by Mike Potter
CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke will carry a nine-game winning streak into its toughest conference home game of the season when Maryland visits today.
Maryland (18-1, 5-1) was the last ACC team to come into Cameron and win, that happening on Feb. 17, 2008 when the Terps won 76-69.
The fans seem to know the potential of the matchup, as 7,228 stroll through the gates.
They aren’t disappointed.
The Blue Devils play probably their best game of the season and the Terps are almost as good, Duke escaping with an 80-72 victory.
It’s nip-and-tuck early on, as there are two ties and 13 lead changes, the last of them a Shay Selby jumper that makes it 27-26 with 7:43 to play in the half.
The Blue Devils take control with a 12-2 run at the beginning of the second half, a short Gray jumper from the right side making it 56-45 with 13:27 to go. Maryland cuts it to three on three occasions, but never has the ball with a chance to tie.
Haley Peters hits a career-high 21 points for Duke, which gets 17 points and 11 assists from Chelsea Gray. Elizabeth Williams adds 16 points, Richa Jackson 11 and Allison Vernerey 10.
Alyssa Thomas scores 26 points and 10 rebounds for Maryland, while Tianna Hawkins adds 17 and Lynetta Kizer 12.
Duke shoots 50.0 percent from the floor to 45.5 for the Terps, winning the rebound battle 41-30 and committing a season-low nine turnovers to just 10 for Maryland. Neither team misses a free throw attempt, Duke going 7-for-7 and the Terps 8-for-8.
They said it …
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie: “That was a great women’s basketball game and it was great to have that in Cameron. The crowd was incredible. Maryland’s a great team, and we found ways to make differences and make key plays at critical times. You could just see (Peters) competing out there. Obviously great efficiency with her shooting, picking up rebounds and playing the ‘four’ and the ‘three.’ She was really into it and really focused on both sides of the ball.”
Maryland coach Brenda Frese: “I thought it was a really hard-fought game. I’m proud of our kids and the way they came in here and competed, but obviously it comes down to defense and rebounding to win games and we weren’t very good in either area today.”
Peters: “I was just looking to be aggressive and attack. They doubled down on (Williams) — that’s happened a couple of times this year — so I was just looking to just talk to her and hit those jump shots at the high post. I just wanted to do what I can do on the court, use the skills I have and not think about it so much. ‘E’ gets a ton of respect, and in their zone they were sagging off the high post. I was knocking my shots down today.”
Gray: “Coach gives me a lot of confidence to play-call, whether it’s running the floor or just directing everyone where to be. Throughout the game it just depends on what opens up. I try to make the same play calls that she would make in different sets.”
What does it all mean?
That Duke is solidifying its spot atop the ACC and in the nation’s top five, and Maryland is just as good as advertised.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Gray’s 3-pointer to make it 74-68 with 2:56 to go.
Duke: Won 10.
Maryland: Lost 1.
Maryland vs. Virginia Tech, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Duke at Clemson, Friday, 8:30 p.m.