Saturday, March 24, 2001

Women's Sweet 16 preview


Record scorer faces fabulous freshman

By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

        SPOKANE, Wash. — The magnificent college career of Jackie Stiles is nearing an end. Alana Beard's has only begun.

        The two will cross paths tonight when Stiles, the career leading scorer in women's college basketball, leads Southwest Missouri State against Duke and its freshman sensation Beard.

        The winner advances to the West Regional final Monday night against the winner of the Washington-Oklahoma game.

        Stiles, averaging 30.2 points as a senior, has 3,298 career points.

        “I don't think we're going to stop her,” Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. “We just want to slow her down a little bit.”

        Beard leads Duke in scoring (averaging 18.5 points) and steals (42 total).

        Stiles and Beard are similar “probably with work ethic, probably with passion, but they're two totally different players,” Goestenkors said.

        “Jackie is much more aggressive right now with the basketball, and she's a much better shooter right now than Alana is,” the Duke coach said. “Alana can be a great shooter but is more of a penetrator. Alana also is one of the best defensive players in the country.”

        Beard will be one of at least four players who will take turns guarding Stiles.

        The Blue Devils got a scare when Beard went down with an injured leg late in Friday's practice.

        “She just hurt her quad a little bit,” Goestenkors said. “We're just playing it safe right now. She'll be all right.”

        Midwest Regional at Denver: Utah, in the round of 16 for the first time, relies on defense and the Utes are hoping they can slow down top-seeded Notre Dame and its All-America center, Ruth Riley.

        “It'll be tough because she's a great center,” Utah center Lauren Beckman said.

        Utah is holding opponents to 50.5 points a game and 33.7 percent shooting. Only one of the Utes' 31 opponents has reached its season scoring average.

        The other Midwest game, second-seeded Iowa State vs. third-seeded Vanderbilt, features two All-Americans in the pivot, second-teamer Chantelle Anderson of Vanderbilt and third-team pick Angie Welle of Iowa State. Anderson leads the nation in field-goal shooting at 73 percent. Welle is second at 66.2 percent.

        It could be one of the better games of the day because both teams are so similar — a strong inside player complemented by outstanding shooters on the perimeter. Iowa State makes an average of nine 3-pointers a game.

        East Regional at Pittsburgh: It will be top-seeded Connecticut against fourth-seeded North Carolina State, and third-seeded Louisiana Tech against the most surprising team in the tournament, 10th-seeded Missouri.

        Playing without injured stars Svetlana Abrosimova and Shea Ralph, Connecticut hasn't missed a beat in its bid for a second straight national championship. The Huskies have smothered their first two opponents defensively while winning by an average margin of 58.5 points.

        But coach Geno Auriemma is wary of North Carolina State. The Huskies were rolling through the 1998 tournament, and seemed a cinch to reach the Final Four when NC State beat them in the East Regional final.

        “They're a typical ACC team — big, strong and they're quick,” Auriemma said. “Tynesha Lewis was really good when we played them (in 1998) and she's only gotten better.”

        North Carolina State has gone 11-2 since coach Kay Yow moved Lewis from shooting guard to point guard. In her first game at the point, Lewis had the program's first triple-double — 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. She had a second triple-double against North Carolina, getting 25 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Complete tournament coverage at Cincinnati.com



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