DURHAM, N.C. – The 13th-ranked Duke Blue Devils completed a perfect non-conference and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular-season at home with an 83-70 win over No. 16 Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday.
Celebrating Senior Day by honoring forwards Oderah Chidom and Kendall Cooper before tipoff, the Blue Devils (24-4, 12-3) quickly went to work and outpaced the Hurricanes (19-7, 8-6) led by Lexie Brown’s 28 points and Rebecca Greenwell’s double-double finish with 22 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists.
Cooper posted her sixth double-digit finish of the season with 12 points while claiming four rebounds and three blocks to help lead a defensive effort supported by Chidom (4 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and Kyra Lambert (5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) that eventually put a stranglehold on Miami’s offense.
Adrienne Motley’s 23 points, and Laura Cornelius’ 10 points carried six-point finishes from four others for the Hurricanes.
“I am really proud of our team at making adjustments and doing great things throughout the game and playing hard together,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
‘I love the poise the Lexie showed, obviously shooting the ball extremely well and making good decisions on the floor and having to get hit a lot. For Becca, just incredible rebounding. For Kendall, I thought Kendall was rock solid, she was looking for her offense, she was playing very good defense, she was talking a lot.”
The view from the other bench from former Duke standout and Miami head coach Katie Meier was one of her team having too much to contend with without executing to keep pace.
Duke shot 50 percent from the field, doing so for the fourth time in its last five games, while Miami finished at 34 percent.
“We didn’t realize that Greenwell and Brown were on fire,” Meier said.
“You have to wake up and make an adjustment there and stick to the game plan on the defensive end. I give credit to Duke for sure, and a great performance by those two, and Cooper who was hitting a couple shots and when she hit them, it kind of broke our back a little bit. They played great team basketball and they stayed committed and faithful. We lost our faith a little bit, and by the time we woke up, it was too late.”
The Hurricanes flirted with the lead at times during the first half, but didn’t take advantage of their opportunities to match the scoring output that the Blue Devils generated.
“They were inviting us to take some threes, and you have to hit them to beat them,” Meier added.
”Then we started the second half and just missed them. I know we took two or three shots right away, and that wasn’t what we wanted to do. Duke got open a lot more and transitioned into more shots in the second half.”
Highlights: Duke 83, Miami 70 – ACC Digital Network (TheACC.com)
Leading 32-31 at halftime, Duke took control of the game in the third quarter.
With a nine-point advantage heading into the fourth, the Blue Devils held on, going scoreless from the field for almost seven minutes, but compensated by eventually accumulating a season-high 26 free throws made on 32 attempts.
Brown went a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe while Greenwell shot a clean 7-of-7, and Odom added 3-of-3 shooting from the same spot.
“Yeah we talked about it at half time that we were being a little too passive on the offensive end,” Brown said.
“We were just happy to beat the press and then we wanted to set up and try to pound it inside. I didn’t get the open looks, but in reality, we could have just kept going with the flow that we had. We had them on their heels. We beat their press so we kind of let loose on offense in the second half.”
Duke: Lexie Brown – 28 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists; Rebecca Greenwell – 22 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists; Kendall Cooper – 12 points, 4 rebounds; Leaonna Odom – 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals
Miami: Adrienne Motley – 23 points, 3 rebounds; Laura Cornelius – 10 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists; Keyanna Harris, Erykah Davenport, Jessica Thomas, Sarah Mortenson – 6 points each
Duke 32, Miami 31
Brown and Greenwell each posted 10 points while Cooper collected eight as Duke shot an efficient 13-of-26 from the field while Miami’s early drought in the opening quarter forced them to improve in the second, up to 33 percent.
Motley led the Hurricanes with 11 points, including two 3s that helped keep it close after 20 minutes.
Led by Brown, a 20-8 early-period differential during the first seven minutes of the third quarter created the separation that Duke needed, leading 52-39 with 3:02 remaining in the period.
Cooper opened the game’s scoring with an easy layup inside.
Miami looked to match the Blue Devils shot-for-shot, but hit a dry spell early.
Going scoreless for three minutes, the Hurricanes watched nine points drop as
Duke led 11-3 with 5:51 to play following Greenwell’s first three of the game.
The Hurricanes started to post some points, but so did the Blue Devils – holding a five-point lead at the four-minute mark.
A block by Cooper on Jessica Thomas’ jumper held the margin through the media timeout.
Duke carried an 18-14 lead into the next quarter.
Taking advantage of three consecutive Duke turnovers, Miami started firing on all cylinders and put together a 8-0 run to take its first lead since the start of the game, ahead 22-18 at the 7:58 mark.
The Blue Devils’ scoring drought, drawing back from the 2:21 mark of the opening period, finally ended when Brown drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to three points with 6:08 remaining.
Work from the free throw line continued to work to the Hurricanes’ favor as Hayes’ two freebies made it 28-23 two minutes later.
Tighter defensive play in the 2-3 zone eventually slowed Miami’s progress to the basket.
Duke trailed by one following Cooper’s second straight score in as many attempts.
At the other end, Cooper’s hard foul on Motley allowed an and-1 to push the Hurricanes’ lead to 31-27.
With free throws from Brown, Duke looked to regain the lead with under a minute to go.
A blocked shot by Chidom and a rebound putback by Greenwell tied it 31-31 with 11.5 seconds on the clock.
Her successful free throw gave the Blue Devils a 32-31 lead heading into the halftime break.
Both teams came out at a quick pace, alternating scoring runs.
Duke led 38-33 before Miami cut that lead to one.
Two 3s from Brown continued the Blue Devils’ 7-0 run that pushed them ahead 45-37.
Consecutive misses from Miami allowed Odom to get a feed from Brown for a turnaround jumper that extended the Duke advantage to eight points, 47-39, with 4:47 remaining.
Chidom and Cooper then dropped a baseline layup and then a jumper, respectively, as the Blue Devils’ lead grew to 52-39, their largest of the game up to that point.
Motley did her best to keep the Hurricanes close with a 3-point finish from the corner, but Duke’s length and tenacious defensive play from Chidom, Cooper, and Erin Mathias helped keep the margin intact.
The Blue Devils led 57-48 heading into the final period.
Duke continued on its roll early on as five points from Greenwell and a breakaway layup from Brown pushed Duke ahead 64-50.
Miami struggled offensively again, similar to the first period and couldn’t contain the Blue Devils in the paint.
It was a 15-point differential in Duke’s favor with five minutes remaining.
While Duke turned the ball over three times, Miami was able to take advantage of those opportunities.
Numerous foul calls at both ends of the court highlighted play until the final horn sounded.
Shots from the perimeter dropped for Motley and Mortenson, but work from the free throw line – 15 single points – allowed the Blue Devils to negate the impact of those scores.
Even while not scoring a single field goal for nearly seven minutes, Duke was still able to coast to the win.
An and-1 from Greenwell completed the scoring for the Blue Devils with nine seconds remaining.