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CHATTANOOGA REGIONAL

Duke stay on track

Currie lifts Devils to regional final

If this is Monique Currie's final season at Duke, she's doing her best to keep it going.

The All-America junior made four free throws in the final 26 seconds to secure the Blue Devils' 63-57 victory over Georgia in the Chattanooga Regional semifinal yesterday in Tennessee. Second-seeded Duke (31-4) meets top-seeded LSU in the final tomorrow.

Currie finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Mistie Williams added 14 points and 13 rebounds while Wanisha Smith and Alison Bales each had 10 points.

Duke outrebounded the Lady Bulldogs, 45-32, scoring 16 points off putbacks.

"That's something we've focused on all year," Currie said. "I was in the right place at the right time most of the times."

Sixth-seeded Georgia (24-10) was trying to advance to the regional final for the 11th time by building on the momentum from its upset over third-seeded Texas in the second round. But the Blue Devils had other plans.

Duke is in the final eight for the sixth time with hopes of getting to the Final Four for the first time since 2003.

Currie, who is a junior but will graduate this spring, hasn't decided whether she will stay for her senior season. She has said how far the Blue Devils go in the tournament could determine her course.

As expected, the game was close most of the way.

Duke was ahead by 5 with 6:21 remaining, but Georgia cut it to 2 twice before finally tying it at 54 on Tasha Humphrey's putback with 3:04 to go.

Jessica Foley and Williams scored around two missed free throws by the Lady Bulldogs to put Duke ahead for good.

Humphrey gave Georgia some life at the end with a 3 with 36.1 left to make it 59-57, but that was the last time the Lady Bulldogs scored. They intentionally fouled Currie to get the ball back, but she made all four free throw attempts down the stretch.

"I said, `You know Monique is our All-American. Let's go through her,' " Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said of her team's strategy in the end.

LSU 90, Liberty 48 -- All-American Seimone Augustus and Scholanda Hoston each scored 22 points to help the Lady Tigers end the 13th-seeded Lady Flames' amazing NCAA Tournament run in the regional semifinals in Chattanooga. Temeka Johnson added 12 points and 15 assists. Freshman Sylvia Fowles had 10 points for LSU (32-2), the overall No. 1 seed.

Liberty (26-7), making its ninth appearance in the tournament, become only the second 13 seed to reach the regional semifinals after notching the school's first two NCAA Tournament wins.

But LSU was prepared. Thanks to a smothering defense that shut down dominant 6-foot-8-inch center Katie Feenstra, LSU jumped out to a 17-0 lead.

Diana Staugaitiene made Liberty's first bucket, a 3-pointer at the 10:48 mark that made it 21-5. She finished with 10 points. Feenstra was averaging 18.1 points and 10.3 rebounds, but finished with 9 points and 12 rebounds. Liberty dropped to 0-8 against SEC teams in the NCAA Tournament.

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