March 21, 2001
REGIONAL: West, semifinals.
TIME: Saturday, 10:07 p.m. EST.
SITE: Spokane Arena, Spokane, Wash.
Two teams have tried and failed to stop Southwest Missouri State star guard Jackie Stiles.
Now Duke freshman Alana Beard gets the unenviable task of containing the leading scorer in women's basketball history as the Bears and Blue Devils meet in the West region semifinals.
About the only thing that has slowed Stiles in the first two rounds was the slight concussion she suffered in the second half of the fifth-seeded Bears' first-round victory over Toledo. The All-American senior guard recovered to score 30 points against arguably the toughest defense in the nation as Southwest Missouri State advanced to Saturday with a 60-53 victory over Rutgers on Monday.
"This is your senior year and you go for it with everything you got," Stiles said. "My athletic training staff and the doctors traveling with us did a great job of getting me healthy for this game."
Southwest Missouri State, which is in the round of 16 for the first time since 1993, is trying to reach the Final Four for the first time since 1992 and has added incentive because this season's national semifinals are in St. Louis.
Beard, who at 5-foot-11 stands three inches taller than Stiles, is also Duke's leading scorer, averaging 16.6 points per game. She is already aware of what is in store for her against Stiles, who leads the nation in scoring at 30.2 points per game.
"You just have to look at everything that she does. She can go right, left, she's an all-around player. She can score," Beard said of Stiles. "You just have to have that mindset to keep her on the outside and keep a hand in her face and just stay close to her."
While Blue Devils coach Gail Gostenkors seems to accept the fact Stiles is going to score one way or another, the one thing she feels her team can control is preventing Stiles from going to the foul line, where she has made 89 percent of her attempts.
"Because she is so versatile I am not sure what we can take away. Hopefully, we can take away the free throws," Gostenkors said. "You don't want to foul her because not only is she getting free points and easy points because she is a great free-throw shooter. It also means you are getting some of your players in foul trouble as well and we cannot afford to have our players in foul trouble."
PROBABLE STARTERS: Southwest Missouri State - F Ann Cavey (5.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg), F Kinga Kiss (5.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg), G Melody Campbell (2.0 ppg, 4.3 apg), G Stiles (30.2 ppg, 2.0 apg), G Tara Mitchem (13.2 ppg, 2.4 apg). Duke - F Rochelle Parent (5.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg), F Michele Matyasovsky (5.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg), G Sheana Mosch (10.9 ppg, 1.9 apg), G Beard (16.6 ppg, 3.9 apg), G Georgia Schweitzer (14.2 ppg, 4.1 apg).
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Southwest Missouri State - Automatic bid, Missouri Valley Conference tournament champion, defeated No. 12 Toledo 89-71, first round, defeated No. 4 Rutgers 60-53, second round. Duke - Automatic bid, Atlantic Coast Conference tournament champions, defeated No. 16 Wisconsin-Milwaukee 96-63, first round, defeated No. 9 Arkansas 76-53, second round.
ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Southwest Missouri State - 12-9, 10 years. Duke - 16-7, 8 years.