#2 Devils Drop Clemson

Alana Beard's 26 points paced the second rated Devils to a 51st straight conference win.

Duke's Alana Beard doesn't even realize how dominant she and her Blue Devils teammates are in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The senior scored 26 points as No. 2 Duke won its 51st straight conference game with a 78-60 win against Clemson on Monday night.

But it wasn't until she was asked about the streak that Beard realized the Blue Devils (17-2, 8-0 ACC) haven't lost in the league since falling 69-55 to North Carolina State in February 2001 - Beard's freshman year.

"Any player would be proud of it," Beard said. But "we still have so many more things to accomplish."

Duke, which has lost in the Final Four the last two seasons, is focusing more on national goals than its conference streak.

"It's not something we're holding on to or grasping on to," coach Gail Goestenkors said.

The Blue Devils have won 23 off their past 24 ACC games by double-figures and have beaten Clemson six straight times. The 51-game ACC winning streak is the longest current conference winning streak in the country, but nowhere near the record of 183 straight wins set by Texas in the old Southwestern Conference back in the 1980s.

"It starts with recruiting," said Clemson coach Jim Davis, who is in his 17th season at Clemson. "They have a team full of All-Americans - high-school All-Americans."

The Lady Tigers (15-5, 5-4) held the Blue Devils in check early. But foul trouble caught up with them, and Beard got hot.

"We didn't make her work hard to get the ball," Davis said. "And when she got it, she was phenomenal."

Beard's 26 points - one off her season high - gives her 2,385 points in her career, moving her past Genia Beasley of North Carolina State for second place on the all-time ACC list. She trails Clemson's Barbara Kennedy by more than 700 points for first.

Lakeia Stokes led Clemson with 18 points despite sitting out a good part of the second half with foul trouble. Khaili Sanders added 15 points and six rebounds for the Lady Tigers.

Duke's Monique Curry had 13 points and seven rebounds and Brittany Hunter added 11 points for the Blue Devils.

Clemson fell behind by 16 points in the first half, but cut the deficit to 39-33 on Julie Aderhold's 3-pointer with 17:44 left in the game.

The Blue Devils answered with 15 straight points to take a 54-33 lead with 11:30 remaining, and the Lady Tigers got no closer than 16 the rest of the way.

"Good teams go on runs," Beard said. "But better teams counter it."

Duke scored nine straight points to take a 27-14 lead with five minutes to go in the first half. Clemson answered with six straight points and got the Littlejohn Coliseum crowd back into it, but Beard quickly ended the rally with a tough jumper as the Blue Devils scored the next nine points to take a 36-20 lead.

The game was very physical. At least four players left for a time with injuries, including Duke's leading rebounder, Iciss Tillis, who was hit in the head and sustained a concussion and a cut lip. She never returned.

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