CHESTNUT HILL, MASS. – The 15th-ranked Duke Blue Devils unexpectedly dropped one on the road, losing 60-56 to a sharp-shooting Boston College Eagles squad at Silvio O. Conte Forum on Thursday.
Forward Azura Stevens tallied a career-high 24 points and center Elizabeth Williams added 19, and both picked up nine rebounds apiece, but it wasn’t enough as Duke slipped to 13-6 on the season and 4-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
It was the Blue Devils’ first loss to an unranked opponent this year, and came during a game that showed the inconsistency that the team has fallen prone to while retooling its shape and style of play this season.
“That was a great game for Boston College,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
“Some great shooting down the stretch that was very significant for them.”
Though Duke led 9-0 early, Boston College (9-10, 1-5) responded with four consecutive threes and worked the perimeter to its advantage throughout the game.
The trio of Nicole Boudreau (18 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists), Emilee Bailey (17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), and Kelly Hughes (11 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists), did the majority of the damage offensively for the Eagles.
Boston College finished shooting 36 percent overall, but the three connected on 13-of-33 attempts beyond the arc – a well-executed effort against Duke’s perimeter defense.
Duke struggled from the field finishing at 33 percent overall, but converted at a meager 28 percent during the second half.
The Eagles successfully attacked from the perimeter – the only way effective way to overcome the Blue Devils’ length.
Duke guard Rebecca Greenwell finished with 11 points, but a 3-of-14 shooting performance from the field couldn’t push Duke far enough ahead at any point.
Duke trailed 35-30 at halftime.
The Blue Devils regained the lead early in the second half, but Boston College came right back with big points from three-point range.
While the lead continued to change – nine times in total – Duke led 49-47 with 6:02 remaining after going scoreless for over seven minutes.
The Blue Devils outrebounded the Eagles by a 45-34 margin, outscored them 32-14 in the paint, and did their work from the free throw line, going 18-of-22.
However, Boston College’s strength and game plan to work from the perimeter was the kryptonite that exacerbated a poor shooting performance for Duke.
Daley connected on three straight triples and put the Eagles up 58-54 with 1:09 remaining.
The Blue Devils worked to foul and regain possession, and a layup from Williams trimmed the deficit to two points.
But the Eagles didn’t falter and converted at the free throw line to complete the upset and earn their first league win.
“For us, it was a very poor performance relative to our defense and communication,” McCallie said.
“We did rebound, but we didn’t defend and contest….You have to give them credit. They did a great job spreading the floor.”
The Blue Devils returned home to regroup and prepare to travel across 15-501 on Sunday to face the No. 12 North Carolina Tar Heels, recent 67-63 winners over N.C. State on Thursday.
Notes: Duke played its second game in a row without Oderah Chidom who sat out while recovering from a dislocated shoulder…Unlike BC, the Blue Devils couldn’t take advantage of the long ball, finishing 2-of-11 beyond the arc…The Eagles bench also made a difference as their reserves, primarily Katie Quandt (8 points), outscored Duke’s subs 10-0.