No. 7 Maryland women fall to No. 5 Duke, 71-56

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 11, 2013 at 9:11 pm •  Published: February 11, 2013
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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Maryland couldn't take care of the ball. Couldn't get anything from its top scorer.

And yet somehow, the seventh-ranked Terrapins rallied to take a late lead — only to let Duke's Chelsea Gray swipe it right back.

Maryland let its only lead slip away when Gray reeled off seven straight points during a critical stretch of its 71-56 loss to the fifth-ranked Blue Devils on Monday night.

"Obviously, she's an extremely difficult matchup," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said of Gray. "She's strong, she's physical. She definitely had her way with us."

Alyssa Thomas had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Maryland (19-4, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), which would have claimed a share of first place with a win.

But the Terrapins could overcome neither 24 turnovers nor a miserable night for the ACC's leading scorer, Tianna Hawkins, in having their league-best nine-game winning streak snapped.

Hawkins finished with six points on 3-of-11 shooting and seven rebounds — well below her averages of 19.6 points and 9.9 boards — in her first game in single-digit scoring since St. Joseph's held her to two points in November.

"Tianna had an (atypical) night . but knowing Tianna, she'll bounce back," Frese said. "It was a game where our bigs didn't get a lot of touches in this game, in terms of the pressure they faced all night."

Turnovers also were once again a problem for the Terrapins, who entered averaging 17½ and finished two shy of their season worst of 26 set against Connecticut. Pavelich had nine of them.

"I don't think it was them that made us have those turnovers," Rutan said. "I think it was just us rushing, not playing our game. We can fix that. That's easy."

Freshman Chloe Pavelich's 3 with about 10:45 left gave Maryland its only lead at 44-42.

Three possessions later, Gray took charge — and kept Duke alone atop the league standings.

I "just love to see her elevate her game," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said of Gray. "To be able to do the things that she did on the floor, given the attention she was drawing, was phenomenal."

Gray put Duke back on top with a 3, followed that with two free throws and capped her personal 7-0 run with a layup from Alexis Jones that made it 49-44 with 7½ minutes to go.

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