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Women's basketball turns its attention toward FSU

Like the women's soccer team did earlier this year, the women's basketball team upset an undefeated, defending national champion North Carolina team with its 74-72 victory over the Tar Heels on Wednesday night.

But in its next game, the soccer team fell 1-0 to a lightly-regarded Brown squad. Women's basketball head coach Gail Goestenkors reminded her players of the women's soccer team's letdown and hopes her team can avoid the same fate when No. 21 Duke (15-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) plays the Florida State Lady Seminoles (6-13, 2-6 ACC) Saturday in Tallahassee.

"We're watching video today of Florida State," Goestenkors said Thursday. "So, we're trying to concentrate and focus on them."

Senior Carey Kauffman remembers all too well last year's road loss to Florida State. The team was 16-8 after a loss at North Carolina but still had an excellent shot at an NCAA birth. But the loss to FSU, followed by two other losses, torpedoed Duke's tournament hopes.

"We have not played well at Florida State the last couple of years," Kauffman said. "We realize that if we stay high in the sky for the next couple of days, we could lose to anyone on any night."

Back on Dec. 7, Duke handily defeated Florida State 84-68 in Cameron, as junior Alison Day, who hit the game-winning shot on Wednesday, poured in 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting. All five Blue Devil starters scored in double figures, and the team as a whole hit 59.6 percent of its shots.

But Florida State has made big strides since that game. After losing their first six games this season in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Lady Seminoles have pulled together two victories in a row, the latter one in a way that will be familiar to Duke fans. Last Monday, the Seminoles won at Georgia Tech on a basket by junior Carla Williams as the buzzer sounded.

Plus, the Blue Devils cannot hope to surprise anyone, not after beating the No. 3 Tar Heels.

Duke's strategy on Saturday will be the same as it was in December. It will try to punch the ball inside to the forwards and centers. In their last game against FSU, Day, Kauffman and sophomore Tyish Hall combined for 48 points and 16 rebounds. The three are all 6-3 and will face a Seminole front line with no starter taller than 6-1.

"We're going to try and go inside, because we learned that's one of our strengths," Goestenkors said.

Duke will also have to contain Florida State's top player, 5-7 senior guard Allison Peercy. She leads the team in scoring, assists and steals and is fourth in the ACC in free-throw percentage. Assigned to cover Peercy will be Duke sophomore point guard Kira Orr, who scored several key baskets Wednesday, but was challenged all night on defense by North Carolina point guard Marion Jones, who is also an All-America track star.

Peercy is the top three-point shooter on a poor shooting team. The Lady Seminoles are shooting a dismal 37.4 percent from the field, compared to their opponents' 47.8 shooting percentage. In their last seven games, Florida State has topped 40 percent only once, and hit a low of 27.8 percent in a game against North Carolina.

The game against Florida State is the start of a three-game road trip which also will take them to Clemson and N.C. State. The Blue Devils do not return home until Feb. 7.

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