Duke stays unbeaten in 12 first-round games

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- With starter Jessica Foley sidelined by a sore foot, Duke was forced to play a bigger lineup against Canisius.

It ended up making things worse for the first-time NCAA Tournament team.

Mistie Williams had 21 points and nine rebounds and the Blue Devils overwhelmed the undersized Golden Griffins inside for an 80-48 win in the first round Sunday.

Monique Currie added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils (29-4), seeded second in the Chattanooga Regional. Duke stayed unbeaten in 12 first-round games and advanced to face Boston College on Tuesday.

The Blue Devils, who are making their 11th straight NCAA appearance, are trying to return to the Final Four for the third time in four seasons.

"This is a new season for us," Williams said. "We were ready to jump out of the gates and get this tournament started."

Duke had little trouble in this one, shooting 54 percent and taking a 53-30 rebounding advantage against the 15th-seeded Golden Griffins (21-10). Duke also blocked 10 shots and had 17 offensive rebounds, matching Canisius' defensive rebound total.

Canisius shot just 25 percent for the game.

With the 6-foot Foley out with tendinitis in her left foot, Duke started 6-2 forward Wynter Whitley. That gave the Blue Devils a front line of Whitley, the 6-3 Williams and the 6-7 Alison Bales against a team with no player taller than 6-3.

Williams went 8-for-9 from the floor, while Whitley scored 12 points in 31 minutes -- both season highs. Bales, who had felt ill Saturday, finished with eight points, six assists and six steals.

Throw in 6-5 freshman Chante Black's 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Canisius had no way to match up.

"They're bigger than our men's team," Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. "They're clearly as big as we've seen. It's difficult (to prepare for) because it's so hard to simulate."

Coming into the season, Duke had won five straight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles and had been a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs the last four seasons --streaks that ended after three losses to rival North Carolina.

This year's Blue Devils don't have the same athleticism and depth as their predecessors, led by the duo of Alana Beard and Iciss Tillis. Duke, with just eight players, has been hobbled by nagging injuries for the past month.

Foley, who averages 11 points a game, wore a protective boot on the sideline and was able to rest the injury with the game in hand. In addition, Currie has played the last month with a stress fracture in her left foot.

Foley's health could be key for Duke's hopes of advancing out of Chapel Hill.

"I'm a little concerned," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors. "Our team's going to have to play smart. We can't afford to get in foul trouble."

Not that any of it mattered against the Golden Griffins. Duke repeatedly forced the ball inside to Williams, Bales and Black, hitting 14-of-20 shots to take a 33-12 lead on a layup from Williams.

By that point, Duke had scored 22 points in the paint. Canisius didn't get a bucket inside until a stickback from Karly Chesko with 4:47 left in the half.

The Golden Griffins got as close as 41-30 on consecutive 3-pointers from Becky Zak and Cheri Wittlieb early in the second half, but Duke responded with nine straight points to push the lead to 20.

Zak scored nine points to lead the Golden Griffins.