Dec. 1, 2002 – The nationally top-ranked Duke University Blue Devils squeaked out an overtime victory over the No. 17-ranked University of Arkansas Razorbacks 74-72 to win the final game and the St. John division at the 2002 University of the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam women's tournament.
In Saturday evening's other two contests at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks beat the Boston College Eagles 54-51 to win the St. Thomas division; and the Old Dominion University Monarchs eased to victory over the Hampton University Pirates 90-54.
Duke 74, Arkansas 72
The Duke-Arkansas game was a thriller, as the Lady Blue Devils (5-0) had all that they could handle and more. Neither team would get a double digit lead in the game. If the Blue Devils needed a test at the start of this NCAA season, they certainly got it from the Lady Razorbacks (4-1).
Duke started slow but led, 6-4, four minutes into the game. Arkansas then went on a 7-0 run in the next three minutes to take an 11-6 lead. The Razorback increased their lead to nine points, 31-22, with two minutes remaining in the half. The Blue Devils then closed the half with a 7-0 run to get within two points, 31-29.
The Blue Devils' Mistie Bass scored four of her eight first-half points during that stretch. Rochelle Vaughn led the Razorbacks with eight points from off of the bench in the first half.
Duke began the half shooting five for 19 (26 percent) from the field, and one for seven (14 percent) from behind the three-point arc. The team did, however, shoot seven for nine (78 percent) from the free-throw line in the half.
The Razorbacks held a six-point lead twice in the second half — at 36-30 with 18:24 left and again at 47-41 with 14:16 remaining. The Blue Devils tied the game at 50-50 with 11:19 on the clock. They got their first lead of the second half, 59-57, with 5:09 left.
Arkansas regained the lead, 61-59, with 2:51 left. Thirty second later, Duke tied it up for the fourth time, at 61-61, with a lay-up from Bass.
The score remained tied with 17 seconds remaining when the Razorbacks had a foul to give and fouled Duke's Alana Beard. They then again fouled Beard with 11 seconds left, and the penalty sent her to the free-throw line to shoot the one-and-one. Beard missed the shot and the game remained tied as regulation time ran out.
"I know that free-throw shooting is one of my weaknesses, but I am working on that," Beard said after the game.
In the overtime period, Beard and Bass took control of the game for the Blue Devils, scoring eight and four points, respectively. The Razorbacks' India Lewis was up to the challenge and made seven of her team's 11 points in the period.
After Lewis hit two free throws, the game was tied with seven seconds left. Beard then drove the ball through the lane and was fouled with one second left in the overtime period. Beard made both free throws to give her team the lead.
The Razorbacks' Lakisha Harper shot a desperation three-quarter-court shot that hit off the backboard and rim and missed as time expired.
"I think this was a great test for us," Duke's head coach, Gail Goestenkors, said afterward. "I am proud of our effort. It wasn't the best basketball, but I have to give Arkansas credit for that. We learned a lot about ourselves; we got down and did not panic. We never lost our poise."
Beard scored 27 points to lead the Blue Devils. Iciss Tillis and Bass each had 13 and Tillis grabbed 10 rebounds. "We made a lot of mistakes, but overall we played good basketball," was Beard's assessment.
Shameka Christon led the Razorbacks with 19 points, Lewis had 15, Harper added 14 and Vaughn had 11. Christon got 10 rebounds.
"We have all the respect for Duke, but we are not intimidated by them," Gary Blair, Arkansas head coach, said. "We played good at times; we played a great game."
University of Carolina 54, Boston College 51
The first game of Saturday evening, between the University of South Carolina and Boston College, game was close all the way, although the Lady Eagles (3-1) never led the Lady Gamecocks (4-0) and only once tied the score.
The Gamecocks had a seven-point lead, 18-11, halfway through the first half. The Eagles tied the score at 24-24 with 1:42 left in the period.
The Gamecocks started the second half with a 6-2 run then pulled ahead by their biggest lead of the game, nine points, twice — 41-32 with 11:35 left on the clock and 53-44 with 4:14 remaining. The Eagles ended the game with a 7-1 run, but it was a little too late.
Cristina Ciocan scored 18 points to lead the Gamecocks and Jocelyn Penn had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Jessalyn Deveny led the Eagles with 18 points, followed by Becky Gottstein with 15.
Old Dominion 90, Hampton University 54
The Lady Monarchs (1-3) dominated the game from beginning end. The Lady Pirates (1-3) never led or even tied the score.
Old Dominion jumped to a 26-10 lead midway through the first half. The Monarchs held Hampton without a field goal for nearly all of the final six minutes of the game. The Monarchs out-rebounded the Pirates, 47-26, overall and totally out-matched Hampton in every statistical area.
Okieshia Howard scored 18 points to lead the Monarchs. Max Nhassengo added 12 and Myriah Spence, Sharesse Grant and Monique Coker had 10 apiece. Coker recorded her second double-double of the tournament and season with 10 rebounds.
LaShondra Dixon led the Lady Pirates with 25 points, and Bendy Ellis had 11.
Named to the University of the Virgin Islands 2002 Paradise Jam Women's Tournament All-Star team were Hampton's Dixon, Old Dominion's Howard, Arkansas' Lewis, Duke's Tillis and Arkansas' Christon. Duke's Beard was named the tournament's most valuable player.
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