7:00 PM ET, February 13, 2006
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Monique Currie found very little motivation from her previous game. Helping Duke move into a first-place tie in the Atlantic Coast Conference? That's something different."I knew I needed to come out and be prepared for this game," Currie said. "I knew I needed to be more aggressive and make better decisions and try to be under control. I was really focused on doing that."Whatever she did worked.Currie scored a career-high 31 points a game after finishing with only two, Mistie Williams added 14 points and 10 rebounds and the Blue Devils (No. 2 ESPN/USA Today; No. 1 AP) pulled away to beat Maryland (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today; No. 4 AP) 90-80 Monday night.Against Virginia last week, Currie was 1-for-9 from the field with five turnovers and had only two points, her lowest output of a stellar career. She bounced back to help Duke (23-1, 10-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) move into a tie with North Carolina atop the conference."I was over it when the game ended," Currie said. "I try not to dwell on things that happen. It was a bad game. It was unacceptable to me, but I just have to keep moving."Wanisha Smith and Jessica Foley had 12 points each as the Blue Devils won their 14th in a row in the series and denied the Terrapins a rare Tobacco Road double. On Thursday night, the Terps handed the Tar Heels their first loss of the season, thanks to a fluke shot at the end of regulation to force overtime.This time, there were no such dramatics for Maryland (22-3, 9-2)."We are going to keep competing and we keep getting that margin down," Terrapins coach Brenda Frese said. "Duke is so talented and so deep."The last of nine ties came at 59 when Marissa Coleman swished a jumper with 6:45 remaining, and Foley pushed the Blue Devils ahead for good with a 3-pointer. The margin still was only two about 3 minutes later before Duke took over.Foley, known more as a stationary shooter, surprisingly drove for another basket to start an 11-0 run, with Currie adding five of the points. That made it 82-69 with about a minute left, and the Terrapins were finally done."I think sometimes, when we hit our buckets and get some stops defensively, all of the sudden you look up and you're up by 10," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "We can be kind of methodical. When something's working for us, we keep going to it."Coleman had 20 points and teammate Kristi Toliver added a season-high 19 for Maryland. Second-leading scorer Shay Doron managed only nine points, shooting 2-for-12 from the field."This is just going to help us," Frese said. "Our kids our disappointed. They believed they could come in here and win this game."The Blue Devils played the final 13½ minutes without point guard Lindsey Harding, who left with a shoulder contusion after she and Doron dove to the floor for a loose ball. Harding spent some time in the locker room before returning to the bench to watch Duke dominate down the stretch.Watching her give up her body as she did inspired her teammates."I think it actually got us going a little bit," Currie said. "We knew that everybody had to do a little more."Harding left with the Blue Devils ahead 48-46. Smith, a sophomore who spent her entire first year at point, moved back over to run the offense and defense, and she finished with three assists against only one turnover. Williams was a big help in the paint, with eight of her rebounds coming on the offensive end."We had to come out in the second half and want it more," she said. "Just be a little more aggressive and want it more, and that's pretty much the key to it."It hardly appeared this would be the outcome during the first half, when the Terrapins moved ahead by 10 points -- Duke's largest deficit of the season. They eventually settled for a 41-33 lead at the break, and the margin still was eight before the Blue Devils rallied."At that point, I felt that Maryland was shooting lights out," Goestenkors said. "They were playing great basketball. So I felt like -- I was hoping -- they wouldn't be able to shoot that way for the entire game. We just needed to crank our defense up a notch."Currie worked inside to tie it 46-46, and Williams converted two free throws to put them ahead. Maryland stormed back to take its final lead on Doron's only 3 of the game, and Coleman had that basket to tie it for the last time.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||30-64 (.469)||33-71 (.465)|
|3P Made-Attempted||7-17 (.412)||3-16 (.188)|
|FT Made-Attempted||13-16 (.813)||21-28 (.750)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||23 (0/0)||13 (0/0)|