COLLEGE PARK -- Duke women's basketball coach Debbie Leonard hardly ever has a discouraging word for or about an opponent.
But after watching what Maryland guard Malissa Boles did to her Blue Devils yesterday in a 74-69 Terps victory, Leonard was reduced to wishing a little harm on Boles, albeit jokingly.
"I was hoping she would run close to the bench so I could trip her," said Leonard. "I kept calling for her to come over, but she wouldn't."
That was about the only thing that Boles didn't do in leading No. 4 Maryland (22-3, 12-2) to its second straight win in its home season finale.
With the victory, Maryland can finish no worse than second in the ACC with two league games to play. The Terps trail league-leading Virginia by one game.
Boles, a 5-foot-11 junior from Milwaukee, scored a game-high 20 points, including eight of Maryland's first 14, and then six of eight points in a 1:40 blitz late in the game to send Maryland back ahead by nine after the Blue Devils (12-12, 3-10) had cut the Terps' lead to one.
"I came out and I was trying to get myself pumped up and get everybody else pumped up," said Boles, who added five assists and three steals in 39 minutes.
"She's a great player," said Leonard. "She can pull up and hit the jumper as well as any woman in the United States, and she was hitting a lot of them with a hand in her face."
Boles and senior forward Dafne Lee (Walbrook), who had 19 points, were steady for the Terps. Maryland gave back 10-point leads twice in the second half, only to hold on late, giving coach Chris Weller her 350th career coaching victory in 17 seasons.
"I've been coaching for 15 years, and I've said in each of those years that Chris Weller is one of the best coaches in America," said Leonard.
"The key is she coaches the game as simply as it can be coached. She recruits players who can play in her system, and if they can't fit in, then they don't stay long."
"Right now, I'm a little more concerned that Duke was able to penetrate at will on us," said Weller, who became the 19th coach in women's history with 350 wins.
After scoring the first 12 of the game and not giving Duke a shot in its first three possessions, Maryland seemed to allow the slower, shorter and generally outmanned Blue Devils to hang tough.
Duke cut the Maryland lead to 56-55 with 7:18 left. After a timeout, Boles made two jumpers from the baseline, got a fadeaway in the lane and assisted on a jumper from freshman reserve Kesha Camper, who connected after a Boles block.
But the pesky Blue Devils crawled right back, led by senior forward Celeste Lavoie, who scored 19. She had been held to eight in Duke's 80-54 loss to Maryland in January. Lavoie got help yesterday from sophomore forward Shannon Wills, who had 17 points off the bench.
"Duke played a really strong game, and at parts, we played strong, but there were times when we couldn't handle their penetration," said Weller.
Maryland's spotty play seems to be the latest example of the aftereffects of its 75-74 loss to Virginia before a sellout crowd here almost two weeks ago that knocked it off the top of the rankings.
After that game, the Terps were drubbed on the road at Clemson and extended nearly to the end by Georgia Tech and Duke, two teams that will not contend for the ACC title.
"Somewhere along the way, we have to get over this so-called pressure of the ranking and the emotion of the sellout," said Weller.
"If we want to go on using that as an excuse, we can use that until the end of the season, which will be soon."
But in one sense, the Terps were able to cruise on the fumes of the Virginia game, which set school and ACC records for attendance.
Yesterday's crowd of 3,655 was the second-highest in Maryland women's history and the third time in the past four home games that the Terps have drawn more than 3,000.
"I would have been very disappointed if we hadn't gotten at least our second-biggest crowd," said Weller. "All those well-wishers [after the Virginia game] meant an awful lot, and I was hoping it would at least be a sincere feeling."
DUKE -- Lavoie 9-15 1-2 19, McDonald 2-8 0-0 4, Kost 2-3 0-0 4, McFarland 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 0-1 0-0 0, Baker 3-9 0-1 7, Johnson 5-12 2-4 12, Wills 8-12 1-2 17, Blanding 0-2 0-0 0, Kauffman 2-5 2-2 6, Brandau 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-67 6-11 69.
MARYLAND -- Lee 4-7 11-13 19, Boles 8-18 4-4 20, Hicks 3-3 0-0 6, Panek 2-5 4-4 8, Mizrachi 0-3 2-3 2, Andrew 2-2 0-0 4, Colleton 3-4 0-0 6, Christy 1-4 0-0 2, Adams 0-4 0-0 0, Camper 3-6 1-3 7. Totals 26-56 22-27 74.
Halftime--Maryland, 37-28. 3-point goals--Duke 1-5 (Baker 1-5); Maryland 0-1 (Mizrachi 0-1). Rebounds--Duke 30 (Lavoie, Wills 6); Maryland 42 (Hicks 6). Assists--Duke 17 (Baker 5); Maryland 20 (Boles 5). Total fouls--Duke 22; Maryland 14. Fouled out--none. Technicals--none. A--3,655.