COLLEGE PARK -- After two weeks of doing a lot of things wrong, the Maryland women's basketball team did enough things right to stun No. 14 Duke, 63-52, last night at Cole Field House.
After taking a 29-point loss flush on the chin Saturday at Georgia Tech, Maryland looked to be in for a long night against the Blue Devils, who started the night half a game out of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
But the Terps (9-11 overall, 3-7 ACC) put together their best overall effort of the year in ending a five-game losing streak.
"We needed a win and we got it," said Maryland coach Chris Weller. "It's an example of us playing hard to be winners. That's what this year is all about: playing to be winners."
In knocking off Duke (18-5, 7-4), the Terps beat a ranked opponent for the first time since topping 17th-ranked Rutgers on Feb. 8, 1994, a span of 20 games.
"It feels great, especially after Saturday," said sophomore guard Sonia Chase (McDonogh). "Everybody was there [last night], the whole team. It felt really good to put forth our best effort."
Even so, this one didn't come easily. The Terps streaked to a 20-8 first-half lead, had a 17-point halftime advantage and led by 23 with 17:39 to go.
However, after Chase -- who joined guard Lillian Purvis with a game-high 17 points, hit a running hook with 12:01 left to give Maryland a 47-28 lead, the Terps went scoreless for 7 1/2 minutes.
But the Terps' defense, spearheaded by freshman Kelley Gibson, who had six steals, was able to keep Duke at bay until the Blue Devils put the Terps on the foul line; Maryland made 12 of its final 15 free throws for the win.
"They [Maryland] worked their tails off," said Duke coach Gail Goestenkors. "They looked like they wanted to win much more than we did. Every time we would start to get a run, they did a great job of getting into our passing lanes. They had a superior team effort."
That effort was led by Chase, who had tailed off since scoring 17 points against Florida State three weeks ago. Last night, Chase had her best overall floor game of the year, going 6-for-12 from the field and forcing Duke point guard Kira Orr into making six turnovers.
"She [Chase] played a complete basketball game," said Goestenkors. "She plays with a lot of heart and the team feeds off that."
The Blue Devils were undermanned because of injuries but, said Weller, "It doesn't matter to us. We know we played well."