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DUKE 70, BC 65

Eagles' wings clipped

In valiant effort, BC falls to Duke

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Welcome to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Boston College women's basketball team, which is leaving the Big East next season to join the ACC, got a close look at one of its new rivals last night. Maybe too close.

Duke defeated BC, 70-65, in a hard-fought game before 3,666 at the Dean Smith Center, eliminating the Eagles in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The second-seeded Blue Devils (30-4) advance to the Sweet 16 and will face Georgia in the Chattanooga bracket Saturday.

The seventh-seeded Eagles (20-10) trailed by 6 at the half, 36-30, and went down by as many as 10 but fought back to get within 1 at 52-51 with 5:55 left. They dropped back to 66-59 with just 18 seconds remaining, but senior Clare Droesch sank two 3-pointers in the last eight seconds, keeping BC within range.

However, Duke sank its last four shots from the line to seal it.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed with the loss," said BC coach Cathy Inglese. "But I can't be any happier with the heart and determination we showed."

BC shot 50 percent from the field, hitting 28 of 56 shots, and held Duke to 41.7 percent (25 of 60).

Droesch finished with a game-high 23 points -- on 10-of-14 shooting -- the same as she scored in the first-round win against Houston Sunday.

Junior forward Brooke Queenan had 17 points but fouled out of the game, as she was constantly double-teamed by Duke and battling under the basket. Sophomore Kindyll Dorsey added 9 points, all on 3-pointers (3 for 7).

The Blue Devils were led in scoring by junior guard Monique Currie with 21 points, and the team pulled down 37 rebounds to BC's 31.

"We knew it was going to be a battle," said Duke coach Gail Goestenkors, who because of injuries had only seven players available. "We really respect them. I think everyone can see why." The BC players knew they'd have a tall order -- literally -- because of 6-foot-7-inch Duke sophomore center Alison Bales. But Inglese tried to downplay that angle, telling reporters Monday, "You're scaring them; I told them she's 6-5."

But what the Eagles lacked in size, they had in depth, even with star senior Jessalyn Deveny (torn Achilles' tendon) in a walking cast. The Blue Devils were hoping junior forward Jessica Foley could return from a bout with tendinitis, but she missed her second straight game.

The pace was fast and arms were flying as the Eagles tried to pressure the Blue Devils and double-team Bales. In the first half, Duke stole the ball four times and BC swiped it five times. The teams traded baskets to stay within 1 or 2 points of each other over the first 20 minutes.

Duke went up, 18-14, on a jumper by Mistie Williams, but Queenan sank a 3-pointer to bring the Eagles within 18-17. Queenan, who had two of the steals in the half, also scored 15 points and grabbed 5 rebounds before intermission.

Bales, who was held to 2 points in the first half, rebounded in the second half, hitting twice from the baseline in the first four minutes as Duke stretched the lead to 42-32. Bales finished with 16 points and 6 blocks but only 5 rebounds.

Since losing their top scorer, Deveny, the Eagles went 5-5.

Droesch reflected on the last game of her college career.

"I'll always look back on my last college game and know that we gave it our all," she said. "I couldn't be any more pleased with my team. I love every one of them.

"And this game, well, it's not that bad saying that we lost to a team named Duke."

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