The #5 Duke Blue Devils (22-4, 13-1) couldn’t get the final shot off and lost 63-61 to the #8 Maryland Terrapins (23-4, 10-4) at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md. on Sunday.
Haley Peters got the ball with a second remaining in regulation but her attempt to win the game for the Blue Devils was blocked by Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas as the final buzzer sounded.
Elizabeth Williams finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks while Chelsea Gray added 16 points and three rebounds in the losing effort, the team’s first loss in ACC play this season.
Rebounding ends streak
Playing without forward Richa Jackson, who suffered a season-ending knee (torn anterior cruciate ligament) injury during the team’s previous game against Virginia Tech, the Blue Devils were affected by her absence under the basket in picking up rebounds.
Coach Joanne P. McCallie indicated that her team’s poor rebounding performance played a significant role in suffering its first loss in 16 ACC games and the second straight at Maryland.
“Absolutely – it was the difference in this game,” McCallie said.
The Terps managed to out-rebound the Blue Devils 45-36 and particularly off the offensive glass to create much needed offense in order to stay close to the Blue Devils, and to eventually beat them.
After starting with a 17-5 run and controlling much of the first half of play riding on the momentum generated by Gray who scored 14 points during the half, Maryland slowly came back and trailed by only a point, 29-28, as both teams headed to the locker room.
In addition to stepping up their rebounding efforts, Maryland found a way to contain Gray during the second half and kept Duke’s other guard, Shay Selby (0-7), scoreless throughout the game.
Though the Blue Devils maintained the lead by as many as seven points with 13 minutes to play during the second half, the Terps would not give up and erased the deficit to tie the game, 50-50, with six minutes remaining.
Peters scored a big basket to give Duke a 59-58 lead at the 1:48 mark, but a key offensive rebound and put back by Maryland’s Tianna Hakwkins resulted in a three-point play opportunity as she was fouled while scoring.
Hawkins subsequently scored on her free throw and Maryland led 61-59 with 43 seconds remaining.
As the clock counted down, Gray managed to score her only points of the half as she tied the score 61-61 with 21 seconds left to play.
Once again it was Hawkins who got her own rebound off a missed attempt and put the Terps ahead 63-61.
Coming out of a called timeout and with 14 seconds on the clock, Duke set up the play and got the ball in Peters’ hands, but as she released the shot Thomas’ lunge in the air with arms extended intercepted it to end the game.
After a hard fought battle, Duke’s Williams said it succinctly by stating afterwards, “we just didn’t do the things we needed to do (to win).”
The Blue Devils return home to host the #6 Miami Hurricanes, their final home game of the season, on Friday night.
The Raleigh Sports Examiner on Facebook
Follow the Raleigh Sports Examiner on Twitter @pksport
The Raleigh Sports Examiner – Sports with a Local Twist
Raleigh Sport Examiner – You Tube channel
Carolina Hurricanes Examiner page
Get news from the Raleigh Sports Examiner daily: Just click the Subscribe button