No. 8 Duke 71, Maryland 59
Karima Christmas started with jabs from far away. She finished
with a knockout.
Christmas scored a career-high 25 points and made two big plays
down the stretch to help No. 8 Duke defeat Maryland 71-59 on
“Karima was outstanding,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
“She was attacking at all times, very aggressive, very confident
and showed a tremendous amount of leadership on the floor, which
was so much fun to watch.”
Joy Cheek added 17 points for Duke (23-4, 11-1 Atlantic Coast
Conference), which closed the game on a 17-6 run over the final
Lori Bjork scored 14 points to lead Maryland (18-9, 5-7), which
trailed 36-33 at halftime. Lynetta Kizer had 13 points and 13
rebounds, and Anjale Barrett scored 11 points for the
Maryland, which trailed by as many as 10 points in the first
half, led 46-43 with 13 minutes remaining.
“I’m really proud of our young team,” said Maryland coach
Brenda Frese, who has one senior and no juniors active on her
roster. “The first 36 minutes, we were there. The last four
minutes, you saw veterans for Duke step up and provide great
Christmas shot 7 for 13 from the field, made a career-high four
3-pointers and added four steals to help the Blue Devils get their
fifth consecutive win. She entered the game having made 2 of 22
3-point attempts in her last 12 games, but she was 3 for 3 midway
through the first half against Maryland.
“I think I just stayed focused,” Christmas said. “If I was
open and had the opportunity to shoot, I just shot.”
The Blue Devils led 54-53 with 4:05 to play before Christmas
made two big plays inside to help them pull away.
First, she grabbed an offensive rebound and shoveled the ball to
Cheek, who turned the pass into a three-point play. Then Christmas
delivered a three-point play after rebounding her own missed shot,
putting Duke ahead 64-55 with 1:47 left.
The Blue Devils won despite getting just eight points on
3-for-15 shooting from leading scorer Jasmine Thomas. Thomas became
the 26th player in Duke history to score 1,000 career points when
she made a layup after a steal early in the first half.
“If you would have told me before we started the game that we
held Jasmine to eight points and we were going to lose, I wouldn’t
have believed you,” Frese said. “I thought Christmas was
Cheek, who also had four assists, also busted out of a shooting
slump. She had not scored more than 10 points in a game since Jan.
7, a span of 11 contests, but had 11 points by halftime against the
Cheek said she and her teammates, who were playing less than 48
hours after their 64-50 win at Georgia Tech on Friday night, gained
a burst of energy just before the opening tip.
A few Maryland players bumped some Blue Devils on their way to
the bench before the national anthem, setting the tone for what
would be a physical game. With Duke’s players facing away from the
basket that Maryland’s players had just finished using, a few
Terrapins forced their way through the shoulder-to-shoulder line
Duke had formed.
“That ignited the fire even more,” Cheek said.