COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Before leading her team against fifth-ranked Duke, Maryland coach Brenda Frese was honored for earning her 300th career victory earlier in the week.
No. 301 was far sweeter.
“It’s a no-brainer. There’s nothing better than beating Duke,” Frese declared Sunday, minutes after the No. 8 Terrapins pinned a 63-61 defeat on the Blue Devils before an appreciative crowd of 15,150.
Tianna Hawkins scored 19 points, including the tie-breaking basket with 14 seconds left to help Maryland end Duke’s bid to go unbeaten in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Laurin Mincy had 17 points for the Terrapins (23-5, 10-4), who trailed by 12 points early and by seven with just over 12 minutes remaining.
“I told the team in the locker room, this one was special for a lot of different reasons,” Frese said. “First and foremost was, to have a game of this magnitude and the adversity we faced in the first half, to be able to see the heart and the character we played with throughout a very difficult game. Really proud.”
Lynetta Kizer had 12 points and nine rebounds, and Allysa Thomas grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked a last-second shot by Haley Peters to secure the victory.
Elizabeth Williams scored 19 points and Chelsea Gray had 16 for Duke (22-4, 13-1). The Blue Devils forced 19 turnovers but were outrebounded 46-39 and also yielded 23 on the offensive end.
“Absolutely, the difference in the game,” coach Joanne McCallie said. “Not only the rebounding differential, but the offensive rebounding. No excuse for that.”
After a three-point play by Hawkins gave Maryland a 61-59 lead with 43.6 seconds left, Gray tied it with a driving layup. Hawkins then followed a miss by Thomas with a putback, setting the stage for Duke’s final possession.
The Blue Devils worked the ball to Peters in the left corner, but Thomas ran over and swatted the potential 3-point shot out of bounds as time expired.
McCallie wanted Gray to take it down the middle, but the lane was clogged, leaving Duke with no choice but to kick the ball outside.
“You have to credit Maryland’s defense there,” McCallie said.
Duke played its first game without sophomore guard Richa Jackson, who tore a ligament in her left knee on Wednesday and is lost for the season. The depleted Blue Devils got points from only four players in the first half and had just two finish in double figures.
Gray picked up her third foul with 18:49 left and promptly took a seat on the bench with Duke up 30-28. Maryland temporarily forged into the lead, but two straight baskets by Williams put Duke back in front. Soon after Gray returned, a three-point play by teammate Tricia Liston and a follow-shot by Williams made it 45-38 with just under 13 minutes to go.
Thomas then made two free throws and added a 3-pointer to begin a 15-5 spurt that put the Terrapins ahead 53-50 with 5:21 remaining. After Duke cut it to 55-54, Mincy popped a 3-pointer from the right corner before three straight foul shots by Williams got the Blue Devils within a point around the two-minute mark.
Allison Vernerey then hit a jumper to put Duke up 59-58 with 1:48 left, but that would be the Blue Devils’ final lead.
Maryland trailed 29-28 at halftime despite getting off to a miserable start, committing 14 turnovers and getting one point from Thomas, who missed all six of her shots from the floor.
Duke wasted no time in quieting the spirited crowd, using 6-for-9 shooting and seven points by Gray to grab a 13-4 lead. Maryland was guilty of nine turnovers in the opening 10 minutes and made only two baskets, both by Hawkins.
Gray’s second 3-pointer gave her twice Maryland’s total in points (10-5) and upped the Blue Devils’ lead to 12. At that point, Duke had six steals and an 11-4 advantage on the boards.
It was 19-9 before Mincy connected from long range to ignite a 15-5 run that brought the Terrapins even at 24. Six of those points came at the foul line.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)