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Women's Hoops: No. 1 Duke 74, Tennessee 70

Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Abby Waner scored 24 points and top-ranked Duke remained undefeated after storming out to a 19-0 lead and holding on to beat No. 4 Tennessee 74-70 on Monday night.

The Blue Devils started the year 20-0 for the second straight season and got victory No. 20 by handing Tennessee only its 17th loss in Thompson-Boling Arena, which opened in 1987.

Early on it looked as if could be the worst loss ever for the Lady Vols in their home arena, but Tennessee (17-2) rallied from as many as 21 points down in the first half to tie it at 48 with 10:48 remaining.

Duke then ran its lead back to nine, but Tennessee kept chipping away and made the final minutes tense for both sides, especially the large and raucous orange-clad crowd.

Lindsey Harding scored on a drive with 1:37 left to put Duke ahead 70-63, but Tennessee went 2-of-4 at the foul line and Candace Parker scored to cut it to 70-67.

The Lady Vols’ last chance came after Alberta Auguste hit a 3 with 6.1 seconds left to cut it to 72-70, and they immediately fouled Harding. She made both free throws to ice it.

Duke is one of only nine teams to win in Thompson-Boling and only the fifth of those to win more than once.

Harding added 21 for Duke while Wanisha Smith had 15. The Blue Devils were 14-of-15 from the foul line. Tennessee was only 8-of-17.

Candace Parker led the Lady Vols with 22 points and 10 rebounds, but was 1-for-7 from the foul line. Alexis Hornbuckle added 19 points and Sidney Spencer had 13.

Duke came into the game with the top field-goal defense in the country, holding teams to 30.3 percent. Tennessee shot 29.7 percent in the first half and finished at 36 percent.

The Blue Devils improved to 7-0 against ranked teams this season.

The win tied Duke with No. 2 North Carolina with the longest nonconference victory streak at 33. The Blue Devils and the Tar Heels are the only remaining unbeaten teams in Division I.

Duke’s dominance spoiled a special atmosphere in the arena. Coach Pat Summitt and her players took unprecedented efforts to encourage students and other fans to attend the game.

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