DURHAM, N.C. — The struggles on the home court of its most heated rival continued for the eighth-ranked Maryland women's basketball team, which fell behind by double figures midway through the second half and was unable to catch No. 7 Duke on the way to an 84-63 loss Monday night.
The Terps (20-5, 8-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) stumbled for a sixth straight time at Cameron Indoor Stadium and had a four-game winning streak end amid balky 3-point shooting and a slew of missed chances near the rim. During one stretch early in the second half, for instance, Maryland — which fell to 1-4 against ranked opponents with the loss — missed four layups.
In the final regular-season meeting between the longtime ACC foes before Maryland departs for the Big Ten next year, the Terps shot 32 percent, missed 16 of 21 from 3-point range and never recovered after Duke scored 11 in a row for a 16-point lead with 8 minutes, 18 seconds to play.
"I was disappointed in the easy plays we could have made for ourselves," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "Again, I think sometimes you can make a game bigger than what it is, and that's an area we definitely can improve in."
Alyssa Thomas led Maryland with 14 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to flirt with the sixth tripledouble of her career and third this season. The senior forward threw a scare into the Maryland bench with 4:32 left in regulation when she landed awkwardly and remained on the court clutching her left knee.
Thomas limped off and sat in a chair to be examined before jogging into the locker room. Less than a minute later, she came running out of the tunnel and re-entered for the final four minutes of a game that ended with Duke supporters predictably chanting, "A-C-C, A-C-C, A-C-C."
"We've had a lot of battles with them, home and away," Thomas said of her final game at Cameron. "It's always fun to play against them because you know it's going to be a great game. Definitely going to miss seeing Maryland and Duke play, but I'm sure they'll meet up again."
Sophomore guard Alexis Jones scored a game-high 22 points for Duke (23-8, 10-2), which ended a two-game home slide, its first such losing streak in 20 years. Richa Jackson had 19 points, and Elizabeth Williams chipped in 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds in helping the Blue Devils shoot 53 percent.
Duke also outrebounded Maryland, 44-37, shot 8-for-13 from 3-point range and owned a 38-26 advantage in points in the paint.
"Just really proud of our team and the defensive effort," Blue Devils coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "Great 40-minute effort for us, defensively and in all areas. I thought that was fantastic."
Trailing by seven at halftime, Maryland came out of the break by scoring eight of the first 10 points, including a three-point play from senior center Alicia DeVaughn (10 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, three steals) and a 3-pointer from senior guard Katie Rutan. The Blue Devils countered with Jackson's layup, a 3-pointer by Haley Peters and Jackson's jumper from just inside the arc for a 49-39 buffer.
But Maryland climbed right back when freshman forward Shatori Walker-Kimbrough made a jumper with the shot clock expiring before Thomas split a double team for a layup while getting fouled. She made the bonus free throw, and Maryland had trimmed the deficit in half in a matter of seconds.
Duke pulled away shortly thereafter courtesy of three straight 3-pointers, including two in a row by Jones, and a pair of foul shots from Tricia Liston that made it 64-48. The Terps failed to whittle the margin below 11 for the rest of the game.
"I think for us, first and foremost, we've got to be better on the road," said Frese, whose team fell to 3-3 in the ACC away from Comcast Center. "That's an element for us that's inconsistent. At times we're really good, and then at other times those elements impact us, but for us it's continue to grow as a team."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun