blocked shots last year, so we focused in practice on counter moves, and they worked for us today."
Duke led 33-23 at the half and blew the game open with a 20-0 run early in the second half.
"We have spurts of greatness," Duke's Gail Goestenkors said. "The way we started the second half is the way I'd like to see us play for 40 minutes."
Auburn went scoreless for stretches of 6:26 and 4:10 in the second half. The Tigers went without a field goal for the last 7:52.
Duke made just 27 of 66 shots from the field (40.9 percent), its worst shooting of the season. But the Blue Devils made up for it by giving up the fewest points to an opponent so far this year.
"This was a really good game for us to play," Goestenkors said. "Obviously we like to score in transition, and Auburn did a great job just walking the ball up the court and slowing down the tempo."