DURHAM, N.C. -- Top-ranked Maryland played up to its billing last night, whipping Duke, 80-54, before 1,236 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Much quicker and more physical, the Terrapins jumped to an 8-0 lead, then opened the second half with a 21-4 run. They outshot, out-rebounded and thoroughly dominated the Blue Devils en route to their seventh straight win.
"I thought this was one of our better efforts in the last week," said Maryland coach Chris Weller, whose team improved to 16-1 and 6-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. "Defensively, we were more intense. We went after it a little more on defense, which is what we were after."
Juniors Malissa Boles and Jessie Hicks led the Maryland onslaught with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Hicks also had a game-high 11 rebounds.
Dafne Lee added 12 points and Katrina Colleton and Estelle Christy scored 10 points apiece, helping Maryland hand Duke (11-6, 3-4) its fourth loss in the past five games.
"This is Maryland's best team ever," said Debbie Leonard, in her 14th season as Duke's coach, "because of their depth. They're so deep and so athletic. Pure and simple, we were outplayed by a much better team. We deserved what we got."
Maryland made its first five shots. The Blue Devils were overwhelmed with fast breaks, offensive put-backs and bumps and bruises from pressure man-to-man defense for long stretches in both halves.
The Terrapins took a 24-10 lead before the Blue Devils went on a 6-0 run to pull within 26-18 with 6:27 to play in the first half. Maryland led by 38-26 at halftime.
Maryland opened the second half with scoring runs of six, 11 and seven points to build its biggest lead, 62-30, with 11:30 to play.
"We played well," Weller said, "but I don't think the No. 1 ranking has much to do with that. Our focus is on getting better every day. That's been our goal all season, and I think we're doing that."
Duke pulled to within 70-47 with an 8-0 run with 5:27 to play, but never got closer.
A box-and-one defense on Maryland's sophomore guard Limor Mizrachi held the ACC's top player week to just one shot attempt and two points. But the Terrapins' bench, averaging 30 points a game, added 31 points to go along witha team shooting percentage of 56.8 percent (to Duke's 33.8 percent) and a rebouding advantage of 45-29.
"I thought they dominated the paint," Leonard said. "Their rebounding was the key."