No. 5 Duke 53, No. 24 Nebraska 45
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie is growing weary of people
expecting the Blue Devils to roll over teams in the NCAA
”We don’t want to be pretty, we want to advance,” McCallie
said after the Blue Devils struggled offensively but used a solid
defensive effort for a 53-45 victory over Nebraska in the Norfolk
Regional of the women’s NCAA tournament on Sunday.
”We want to advance. We want to find a way to keep going,”
Duke will play top-seeded Notre Dame on Tuesday night for a
berth in the Final Four.
Tricia Liston had 17 points and eight rebounds and Alexis Jones
had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Blue Devils
shook off another slow start by using a 12-0 run to take the lead
by halftime and then hang on with their defense.
”Somebody mentioned that we haven’t played a great game yet,”’
McCallie said. ”It’s about time we do. I’m kind of looking forward
to that. We’ve had to gut some things out, handle some things
The Cornhuskers (25-9), in the round of 16 for just the second
time in school history, shot 30.3 percent and hit just 3 of 24
Nebraska arrived averaging 6.4 3-pointers and made eight last
week in stunning Texas A&M on its home floor.
Duke also trailed Oklahoma State by 13 at halftime last week on
its home floor before rallying.
”It can be frustrating at times,” Liston said of the offensive
struggles, which have been made worse by the loss of All-American
Chelsea Gray to a dislocated kneecap 10 games ago. ”That’s where
our defense can come in.”
Duke’s Elizabeth Williams, a native of Virginia Beach, finished
with 10 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks, but missed 10 of
her 15 shots as Duke made just 21 of 64 shots, 32.8 percent, and 4
of 16 3-pointers.
Lindsey Moore led the Cornhuskers with 11 points, but on 5 of 18
shooting. Nebraska’s leading scorer, Jordan Hooper, who averages
18.2 points, left with an ankle injury with 8 minutes left and
scored just six points, missing 11 of her 14 shots.
”Obviously we struggled,” said Moore, a part of both round of
16 teams in Nebraska history. ”I think we’re a better shooting
team than we showed. … We just had to keep shooting them and hope
they would start dropping for us.”
Moore said Duke also confused the Cornhuskers by continually
switching defensive looks.
”I hope it was confusing because we’re trying to be
confusing,” McCallie said.
Hooper hit a foul-line jumper 30 seconds into the second half,
sparking an 8-4 run that got them within 27-26, but Duke responded
with a 13-4 run. Liston started it with a 3-pointer, and Haley
Peters and Richa Jackson each scored four in the run.
Moore’s basket in the lane got the Cornhuskers within 44-38 with
3:53 to play, but Jones and Peters converted Nebraska turnovers
with inside baskets.
After Katie Simon scored for Nebraska, two free throws each by
Liston and Jones extended the lead to 51-40 with 1:04 left.
Duke made just four of its first 20 shots and trailed Nebraska
18-11 before turning it around. The Blue Devils outscored the
Cornhuskers 12-0 in the last 5:46 of the half, with Jones scoring
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