by Mike Potter
Maryland (20-4, 8-3), ranked No. 8, makes its final visit to Duke (22-3, 9-2), ranked No. 7, as a member of the ACC before moving to the Big Ten next season.
It’s the Terps’ third visit to the Triangle this season and nobody will return the visit.
The Blue Devils, meanwhile, are coming off a nightmarish 89-78 home-court loss to UNC seven days earlier.
This time Duke gets an easy win, dominating the second half and rolling the Terps 84-63.
There are two ties and eight lead changes in the first half, which ends with Duke up 38-31.
Alexis Jones leads Duke, which shoots 51.5 percent over the period to the visitors’ 32.4, with 10 points at the break while Lexie Brown leads the Terps with 11.
Maryland cuts it to 49-44 on Thomas’ three-point play with 12:45 to go. But Duke hit three unanswered 3-pointers in a row, one from Tricia Liston and two from Jones, to make it 62-47 with 8:45 to go to salt away the result.
The fans start the “ACC! ACC!” chant in the penultimate minute followed by “Not Our Rival!” in the closing seconds.
Jones finishes with 22 points to tie her season high, while Richa Jackson has a season-high 19 points. Elizabeth Williams adds 17 points and 11 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season and Liston chips in 12.
Alyssa Thomas leads Maryland with 14 points and 12 rebounds, followed by Brown with 13 and Alicia DeVaughn 10.
Duke shoots 52.6 percent to Maryland’s 32.4 and wins the rebound battle 44-37.
They said it …
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie: “For us, (the break) was great. It’s been pretty brutal from the beginning. It was important. I think (the UNC loss) was painful. When you don’t do something you want to do and then you have a week to think about it, sometimes it’s nicer if you have a game coming right up. So we had to kind of suffer and handle the comments and handle how we felt about things. I think that’s made us stronger.”
Maryland coach Brenda Frese: “Tough night at the office obviously when you shoot the percentages we did tonight. Obviously we struggled. I thought Duke’s experience was fantastic. They showed a lot of character bouncing back. … It’s a tough atmosphere, and they made us pay for it.”
Jones: “We were really aggressive on the defensive end. We caught mistakes and had people jumping and flying for ball fakes. We were all aggressive. We were helping each other out a lot when we needed help, and I think that made us focus a lot more on our defensive end.”
Williams: “We worked hard in practice this week. We had a couple of days off, but also a couple of days to really go after it. I think one of the biggest things for us is to have fun and enjoy what we’re doing. I think when we play hard on defense we’ve always been a solid defensive team.”
What does it all mean?
That Duke got the tough loss to UNC a week earlier out of its system. And that the Terps are going to have to fight to get into the ACC’s Top Four and earn a “double bye” in the tournament.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Oderah Chidom’s three-point play with 7:03 to go to put Duke up 67-52.
Duke: Won 1.
Maryland: Lost 1.
Duke leads 41-39.
Duke vs. N.C. State, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Maryland vs. Florida State, Thursday, 8:30 p.m.