Blue Devils bound for Elite EightMar 27, 2011 - 9:03 PM Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Karima Christmas scored a season-high 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds as the Duke Blue Devils defeated the DePaul Blue Demons, 70-63, in the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament at the Liacouras Center.
Also scoring in double figures for second-seeded Duke (32-3) were Jasmine Thomas and Chelsea Gray with 19 and 16 points, respectively, the latter converting all five attempts from the floor while the former hit just 6-of-17 from the field.
The third-seeded Blue Demons (29-7) were paced by Deirdre Naughton who dropped in 17 points off the bench, converting 3-of-4 shots behind the three-point line. Felicia Chester, Keisha Hampton and Sam Quigley accounted for 11 points apiece, with Chester also clearing nine rebounds in an effort to offset five turnovers.
A close game for much of the first half, a 9-0 run late in the period by Duke allowed it to stretch the lead to 15 points at 39-24, before settling on a 41-28 edge at the break. DePaul suffered double-digit turnovers in the first half which prevented the team from closing the gap down the stretch.
With under a minute to go in the second half Naughton knocked down a three- pointer for the Blue Demons which cut their deficit to just three points at 63-60. However, Duke earned those points right back as Christmas connected on 3-of-4 attempts at the free-throw line. With 26 seconds remaining Naughton again hit on a three-pointer to make the difference just three points, but once more the Blue Devils, more specifically Gray, connected on 4-of-4 at the charity stripe to preserve the win.
DePaul, which turned the ball over a total of 19 times, was outscored at the free-throw line by a margin of 21-10.
These teams last met during the first round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament when the Blue Devils captured a 70-56 win in Illinois.
With the win the Blue Devils are now into the regional finals and will face off against the top-seeded and top-ranked UConn Huskies on Tuesday night for the right to move on to the Final Four at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
- DEPAUL: 63
Mar 27 4:35 PM
- DEPAUL: 63
End of Regulation
Mar 27 4:35 PM
- DEPAUL: 28
Mar 27 3:19 PM
- DEPAUL: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Mar 27 2:36 PM
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