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Posted: Saturday, December 28, 2002 12:00 am

No Mercy

No. 1 Duke routs Detroit-Mercy

Roy HESS

The Brownsville Herald

LOS FRESNOS The Duke Blue Devils perfect record is still intact.

It took barely two minutes for the top-ranked Duke women to race to an 8-0

advantage and take control against overmatched Detroit-Mercy en route to a

92-52 win in Fridays opening game of the South Padre Island Shootout.

The victory at the Los Fresnos High School gym improved the Blue Devils to

11-0 on the season. With all five starters returning, they have been the

overwhelming choice as the nations No. 1 team since the preseason.

Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said her team is accustomed to playing as the

top-ranked team.

I think were used to it by now, said Goestenkors, who guided Duke to the

NCAA Final Four in San Antonio last season and owns a 248-82 record in 11

seasons as the teams head coach. Over the last couple of years weve been

very highly ranked, so I dont think it matters if were No. 1 or in the Top

25 really. We know everybody wants to knock off a Top 25 team. Were very

comfortable with that pressure.

Paced by Alana Beard, considered one of the countrys top womens college

players, the Blue Devils forced Detroit-Mercy into 30 turnovers and recorded

19 steals against the Titans.

Playing 24 minutes, Beard, a 5-11 junior guard, finished with game highs of 27

points and eight rebounds, hitting nine of 10 shots from the field and sinking

eight of nine free throws. She had three assists and three steals but also

committed a team-high four turnovers.

I dont think of myself as the top player (in the country), said Beard, who

averages 22.9, 4.3 steals and 6.3 rebounds per game. Personally, I think I

could have had a better game I got beat a couple of times.

Still, Beard did enough things right along with her teammates to keep

Detroit-Mercy from mounting a serious threat.

Duke went on a 29-7 run over a nine-minute stretch of the first half and went

up by as many as 28 points twice in the first 20 minutes. The Blue Devils led

51-30 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the lead steadily grew into the 30s and then increased to

its widest margin, 41 points, 83-42, when Beard hit an uncontested jump shot

from the left side with 6:58 remaining.

Goestenkors said she was pleased with the win, but not with how her team

played defensively. She said when the Duke players tried for steals, they let

the Titans have too many open shots when they didnt make the steals.

Detroit-Mercy shot a season-best 47.4 percent (18 of 38) and finished with

seven 3-pointers, also a season best.

When we didnt make the steals, our defense broke down and they had a lot of

open shots, which they hit, she said. I give them credit for hitting the

open shots. We have to do a better job when we dont get the steal with our

rotations defensively.

In addition to Beards 27 points, teammates Jessica Foley and Mistie Bass

added 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Duke sank 28 of 35 free throws. It was a season high in free throws made and

attempted.

Detroit-Mercy, now 2-7, was led by 19 points from Lindsey Pasquinzo, a 5-11

transfer guard who recently became eligible. She was the only Titan player to

score in double figures. Pasquinzo came off the bench to hit six of nine shots

from the floor, including 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.

It was pretty exciting playing the No. 1 team in the country and I was proud

of my team for its effort, Detroit-Mercy coach Anne Rexford said. One of

the things I told my team after the game was that we held Duke to under 50

percent shooting (49.2 percent, 29 of 59) which I though was a strength for

us. Theyre just a great team, but I was proud of our effort.

Fans lined up in front of Los Fresnos High School several hours before the

doors opened at 6 p.m. The gym seats between 1,500 and 1,800 and tournament

coordinator Kim Edquist said a number of fans were turned away due to a lack

of seating.

A throng of fans, including many Winter Texans, is expected tonight when Iowa

State, 3-4, plays Detroit-Mercy. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the doors

are scheduled to open at 6 p.m.

The final game of the tournament will match Duke and Iowa State at 7 p.m.

Sunday. With a win against Iowa State, the Blue Devils can match their

best-ever start of 12-0 in 1989.

The tournament was originally scheduled to be played at South Padre Island

Convention Centre, but a scheduling conflict at that site forced the event to

be moved to Los Fresnos.

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