Women's Basketball
    Women Of Troy Fall In NCAA Second Round
    Duke forward Monique Currie (25) looks for help as she is guarded by USC's Meghan Gnekow (5). (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
    Duke forward Monique Currie (25) looks for help as she is guarded by USC's Meghan Gnekow (5). (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

    March 21, 2006

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    NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Alison Bales scored a career-high 22 points and blocked six shots and the top-seeded Blue Devils took command early against USC, on their way to a 85-51 victory in the second round of the women's NCAA tournament.

    Monique Currie added 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists for Duke, and fellow senior Mistie Williams had nine points and eight rebounds. Both rested plenty.

    Eshaya Murphy led USC with 16 points and Chloe Kerr had 13. The Women of Troy shot just 30 percent and missed 17 of their 20 3-point attempts.

    The Blue Devils, who held Southern to a record-low for points in a 96-27 opening round blowout that coach Gail Goestenkors said was needed to repair her team's fleeting confidence, will take on Michigan State in the Bridgeport Regional semifinals Sunday.

    Duke (28-3) lost two of its last three before the NCAA tournament began, but has been able to use the first two rounds to get the entire roster ample playing time.

    The Women of Troy (19-12), with four players sidelined by injuries and coming off a difficult 67-65 first-round win against South Florida, only hung with the Blue Devils for a short time before Duke's size, depth and athleticism became overwhelming.

    With the score tied at 4, the Blue Devils went on a 15-0 run. Abby Waner hit two 3-pointers in the burst, and USC never recovered. The Women of Troy never got the lead to single digits again, and trailed by 20 or more most of the second half.

    Bales was 8-for-9 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds. Her last field goal came from about 18 feet out, not a shot the 6-foot-7 center would normally take, but when it swished, she flashed a wide grin at Goestenkors, who broke up laughing.

    Duke, which worked on rebounding in the two weeks leading up to the tournament, outrebounded Southern Cal 59-28 and has won the glass in its two games, 119-56.