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Currie leads sluggish Blue Devils

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The 3,788 Virginia Tech faithful who were in attendance for their match-up with No. 2 Duke were loud and energetic last night, but their intensity was more than matched by Blue Devil senior Monique Currie at Cassell Coliseum.

In the Blue Devils' first game after head coach Gail Goestenkors criticized them for a lack of effort in their loss to UNC, Currie answered the call by flying around the court during her 26 minutes of play.

Besides scoring a game-high 21 points-her sixth 20-point game of the season-Currie added six rebounds and three steals.

"She's an All-American for a reason," Virginia Tech head coach Beth Dunkenberger said. "She' s a great player and just very physical, very strong."

But numbers alone don't tell the story of Currie's performance last night. She seemed to be all over the court, always where she needed to be, always a step ahead of the rest.

For instance, with 8:47 left to play in the second half, Currie charged to the basket and missed a layup. But she dove on the ground, grabbing the loose ball and punching it through the mass of bodies to open teammate Mistie Williams, who converted the basket.

"I thought Mo did a great job, and we needed her," Goestenkors said. "Especially early on, I thought she set the tone for us."

She played with a set jaw and look of determination from the start. After sinking a three-point shot just two minutes into the game, Currie jumped in front of a Hokie inbounds pass and stole it. She then scored an uncontested layup that gave the Blue Devils an early lead.

Her consistently aggressive defense allowed the Blue Devils to hold Virginia Tech without a field goal for the last 8:20 of the first half, and her timely scoring kept the Hokies from recapturing the lead in the second half.

"In the second half she didn't score a lot, but then when they made their run, she stepped it up, which she does for us when teams make runs," Goestenkors said. "She kind of steps up and hits some big shots to make sure the momentum doesn't change too much."

Currie's presence helped mask a team performance that Goestenkors again described as lacking intensity.

"I'm a little disappointed with our play overall, with our effort overall," Goestenkors said.

The Blue Devils scored nearly twenty points less than their average of 90 per game and committed 20 turnovers-14 of which came in the second half. Virginia Tech' s 20 points off of those turnovers kept Duke from ever running away with the game.

The Blue Devils' other saving grace in the second half was a resurgent Mistie Williams. The senior was a non-factor in the first half, shooting 1-for-6 from the free-throw line and scoring just three points.

But the second half was the Mistie Williams Show. The forward tallied 16 points during the game to match a season-high total and was a constant force in the paint, where Duke outscored the Hokies by 10 points in the contest.

"After halftime was over I just let that half go," Williams said. "You just have to leave it behind and focus on the next 20 minutes."


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