DURHAM, N.C. — UM women can't repeat feat vs. Duke Durham, N.C. -- For 30 minutes last night at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Maryland women's basketball team looked - and played - fearless.
The Terps hurled their bodies into traffic attempting to corral loose rebounds, pumped their fists during timeouts, sprinted back on defense and strutted down the court on offense. Having knocked off one top-ranked opponent last week, Maryland looked for a while as though it might to do it again.
The good feelings, however, would not last.
Behind a career-high 31 points from senior Monique Currie, top-ranked Duke slowly rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit, then pulled away from the No. 4 Terps late for an emotional 90-80 victory in front of 6,047.
The comeback required a strong second-half effort by the Blue Devils, who committed a season-low nine turnovers and had 21 offensive rebounds. Duke (23-1, 10-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) was up to the challenge, as usual against the Terps. Duke has beaten Maryland 14 straight times and 17 of the past 18 dating to 1998.
In a way, though, Maryland (22-3, 9-2) couldn't leave Tobacco Road all that disappointed, considering the way the Terps have played the last two times they have taken the court. After going into Chapel Hill and defeating North Carolina on Thursday when the Tar Heels were ranked No. 1 in the nation, Maryland traveled to Durham four days later and had yet another No. 1 team on the ropes for much of the game.
"Duke just makes you work so hard, every possession," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "I think maybe some of [the second half] was fatigue, but that's what they do. They just wear you out."
It wasn't a very good night for junior guard Shay Doron, Maryland's leading scorer, who finished with nine points on 2-for-12 shooting. But the Terps were once again carried offensively by the steady, precocious play of freshman Marissa Coleman. Coleman - who is quietly on her way becoming one of the best players in the ACC - scored 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting and was the most fearless Terp for most of the night, taking big shots and making them as Maryland grabbed a 41-33 lead at halftime.
Coleman, however, also drew the toughest assignment on defense: guarding Currie, who is 19th on the ACC's all-time scoring list. And while Currie got a significant portion of her points in transition, Coleman still wasn't thrilled with her own defensive contribution.
"It just makes me sick that I had that horrible of a defensive effort all night," said Coleman, who fouled out with 47 seconds left. "My offense will come. I just need to work on my defense."
Things might have gone the other way had Duke not suddenly gotten hot from the outside after going cold in the first half. Duke missed its first 13 three-pointers and was dealt a serious blow when junior point guard Lindsey Harding had to leave the game with 13:20 remaining after bruising her shoulder in a collision with Doron when both were diving for a for a loose ball.
But with Maryland clinging to a 57-56 lead with seven minutes remaining, Duke finally found its outside touch. Jessica Foley hit an open three-pointer, then hit another on the next possession - both with a hand in her face.
"I knew they were going to fall eventually," Foley said. "I missed all my wide-open ones, then hit two from the corner."
Foley, a senior guard from Australia, faked a three-pointer and drove along the baseline for a layup minutes later, putting Duke up 73-69. Currie then found Duke sophomore center Chante Black alone under the basket with 1:49 left, essentially slamming the door.
"I thought Maryland did an excellent job jumping on us early," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "In the second half, we did a much better job defensively, and we were much more aggressive on the offensive end. I am really pleased to come away with a win. We know we just beat an excellent team."
Foley finished with 12 points and senior forward Mistie Williams added 14 and had 10 rebounds to close out the victory for Duke. Maryland sophomore center Crystal Langhorne scored 16, and freshman guard Kristi Toliver hit two three-pointers late to finish with 19 points.
"They just have a lot of different weapons and can continue to go at you in waves," Frese said. "I thought they really outworked us and were more physical than us."