WOMEN

THE BALTIMORE SUN

DURHAM, N.C. - Like Ash- leigh Newman's desperation three-point heave at the end of regulation, the Maryland women's basketball team's bid for an upset of top-ranked Duke fell short.

The No. 20 Terps could not protect a second-half lead against the Blue Devils, and the hosts rode the hot hand of junior forward Monique Currie to forge a 60-57 victory before 6,524 at Cameron Indoor Stadium last night.

Maryland had a chance to tie the score with 3.8 seconds left in the game, but Newman, a freshman guard, lofted a shot from behind the three-point line that never reached the hoop. Sophomore guard Shay Doron, who leads the team with 23 three-pointers, inbounded the ball and never could get open for a pass.

The Terps (13-5 overall and 3-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) lost their second straight game - their first losing skid of the season - and continue to be bedeviled by Duke, which has won the last 10 meetings between the teams. Maryland hasn't defeated the Blue Devils since Feb. 3, 2000.

Still, Doron, who recorded a team-high 16 points and three steals, said she was encouraged by the team's performance after Sunday's 67-55 home loss to North Carolina State.

"I think we can take a lot of positives from this game," Doron said. "We can play with this team. ... We didn't complete our task, but it definitely gives us confidence."

Trailing 25-23 at halftime, the Terps opened the second half with a 12-4 run to take a 35-29 advantage - their biggest lead of the game.

But Duke (19-2, 5-1) never wilted, going on an 11-4 burst that gave the Blue Devils a 40-39 lead.

The key was Currie, a National Player of the Year candidate who scored 18 of her game-high 24 points in the second half and grabbed 13 rebounds.

After Maryland freshman center Crystal Langhorne (14 points and nine rebounds) banked in a layup and converted an ensuing free throw to tie the score at 55 with 49.1 seconds left, Duke set up a play for Currie.

Junior forward Mistie Williams (12 points and nine rebounds) set a screen for Currie, who got the ball about a foot behind the free-throw line. Left alone, Currie calmly sank the jumper to give the Blue Devils a 57-55 lead.

Doron missed a floater along the baseline on the other end, and Terps junior forward Charmaine Carr was forced to foul Currie, who converted both free throws with 21.1 seconds left.

Senior guard Anesia Smith nailed a jumper to draw Maryland to within 59-57 before fouling junior guard Jessica Foley with 6.6 seconds left. She sank one of two free throws, setting up Newman's final attempt.

Terps coach Brenda Frese said a communication breakdown led to Currie's basket, but she also said she was wary about paying too much attention to Currie.

"With Duke, they also have a lot of weapons," Frese said. "Monique is not selfish. If you double down too much off their shooters, you are going to get burnt that way."

Said Currie of the play: "We just ran our play and set a good screen."

NOTES: The win was Duke's 30th consecutive ACC victory at home, tying the ACC record for the longest home winning streak. ... The Blue Devils' streak of 241 straight games with a three-pointer came to an end as Duke went 0-for-9 from behind the arc.

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