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Terps women ready to reignite old rivalry vs. Duke in Sweet 16

When Laurin Mincy and Brene Moseley committed to play basketball at Maryland, among the first words they heard were: "Beat Duke."

When Laurin Mincy and Brene Moseley committed to play basketball at Maryland, among the first words they heard from their future teammates were: "Beat Duke."

These days, Mincy and Moseley are the most seasoned players for the top-seeded Terps (32-2) and especially familiar with the Blue Devils heading into today's grudge match against their most contentious rival in the NCAA tournament's round of 16.

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The rivalry for them has special meaning, in large part because they are the only current Maryland players who have beaten the fourth-seeded Blue Devils (23-10). The fourth-ranked Terps have seven players who are freshmen or sophomores, and in their final season in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013-14, Maryland played Duke just once, losing, 84-63, in Durham, N.C.

Maryland has beaten the Blue Devils just twice in their past 10 meetings, with the most recent victory coming on Feb. 19, 2012, when then-sophomore Alyssa Thomas blocked a shot as time expired to preserve a 63-61 win in front of 15,150 in College Park.

A handful of players on the Terps' roster this season were watching that game from the stands, including junior forward Malina Howard and sophomore guard-forward Shatori Walker-Kimbrough.

"There's a legacy behind it," said Moseley, a redshirt junior. "It's historic. I think when you come to Maryland, that's the game you look forward to. We're in the Big Ten now, so we have new rivalries, but this is an old one that will bring up some new juices. We're out here on the West Coast, so it's going to be a different atmosphere than we normally play in, but I'm excited just to see how the energy is going to be."

Underscoring the level of enmity between the programs was Maryland's 71-56 loss Feb. 11, 2013, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in which Terps coach Brenda Frese was ejected for the first and only time in her career.

With less than four minutes left in regulation and Maryland trailing 59-50, Frese erupted at officials over what she saw as a dangerous play.

Thomas had been dribbling the ball across half court when a Duke defender drifted in front to cut off her angle to the basket. No foul was called, and Frese immediately grew livid.

Frese's initial exchange with officials led to a technical foul, and during an ensuing timeout, referee Denise Brooks issued another technical to the Maryland bench. Frese was escorted off the court, leaving top assistant Tina Langley to coach the rest of the game.

Less than two weeks later, Maryland again was no match for Duke in a 75-59 loss in College Park. The Terps missed 15 of 18 3-point attempts, including all nine in the first half, and Duke got 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting from Elizabeth Williams. The senior center who knows Moseley well from Amateur Athletic Union basketball is the only Blue Devils player from that season still on the team.

"When I got recruited to Maryland, the Maryland-Duke rivalry was so big," Mincy said. "Then to go to the Big Ten and to try to create your own rivalries, it's a little different. I think it's very fitting for me, going into my last season here, that I can have the opportunity to finish off with a win against Duke."

In her last game against the Blue Devils, Mincy had 17 points and five rebounds. The redshirt senior is coming off 27 points, including six of seven 3-point tries, during an 85-70 victory over eighth-seeded Princeton on Monday in the round of 32 at Xfinity Center. The win was Maryland's 26th straight.

The Blue Devils enter the Sweet 16 having won four of their past five games, righting themselves from a three-game slide that produced their first and only losing streak this season. They did struggle in the first round of the NCAA tournament, edging No. 12 seed Albany, 54-52, and lack of depth has been a problem. Duke used just seven players in a second-round victory over Mississippi State, and one of its top reserves, Kendall Cooper, suffered a left leg injury.

The sophomore forward did re-enter the game wearing a brace, but the Blue Devils remain without Lynee Belton and Oderah Chidom because of injuries. They also have been without freshman Sierra Calhoun, who announced in January that she would be transferring after starting all 13 nonconferences games.

"Obviously we have no depth whatsoever," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "We have not all season, so I think it has challenged us just at different junctures. We have had to be really mature about the way we play the game."

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Maryland, meantime, has used 10 players before halftime in many instances. In the Terps' first-round victory over New Mexico State, for example, nine players scored and all 11 on the roster logged minutes.

Mincy was watching on television the only time Maryland and Duke played in the NCAA tournament, in 2005-06. Maryland won, 78-75, to capture the national championship, rallying from a 13-point deficit when then-freshman guard Kristi Toliver sank perhaps the defining shot in program history with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime.

"Both teams have brought out the best of each other," Frese said. "When I got here, we weren't able to compete with Duke, and then four short years later, we beat them in the national championship game.

"They've always been great games. From the minute when I stepped foot on campus, it was a huge rivalry. It's always been there. It's been in our blood."

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