1:00 PM ET, January 8, 2006
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- The bench is deep, the defense is sound and several players can score.Coach Gail Goestenkors believes this might be her best team at Duke, and no one on No. 6 Maryland could dispute that assertion Sunday.Lindsey Harding and Chante Black each scored 19 points, and the second-ranked Blue Devils remained unbeaten by cruising to an 86-68 victory.Duke (14-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) built a 17-point halftime lead in its 13th straight win over the Terrapins. Monique Currie scored 18 for the Blue Devils, off to the second-best start in school history.Goestenkors has won five ACC titles and been to the Final Four in three of the last seven years, but she can't remember having a roster with so much skill from top to bottom."This could be our best team ever," she said. "We've had talent before, but now we have more experienced talent, and we've certainly got more depth than we've ever had before."Alison Bales, Duke's leading rebounder, picked up her third foul with just more than eight minutes elapsed. The 6-foot-7 center did not return until the second half and finished with seven points and four rebounds in 14 minutes.It didn't matter, because the Blue Devils still outrebounded Maryland 27-26. In a matchup between the two highest-scoring teams in NCAA women's basketball, the difference was Duke's defense.Maryland's leading rebounder, center Crystal Langhorne, didn't grab one errant shot off the boards. The Blue Devils forced 24 turnovers, including 14 in the decisive first half."We played tremendous defense and they still shot 50 percent, but I think the turnovers were huge for us," Goestenkors said. "We got our hands on a lot of their passes, and that was the difference for us. We needed those extra possessions."Maryland (14-2, 1-1) never got closer than nine points in the second half. It was 68-58 before Duke used a 10-0 run to erase any doubt.Kristi Toliver and Shay Doron had 12 points apiece for the Terrapins, who fell well below their season average of 87.5 points. Maryland had won 10 straight since its only other loss, 80-75 against top-ranked Tennessee in November."Duke has a tremendous amount of depth. They can defend and score well, and they just play a complete game," Terrapins coach Brenda Frese said. "This was a credit to their defense."The game drew 16,097 fans, the second-largest crowd to watch an ACC women's game behind the 17,243 at last year's Duke-Maryland matchup. The Terrapins have hosted the four biggest crowds in conference history, three of them against Duke.The Blue Devils played the spoiler's role in a 60-49 win last February, and this game was no different. The nation's top-scoring team went 19-for-31 in the first half and never trailed after an 8-0 run made it 18-11.Harding was 6-for-6 from the floor before halftime and Black made all five of her field-goal attempts."We still have some areas of our game to improve upon, but each game helps us prepare for the next," Black said. "This game definitely boosted my confidence for the next game."Even though Bales played only three minutes in the first half, the Blue Devils led 48-31 at the break. Maryland made its first five shots, then went 6-for-19 in falling behind by double digits for only the second time this season."Our goal is to win a championship, and losing a game or two isn't going to stop us from achieving that goal," Doron said. "We can learn from a game like this."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||33-58 (.569)||24-49 (.490)|
|3P Made-Attempted||6-13 (.462)||8-13 (.615)|
|FT Made-Attempted||14-16 (.875)||12-19 (.632)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (0/0)||14 (0/0)|