No. 8 Duke women rout Fla. State

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Thomas scores 14 points as Blue Devils advance to finals against No. 4 Maryland

March 08, 2009

Joanne P. McCallie wants to see her Duke team play with the same intensity no matter what the scoreboard says. So far, that has been a tougher challenge for the eighth-ranked Blue Devils than any opponent in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

Jasmine Thomas scored 14 points to help Duke beat No. 12 Florida State, 75-57, in yesterday's semifinals, giving Duke its second dominating performance in Greensboro, N.C., in as many days.

Carrem Gay added 13 points for the third-seeded Blue Devils (26-4), who easily avenged a regular-season loss to the Seminoles (25-7) and reached today's championship game for the second straight year. They will face No. 4 Maryland, the top seed, as they look for their first title since a run of five straight from 2000-01 to 2003-04.

"We have a very direct and focused goal," senior Abby Waner said. "We've seen our talent and know how good we can be, so therefore no outside expectations are any greater than ours. And there's no better time for us to come together than now."

Indeed. Duke beat rival North Carolina in overtime last weekend to end the regular season. Then, in Friday's quarterfinals, the Blue Devils jumped to leads of 17-2, 27-6 and 40-15 in the first half of a 76-53 win over No. 24 Virginia.

The first half yesterday didn't look much different, with Duke's defense shutting down the Seminoles early while its offense operated with easy efficiency to take a 40-18 halftime lead.

The Seminoles won the first meeting, 82-75, in overtime Jan. 29, rallying from a six-point deficit in the final 48 seconds of regulation. Yesterday, they used a spurt coming out of halftime to get within nine points, but that flurry served only to jolt the Blue Devils out of one of the few times their intensity has waned in this tournament.

Men

Boston College 67, Georgia Tech 66:: Eagles coach Al Skinner's decision to avoid a likely choice at the end of the game probably helped solidify his team's NCAA tournament berth.

Rakim Sanders hit an off-balance, 15-foot fallaway jumper from the right baseline with 1.7 seconds left to lift Boston College over the Yellow Jackets.

Sanders finished with 19 points and Tyrese Rice had 17 for the host Eagles (21-10, 9-7), who won for just the third time in seven games. The victory probably sealed at least an NCAA tournament at-large berth for the Eagles.

The Yellow Jackets (11-18, 2-14) had taken a one-point lead with 12.4 seconds to play when Lewis Clinch hit two free throws.

BC then inbounded the ball to Rice, who raced it up the court before calling timeout in front of his own bench.

Sanders took the ball at the top of the key, cut to his left and nailed the tough shot.

Miami 72, North Carolina State 64:: Jack McClinton (Calvert Hall) overcame a shaky start by making all 16 of his free-throw attempts, and the Hurricanes held the visiting Wolfpack without a field goal for more than 12 minutes in the second half to win.

McClinton scored 24 points even though he missed his first seven shots before hitting a three-pointer early in the second half. He finished 3-for-15 from the field.

McClinton is a 90 percent career shooter from the line, second-best in conference history. His 16-for-16 effort was the Hurricanes' best since at least 1985-86, which is as far back as school records in the category go.

The Hurricanes (18-11, 7-9) helped their slim hopes of making the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. North Carolina State (16-13, 6-10) is likely out of the mix unless it makes a big splash in the league tournament.

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