Duke Takes ACC Title

From Associated Press

With their perfect Atlantic Coast Conference season on the line, Duke stars Alana Beard and Iciss Tillis stepped up to make history Monday night.

Tillis scored all 21 of her points in the second half and added 10 rebounds, and Beard had 16 points and a career-high 20 rebounds as No. 2-ranked Duke became the first women's basketball team in ACC history to win four consecutive tournament titles with a 77-59 victory over No. 11 North Carolina.

Top-seeded Duke (31-1) won its 43rd consecutive ACC game, ran through the league undefeated for the second consecutive season and matched the Duke men (1999-2002) as the only conference teams to win four consecutive titles.

To do so, the Blue Devils beat North Carolina (27-5) for the ninth consecutive time in a rematch of last season's final.

In front of a sellout crowd of 11,126, the Tar Heels made it a game for the first 30 minutes by holding Beard and Tillis in check. Beard missed nine of her first 12 attempts and Tillis went 0 for 6 as North Carolina built a 31-25 halftime lead.

But once the two warmed up in the second half, nothing stopped them, not even an outburst from North Carolina Coach Sylvia Hatchell.

"I gave it all I had," said Hatchell, who lost her voice midway through the second half. "I just wish they could have matched my intensity level."

Called for a technical for arguing a non-call with North Carolina trailing, 60-51, with 4:49 to play, Hatchell stomped up and down on the baseline, then implored the Carolina fans to stand up and cheer.

Tillis, watching it all from under the basket, turned her head away in laughter and was still hiding her smirk when she sank the two free throws for a 62-51 lead.

"The technical fired us up," said Tillis. "I think a technical can help the other team, as well, and I think we knew we had the game wrapped up then."

No. 10 Purdue 67, No. 22 Ohio State 65 -- The third-seeded Boilermakers (26-5) won the Big Ten tournament for the fourth time -- but their first since 2000 -- and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the 10th consecutive season with the victory over the Buckeyes (21-9) in the title game at Indianapolis.

No. 18 Villanova 65, Miami 59 -- The third-seeded Wildcats (24-5) beat the seventh-seeded Hurricanes (18-12) at Piscataway, N.J., to advance to their first Big East tournament title game since 1987.

George Washington 56, Rhode Island 49 -- The top-seeded Colonials (24-6), who have won nine consecutive and 20 of their last 21 games, turned back the fifth-seeded Rams (16-15) at Washington to win their first Atlantic 10 tournament championship since 1996.

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