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No. 3 Duke women fall to No. 17 UNC, 89-78

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 10, 2014 at 9:10 pm •  Published: February 10, 2014

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie figures the losses won't stop until her players figure out how to stop their opponents.

No. 17 North Carolina became the latest team to come into Cameron Indoor Stadium and score at will, beating the third-ranked Blue Devils 89-78 on Monday night.

The Tar Heels, No. 1 Connecticut and No. 2 Notre Dame each rolled up at least 83 points in a double-digit win on Duke's home floor.

"Our team's got to want to play defense," McCallie said. "If we don't, this will happen again."

Elizabeth Williams had a career-high 28 points on 12-of-23 shooting and blocked five shots, and Tricia Liston added 20 points for Duke (22-3, 9-2 ACC).

But in losing consecutive home games for the first time in two decades, the Blue Devils allowed a 30-point scorer — UNC's Diamond DeShields, who had 30 — for the first time since 2009.

"I think that defense is something that this team generally wants other people to do," McCallie said. "We don't get into defense. We're playing defense to get the ball back on offense. ... Our transition defense has been awful. The difference in the game was transition defense."

Fellow freshman Allisha Gray added 24 points — including three three-point plays in the final 8 minutes — for the Tar Heels (18-6, 6-4).

Xylina McDaniel finished with 17 points for North Carolina — which never trailed, hit 12 3-pointers, built three separate double-figure leads in the second half and finally made the third one stand.

The Tar Heels snapped a three-game overall losing streak, and a seven-game slide against their fiercest rivals by claiming their first win at Cameron since 2008.

"In the end, the players did it. They said, 'We're going to make a statement and we're going to make a statement tonight,'" UNC associate head coach Andrew Calder said.

Alexis Jones had 15 points and 11 assists for the Duke, which twice in the second half trailed by double digits but closed within one possession. Liston pulled the Blue Devils to 63-61 with her free throw with 8:13 left.

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