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No. 12 Florida 70, No. 23 Duke 63

December 30, 1997

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Tamara Stocks scored 20 points, Murriel Page had 15 and the two combined for 20 rebounds Monday night as No. 12 Florida defeated No. 23 Duke 70-63 in the championship game of the State Farm Classic.

Duke (8-4) went scoreless during the last 4 1/2 minutes of the game to let the Gators (8-3) improve to 6-0 at home this season.

Until Tonya Washington hit a layup with 32 seconds to go, neither team had led by more than four points in the second half.

Duke’s frontcourt of Peppi Browne, Payton Black and Michele Van Gorp scored 15, 14 and 11 points, respectively, to counter Page and Stocks.

While Duke’s inside players balanced Florida in scoring, they were no match for the Gators on the glass. Stocks and Page had as many offensive rebounds _ nine _ as the Duke trio had total.

Foul trouble hindered the Gator frontcourt. Stocks sat out much of the first half with two fouls and Page picked up her third foul with 1:06 left in the half.

Page had to come back early in the second half, though, when backup Kelly Freeman picked up her fourth foul.

Florida’s woes from the foul line kept the Blue Devils in the game. The Gators shot just .364 from the line.

Down the stretch, it was Duke who struggled from the charity stripe, however. With the Gators up by four, Black missed the front end of a 1-and-1 before Van Gorp missed two free throws.

Page was named tournament MVP. Joining her on the all-tournament team were Stocks, Van Gorp and Black, as well as Kent’s Dawn Zerman and Rhode Island’s Amber Jansen.

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