Alana Beard’s 27 Lead Duke Over Utah
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Alana Beard scored a game-high 27 points as top-seeded Duke beat Utah 65-54 in the Midwest Regional on Tuesday.
Beard shot 10-for-12 against the nation’s top scoring defense, leading the Blue Devils (33-1) to the round of 16 for the sixth straight season. Duke will face No. 5 seed Georgia on Saturday.
Iciss Tillis added 12 points and freshman Jessica Foley had 11 for Duke.
Kim Smith scored 20 points and went 4-for-9 from behind the 3-point arc to lead the eighth-seeded Utes (24-7), who came into the game allowing just 50 points per game. Shona Thorburn added 12.
Beard scored 10 points in the last 13:28 of the game as the Blue Devils slowly pulled away. With Duke leading by four, Beard scored six points in an 11-2 run that gave the Blue Devils a 51-38 lead.
Duke, which came into the game allowing just 54 points per game, held the Utes without a field goal for 7 1/2 minutes midway through the second half. By the time Utah’s Kelsy Stireman ended the drought with a jumper from the right baseline, Duke had a 63-44 lead with 4:38 left.
Utah held Duke to 7-for-22 shooting in the first half, and took a 29-19 lead on a layup by Sarah Wobbe. But Foley hit two straight baskets and Beard followed with two 3-pointers to ignite a 12-0 run that put the Blue Devils ahead to stay.