Georgia Tech, Duke Return To ACC Play

Dec. 29, 2001

Beaten by Southeastern Conference teams on Thursday, Duke and Georgia Tech turn their attention to league play when they meet Sunday in Atlanta.

The ACC lost both games of the ACC/SEC shootout, as the Blue Devils and Yellow Jackets were outclassed by two of the top teams from what is arguably the best conference in the country.

The ninth-ranked Blue Devils (9-3, 1-0 ACC) were routed 89-68 by No. 2 Tennessee in the opening game of the doubleheader. Duke shot just 34 percent from the field and was held well below the 87 points it was averaging coming into the game.

Duke trailed by only seven points early in the second half, but gave up runs of 19-0 and 18-5 as Tennessee put away the game.

“They played great defense against us,” said Alana Beard, who led the Blue Devils with 18 points. “But we could have fought through that. We just got away from doing what we do best, passing the ball and moving.”

Georgia Tech also faded in the second half of its 69-52 loss to No. 10 Georgia in the second game. The game was tied at 29 at halftime before the Lady Bulldogs pulled away down the stretch.

The Yellow Jackets (6-4, 0-1) need to find more help for Niesha Butler. Butler scored 15 points Thursday in her second game of the season after missing the first eight because of a team suspension, but had only one point in the second half. The rest of the team couldn’t help, as Georgia Tech shot just 19 percent in the second half.

“In the first half, Niesha was on and I think the rest of us backed off and watched her,” said Nina Barlin, who scored 10 points. “In the second half, when her shots stopped going in, somebody needed to step up and we didn’t.”

Duke, the reigning ACC regular season and tournament champion, beat Virginia 107-73 in its conference opener on Dec. 6. Georgia Tech lost its ACC opener 87-78 to Florida State on Dec. 5.

Beard scores 17.9 points per game to lead Duke, which is averaging 85.8 points and outscoring opponents by nearly 22 points per game.

The Blue Devils lead the series 38-7 and have won the last 16 meetings. Georgia Tech’s last victory over Duke was on Feb. 27, 1994.

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