8:30 PM ET, December 2, 2010
MADISON, Wis. -- Despite a sluggish performance, Duke had something to feel good about Thursday night: The Blue Devils showed they can win ugly.Jasmine Thomas had 14 points and seven rebounds and No. 5 Duke overcame poor shooting to hold off Wisconsin 59-51, giving the Atlantic Coast Conference a 6-5 victory in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.In the finale of a four-game road trip, the Blue Devils (8-0) shot only 33 percent (20-of-60) from the field. But the Badgers (2-6) were sloppy with the ball and couldn't capitalize on several opportunities due to 21 turnovers."This was a find-a-way kind of game for us relative to all the travel and the things we've been doing lately," Duke coach Joanne McCallie said.On paper, this one should have been another blowout for Duke, considering the Blue Devils have been winning by more than 20 points per game and Wisconsin came in on a five-game losing streak.But the Blue Devils had to grind it out."It's not like we were taking shots that we preferred to take. We took a lot of off-balance shots. We took a lot of contested shots," Thomas said. "In return, we didn't shoot well."It didn't help Duke that Thomas was whistled for her second and third fouls early in the second half, prompting McCallie to pull her leading scorer. Even after Thomas came back into the game after four minutes on the bench, the Blue Devils couldn't shake Wisconsin.Taylor Wurtz's 3-pointer pulled the Badgers to 41-38 with less than eight minutes to go. Duke finally created some breathing room with an 11-3 run, sparked in part by a full-court press and swarming defense that either forced Wisconsin to turn the ball over or left the Badgers with little time to run their offense.The Badgers cut the deficit to five in the final minutes but couldn't get any closer.The Blue Devils beat the Badgers on the boards, 45-30, including 20 offensive rebounds that they turned into 11 second-chance points.Still, Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said the game could be a turning point for her team. For one thing, everyone is back healthy.Forward Lin Zastrow returned after missing the previous three games with a knee injury. She was averaging 10 points and six rebounds before getting hurt and finished Thursday's game with seven points and six boards.Wurtz led Wisconsin with 19 points.Stone noted before the game that Wisconsin's lineup had a total of nine minutes together as a healthy unit. She also said it was a step in the right direction that the Badgers weren't intimidated by the fifth-ranked team in the country."It's another loss. But this team turned the page today," Stone said. "We played much differently. We were very energetic. We were not intimidated. We played very good defense. We just didn't box out."
|FG Made-Attempted||20-60 (.333)||18-45 (.400)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-16 (.250)||7-20 (.350)|
|FT Made-Attempted||15-24 (.625)||8-14 (.571)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (0/0)||19 (0/0)|