The Duke women’s basketball team watched as their 24 point second half lead dwindled to four with 4:08 to go, but seniors Richa Jackson and Haley Peters stepped up to lead the Blue Devils over visiting rival #14 NC State, 83-70. The victory gives them a two game cushion in second place of the ACC.
With 3:51 to go, Duke ended their scoring drought on a made jumper and ensuing free throw by Jackson (they had not scored since the 8:13 mark). After another NC State made three pointer (they made six after being down 17), Peters scored five straight points before Jackson made two straight free throws.
Then the two teams traded two point scores twice: NC State a layup and Tricia Liston free throws, before Jackson sealed it with two more free throws. The usually horrible free throw shooter made all five from the charity stripe and all of them came in the game’s final four minutes.
It was all Duke in the first half, as their defense held the Wolfpack to just 27.8% shooting. Elizabeth Williams did a great job of denying Markeisha Gatling the basketball (she only made 2-of-5 shots in the first half), while also blocking three shots. Even the bench got in on the action, as all nine players who got into the game scored. Amber Henson, who had not played the last two games, hit both of her shots for five points. Ka’lia Johnson played great defense and even chipped in four points.
Alexis Jones led the way in the first half, as she scored all 12 of her points in the opening half. That included a three pointer at the buzzer to give the Blue Devils the 40-27 halftime lead. She finished the game with five rebounds, seven assists, and four steals.
Peters delivered a double-double: 13 points and ten rebounds. Liston scored a team-high 24 points and hauled in seven rebounds. Williams fell one point shy of a double-double: nine points and ten rebounds. Jackson scored ten points.
Kody Burke led all scorers with 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting. She was a huge reason why the Wolfpack made the comeback. Gatling still scored 16 points and hauled in eight rebounds. The ACC’s leading three point shooter, Myisha Goodwin-Coleman,left late in the second half with an apparent knee injury. She scored eight points. Miah Spencer chipped in 13 points, five rebounds, and four assists, but committed seven turnovers.
Next up for Duke is a trip out to South Bend, Indiana to face number two and undefeated Notre Dame on Sunday afternoon at 1pm ET on ESPN2. In case you were wondering what the Irish have left: Duke, North Carolina, and NC State. Welcome to the ACC newbies!
*With the Wolfpack in town, it was another Play4Kay game. NC State wore all pink sneakers and Duke wore a combination of the all pink sneakers or the KD ones from Monday night.
**Earlier in the day, Peters was named an Academic All-American.