GREENSBORO, N.C. -- As her name keeps surfacing in connection with coaching vacancies, Gail Goestenkors is trying to keep Duke's focus on the court.
Goestenkors said yesterday that Texas hasn't contacted her about its opening. Several newspapers in that state have named her as the leading candidate to replace retired Hall of Famer Jody Conradt as the Longhorns' coach.
"I really haven't had to take any measures" to maintain her team's focus, Goestenkors said. "I talked to the team early on when I first heard rumors, and I told them, 'You're going to hear rumors. You're going to read things in the paper. But that's just everybody's attempt to try and keep us from our focus and our energy.' "
Returning to the site of their only loss this season, the top-seeded Blue Devils (32-1) hope to repeat what they accomplished in 1999. That year, they won the Greensboro-based regional.
The Blue Devils face fourth-seeded Rutgers (24-8) in the regional semifinal today.
But what the Blue Devils remember most about this city is their last game here -- a surprising 70-65 loss to North Carolina State three weeks ago in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, snapping their school-record 30-game win streak.
"It's kind of ignited a little bit more of a sense of urgency in that it can happen, and we only have a couple more games -- you lose, you're done," guard Abby Waner said. "The last game, we still had the NCAA Tournament to look forward to. More than anything it got us a little more focused."
If Bowling Green (31-3), which faces Arizona State (30-4) in the other semifinal, is feeling any pressure from its first trip to the Round of 16, the Falcons aren't showing it.
Senior Ali Mann enjoyed the attention while fielding questions, including when asked if she could have imagined herself in this position when she first arrived at the school.
"No way," she said. "I barely knew where Bowling Green was. When I first got to campus, I was like, 'Where am I? In the middle of a cornfield.' "
Bowling Green had lost in the first round in each of the past two years, but upset No. 2 seed Vanderbilt to earn a date with the third-seeded Sun Devils.