DURHAM, N.C. – The fifth-ranked Duke women’s basketball team received its 19th straight NCAA Tournament selection on Monday. The Blue Devils (30-2) were seeded No. 2 in the Norfolk Region and will play 15th-seeded Hampton (28-5) in the first round on Sunday, March 24, 2013 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 and will tip at 12:05 p.m. (EST).
The Blue Devils have earned one of the top eight seeds in 12 out of the last 13 years in the NCAA Tournament and are coming off three straight Elite Eight appearances. Duke has been a No. 2 seed in each of the last four years.
Hampton advanced to the NCAA Tournament after claiming the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament championship for the fourth straight year with a 59-38 victory over Howard on March 16. The Lady Pirates enter the NCAA Tournament winners of 19 straight games under head coach David Six. Hampton features four double-figure scorers on the season – Keiara Avant (16.1), Nicole Hamilton (12.2), Alyssa Bennett (10.2) and Olivia Allen (11.8).
Duke and Hampton will meet for the second time over the last four years in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils downed the Lady Pirates, 72-37, in 2010 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Overall, Duke and Hampton have met on four occasions with the Blue Devils holding a 4-0 advantage.
The winner of the Duke/Hampton game will advance to face the winner of the No. 7 seed Oklahoma State vs. No. 10 seed DePaul game, which will tip at approximately 2:30 p.m., on Sunday. The second round contest will be played on Tuesday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m., in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Oklahoma State received an at large invitation to the tournament after registering a 21-10 overall record and 9-9 mark in the Big 12. On the season, Toni Young (15.9 points), Liz Donohoe (15.0), Tiffany Bias (12.1) and Brittney Martin (10.0) have led the Cowgirls under the direction of head coach Jim Littell.
DePaul will head to Durham for the NCAA Tournament with a 21-11 record under head coach Doug Bruno. The Blue Demons advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament before falling to Connecticut. DePaul has been led on the season by Brittany Hrynko (14.8 points), Jasmine Penny (13.1) and Anna Martin (15.7).
The Blue Devils received an automatic invitation to the 2013 NCAA Tournament after claiming their eighth ACC Championship on March 10 with a 92-73 victory over 15th-ranked North Carolina. Duke has registered 30 wins for the 10th time out of the last 13 years, including three out of the last four. The Blue Devils claimed the ACC regular season title outright for the second straight year and the fourth consecutive season.
Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie, who was the 2013, 2012 and 2010 ACC Coach of the Year, has guided the Blue Devils to another standout season in 2012-13 even with the loss of All-America point guard Chelsea Gray to a season-ending injury on Feb. 17 against Wake Forest.
On the year, the Blue Devils have featured a very balanced squad that includes four double-figure scorers -- Elizabeth Williams (15.4), Tricia Liston (13.1), Chelsea Gray (12.6) and Haley Peters (12.1). Williams and Gray were named to the All-ACC First Team for the second straight year, while Gray was voted the ACC Co-Player of the Year by the league’s head coaches. Williams earned ACC Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.
Freshman Alexis Jones has come on strong since Gray was injured as she was named the ACC Tournament MVP after averaging 17.7 points, 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in the three games. Over the last six contests, Jones has averaged 17.2 points, 6.2 assists and 5.3 rebounds. The 5-8 guard netted a career-high 24 points and eight rebounds in the ACC title game against UNC.
Entering the 2013 NCAAs, the Blue Devils own an all-time record of 49-19 in NCAA Tournament play and are 50-20 in all postseason action. The Blue Devils feature a 16-game winning streak in Cameron Indoor Stadium in NCAA Tournament action. Duke has advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 14 out of the last 15 years and reached the NCAA Final Four in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2006. As a conference, the ACC received five bids in 2013 -- Duke, Maryland, Miami, Florida State and North Carolina.
Tickets can be purchased by heading to www.GoDuke.com.com or calling the Duke Ticket Office at (919) 681-2583.
Talking about playing in Cameron:
“We just want to play. Of course it is a great privilege and honor to host because we’ve done that before and we hope to do it again. The reality of this time of year is the urgency. We just can’t wait to play. We’ve been in limbo coming off the tournament, giving them time away and even coming back and practicing without an opponent. It is much more exciting to practice with an opponent in mind.”
Talking about the information she has regarding the other teams coming to Durham:
“Not a lot but Hampton I know the best because we’ve played them before. They are very well coached and a very good team, athletic and quick. They play well together and have great success. It will be an excellent game for us to get after and defend. I can already feel the one-on-one stops and the things that are going to be necessary in that game given their quickness and athleticism. We are excited to play and excited to improve upon some items that have been slipping. Our rebounding has slipped even though we have won basketball games, our defense, our shot contesting; there are certain areas that need to be more tenacious. So hopefully we can get that going and really improve in that way.”
Talking about the possibility of going to Norfolk:
“That just brings a smile to my face because of Elizabeth. We have been trying to schedule to bring Elizabeth home and that is not always easy to do. The idea of being able to be in Elizabeth’s home area, that is just icing on the cake. We have to earn it so we have to take care of business and do what we do, but that is quite a motivator.”
Talking about the development of Alexis Jones:
“It is inspiring isn’t it? Alexis is just a sponge really. I am always amazed by how many people are talking to her whether it is her teammates trying to encourage her, myself, my assistants, Chelsea, she has got an ear for everybody and yet she is able to balance that, listen and learn. She is one of the best listeners I’ve ever coached. I think probably in her day as she developed with her dad coaching her, she must have developed that skill which has allowed her to be beyond her years in maturity and skill level.”
Talking about playing in Cameron:
“It is awesome. We love Cameron and we love our fans. It is our home court and we are excited to play there.”
Talking about practices after the tournament:
“We’ve had a lot of hard practices going up and down playing five-on-five against each other and getting back into shape and conditioning and going over some things that we need to work on for ourselves, a lot of defense and a lot of rebounding which is going to be key for us in the tournament.”
Talking about the possibility of traveling home to Norfolk area to play:
“That would be nice. We have to take care of business here first but it would be a great opportunity for us to play at home and then play in front of some home fans.”
Talking about playing the opportunity to play in Cameron:
“That is really exciting. Unfortunately last year we didn’t get to play here but this year to be able to host and have the fans come in again is really nice for us.”
Talking about playing with Alexis Jones:
“I’m really confident in Lex [Alexis]. We have talked on and off the court so I’m really looking forward to playing with her in the tournament and I know she is excited to step up for this.”