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Re-focused women take on G-Tech

Last night, the women's basketball team had a shot at extending its ACC winning streak to 52 in Tallahassee, Fla., against Florida State. The Seminoles toppled the No. 1 Blue Devils, 80-74, in a lukewarm and sluggish performance by the Blue Devils. Head coach Gail Goestenkors' squad hopes to begin a new streak in Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday against Georgia Tech, in a game that could set the tone for the rest of the Duke season. �

The contest will create several interesting matchups, as the Yellowjackets and the Blue Devils are connected by circumstance. Goestenkors, a former Purdue assistant, coached Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph when the latter was a Boilermaker star. The matchup on the court will be interesting as well, as Duke's Alana Beard will meet up with Fallon Stokes. Stokes is a power forward who is Georgia Tech's main offensive weapon and third-leading scorer in the ACC, putting up 17.3 points per game. Stokes is one of the few players in the conference even within shouting distance of Beard's 19.5 ppg scoring ability. Beard barely edged Stokes when the two teams met in Atlanta in early January, scoring 17 while Stokes managed 16 in Duke's 77-45 bulldozing of Georgia Tech. �

However, Duke has many more offensive weapons than Beard, whereas the Yellowjackets depend heavily upon Stokes to put points on the board. Point guard Alex Stewart and frontcourt mainstay Megan Isom average 8.3 and 8.8 points, respectively. These two supporting players will need to join Stokes in a leading role if Georgia Tech is hoping to remain in contention with Duke's balanced attack, centered around the sharpshooting of senior Vicki Krapohl, the finesse of forward Iciss Tillis and the powerful post play of sophomore Mistie Bass. �

Georgia Tech can hang with many teams in the conference, as seven of its nine conference contests have been decided by seven points or fewer; unfortunately, Joseph's team has lost five of those seven, and stands currently at 11-10 overall, with a lamentable 2-7 conference record. �

Duke's first loss in the ACC in over half a hundred contests should result in the Blue Devils being on the top of their game even against a conference doormat like Georgia Tech. �

But with a scorer like Stokes, the Yellow Jackets have a chance to give Duke something that it's been awhile since the Blue Devils have had: an in-conference losing streak.

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