Season of Dreams Comes to an End for Duke Women
Posted March 28, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
DURHAM — Dreams of a national championship for the Duke University women's basketball team have come to an end.
The spectacular journey, which led the Duke women to San Jose, ended on a disappointing note Sunday night when they lost the championship title to Purdue.
"I feel very badly for the players because they've worked so hard and we've come so far," says Duke coach Gail Goestenkors. "This is certainly not the way we envisioned the end of the season."
"The game just wasn't going well, and we lost some confidence because nothing was running smoothly for us," says Duke point guard Hillary Howard.
Duke fans, who enthusiastically supported the team during the tournament, also were upset by the loss. But despite the outcome, fans say the Duke women should be proud of themselves for making it to the championship game for the first time in NCAA history.
"I've been watching them for the past few years, and they've improved steadily," one fan said. "It's just awesome that they made it to the finals. I was really proud of them."
Coach Goestenkors said this team has set a new standard.
"They've had a wonderful journey, and now they've set a new standard for Duke women's basketball," she said. "So, we've raised the bar."
Goestenkors says raising the bar means making sure her team goes to every Final Four - a hoop dream that no one thought was possible a few years ago.