This item originally appeared in the April 1, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.
By Josh Milton
NORFOLK, VA. -- Electricity bolted through the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va., as the Lady Techsters looked to shock the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils in the Sweet 16 of the 2004 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament on Sunday.
The Lady Techsters' had hoped to knock off the No. 1 team in the nation and advance to the Elite 8.
However, Tech simply did not have the offensive firepower or match-ups in size to pull off the stunning victory, as Duke eliminated the Lady Techsters 63-49.
The 14-point deficit did not reflect on Tech's valiant effort, and Coach Kurt Budke proudly commended his team's relentless determination.
"I'm proud of how hard we competed, and I thought we played for 40 minutes as hard as we could play," Budke said. "We talked about dragging our bodies off the floor when this thing was done, and whatever the score indicated, so be it."
Coming into the game, Duke had averaged 82.7 points per game, but Tech held the Blue Devils to only 63 points on 38.6-percent shooting from the floor. More than four minutes of play passed before Duke got its first points, and after that, Tech's only lead of the game came at 23-22 with 1:33 left in the first half.
Duke Head Coach Gail Goestenkors knew her team had been in a war and praised Tech's defense.
"We knew coming into this game Tech was a fantastic team," Goestenkors said. "They're so athletic, and their defense is incredible. They played a gritty, tough game. As two of the top-scoring teams in the nation, we knew it'd come down to defense, and it did."
Tech played scrappy defense but connected on only 30 percent from the field for a season-low 49 points.
Budke attributed much of Duke's defensive effectiveness to the Blue Devils' athleticism and length.
"You can't beat Duke shooting 30 percent," Budke said.
The only player consistently scoring for Tech was Trina Frierson, who hit 10 of 19 field goals for 22 points while grabbing 12 boards. However, even Frierson could not pull Tech out of the long cold spell to win the game.
After having been down 48-38 with 9:44 remaining, Tech hit two buckets to pull within six points. Tech made four defensive stops and had four chances to cut into Duke's lead but managed only seven points in the final nine minutes of the game.
Frierson credited Duke's tenacious defense for the slump.
"We got in a slump and started missing shots, and that hurt us down the stretch," Frierson said.
Tech limited Duke's three-time All-American, Alana Beard, to 17 points on five-of-15 shooting.
Tech's lockdown defender Amber Obaze held Beard to only nine points before fouling out with 10:28 to play and Tech trailing 44-38, and Beard commended Obaze's determination.
"Tech made me take tough, off-balance shots and outside shots," Beard said. "Give credit to Tech and their defense."
Budke summed up Tech's fate in his final statement of the season.
"We gave everything we had," Budke said. "The game plan was solid. We held Duke to 63 points, out-rebounded them and fought them well. We just needed to make a few more buckets."