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After cold start, Blue Devils rally past Eagles

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - The women's basketball team was off to its worst start of the season.

            The tenacious defense of Boston College had forced nine turnovers and had held Duke to only 26 percent shooting and 20 points-both season-worsts for the first half. And to top it all off, the Eagles' Kindyll Dorsey drained a 15-foot buzzer-beater as the two teams headed to the locker rooms, sending Duke to its first halftime deficit of the year.

"I told our team I thought this would be our toughest battle to date," head coach Gail Goestenkors said. "Boston College is an excellent team."

            Then Duke got hot. 

Over the first nine minutes, the second-ranked Blue Devils had already matched their point total from the first half. And later in the halft, Duke (16-0, 5-0 in the ACC) went on a 17-2 run to deal the Eagles (12-5, 0-3) a 66-52 loss, their third ACC setback in as many games.

"We've talked about the fact long ago that there were going to be nights where we weren't going to hit our shots and we would have to rely on our rebounding and our defense," said Lindsey Harding, who netted 18 points for the Blue Devils.

            Neither team's shots were falling during a sloppy start to the game. Effective defense on both sides forced a combined ten turnovers over the game's first four minutes, keeping the score knotted at zero during that time. Duke got on the board first, scoring the game's first eight points.

From that point on, the momentum shifted, however.  The Blue Devils' shots would not fall, leading to a 16-4 Boston College run that brought the Conte Forum crowd to its feet. Duke abandoned its press, allowing the Eagles to generate some offense that carried them to their two-point halftime lead.

"We can't sustain that press for an entire game, so we pick and choose when we press," Goestenkors said.  "We kind of like to take people by surprise a little bit, but once they adjust, and I thought they did a good job adjusting, then it's kind of a dangerous press for us."

            At halftime, Duke showed they could adjust better than Boston College.  They turned the ball over only four times, took better shots and utilized the talents of National Player of the Year candidate Monique Currie.

            "Monique showed why she's the best player in the ACC and one of the best players in the nation, if not the best player in the nation," Goestenkors said. "When it comes to crunch time and we really need her, she's a gamer, she wants the ball in her hands and she's going to make good things happen."

            Held to only six points in the first half, Currie came on strong with 14 points in the final 20 minutes. Her team-high 20 points all seemed to come at opportune times for the Blue Devils.

            With 15:08 remaining in the game, Dorsey, who led the Eagles with 20 points, hit a three-pointer to extend the Boston College lead to nine. Currie quickly answered with a three of her own, making the score 35-29.  The nine points would end up being the largest deficit of the game for the Blue Devils.

            The 17-2 run to end the game was fittingly started by Harding, who scored six of Duke's final 17. The final score was not an indication of how much difficulty the 22nd-ranked Eagles gave the Blue Devils.

            "I definitely think that it was a great team effort," said forward Lisa Macchia, who contributed ten points and four rebounds to the Eagles' effort. "We moved the ball really well, which is something we wanted to do for this game. We definitely showed we could play with the No. 2 team in the country, with any team in the country."

            Goestenkors emphasized that Duke did not play up to its ability in the first half, but that the team showed resiliency in fighting back for its third consecutive ACC road win this season.

"I was just really proud of the way the team responded," Goestenkors said. "Our shots weren't falling in the first half.  But I give credit as well to Boston College and their defense, I thought they did an excellent job. Finally in the second half, we were able to wear them down just a little bit and fortunately come away with a win."


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