Graduate student Rebecca Greenwell entered Sunday’s top-25 contest against No. 5 South Carolina with aspirations of claiming Duke’s all-time career record for made 3-pointers, needing just one to tie it and two to break it. 

After coming up empty, she will get another chance to cement her name in Blue Devil history Thursday night.

No. 14 Duke will welcome UNC Greensboro to Cameron Indoor Stadium searching for a bounce-back performance after it was held to just 52 points—its lowest total since Jan. 15 last season—in a 20-point defeat to the Gamecocks. South Carolina led for all but the first four minutes of the contest, as Blue Devil head coach Joanne P. McCallie’s squad could not find a way to contain forwards A’ja Wilson and Alexis Jennings, who combined for 39 points and 21 rebounds. 

“We obviously had a tough time with Wilson and Jennings on the inside, taking care of them, and also rebounding-wise, we would need to be better there. Scoring-wise, we need to be a bit better than we were,” McCallie said after Sunday’s game. “These are some great lessons for us in early December that we must apply to games that are coming up.”

Although the Blue Devils (6-2) won’t be facing quite as much size against UNC Greensboro, they will need to keep an eye on senior transfer Ije Ajemba, who tied the C-USA Tournament record by posting 21 rebounds in a game for Old Dominion last season and has quietly racked up 10.6 rebounds per game for the Spartans this year. 

It will be 6-foot-4 Duke senior Erin Mathias’ job to contain Ajemba in the paint and crash the boards with the help of sophomore forward Leaonna Odom. Despite giving up two inches to Mathias, Odom has been slightly more effective on the glass, averaging 8.1 rebounds per game compared to Mathias’s 6.0. 

Outside of the frontcourt matchup, McCallie stressed the importance of her team’s ability to attack the basket and convert at the charity stripe, an area that has cost the Blue Devils of late. 

“We’ve got to make free throws. You have to get to the free-throw line,” McCallie said. “You have to make layups and free throws to be at the highest level. There’s no question about it, so we have to work on that.”

As a team, Duke is shooting only 67.4 percent at the line, compared to the Spartans’ 72.6 percent mark. After shooting as many 3-pointers as free throws against South Carolina, McCallie hopes to see the Blue Devils become more aggressive and avoid falling in love with the three-ball.

“I think we took too many threes based on what the game was because it was so covered around the 3-point line,” McCallie said. “We needed to get more free throw attempts. Ten would not be enough to beat a team of South Carolina’s caliber.”

Although Duke relies on guard play to provide most of its scoring, with the duo of Lexie Brown and Greenwell contributing 34.6 points per game, it will be forced to guard a pair of talented guards on the other end as well. The Spartans (4-4) will bring a crafty backcourt to Cameron featuring Brandi Fier, leading the team with 35 assists, and sophomore Nadine Soliman, who averages 14.0 points per game. 

Despite quality guard play, the Spartans’ inability to hit the 3-pointer has contributed to three straight losses. Aside from sophomore guard Alexis Pitchford, nobody on the team has a 3-point percentage better than 37 percent, and as a team, UNC Greensboro is shooting an abysmal 27.0 percent from deep. 

The Blue Devils will look to get ahead early and never look back in a golden opportunity to get on track after a performance that left a lot to be desired Sunday.

Spencer Levy and Conner McLeod contributed reporting.