The independent news organization of Duke University

Duke survives scare against Yellow Jackets

ATLANTA - Due to technical difficulties, the Alexander Memorial Coliseum scoreboard labeled the visitors from Durham as Boston College several times throughout the game Wednesday.

Whatever they were called, they did not look like the Blue Devils.

Facing a Georgia Tech team that was 0-2 in the ACC and had not defeated a ranked opponent this season, the No. 2 Blue Devils (15-0, 4-0 in the ACC) shot a season-low 32.8 percent but managed to escape with a 67-59 victory.

"I'm just glad to come away with a win," head coach Gail Goestenkors said. "I think this was probably very good for us because I felt like we got outhustled on many plays. We had to scrap and claw, and we talked about the fact that there were going to be some games when our shots weren't falling."

The Yellow Jackets (11-4, 0-3) utilized a collapsing match-up zone that kept Duke from pounding the ball inside.

The Blue Devils responded by settling for outside looks, shooting 7-for-23 from three-point range.

Georgia Tech even outscored the larger Blue Devils in the paint, but Duke's size advantage did result in 23 offensive rebounds, helping to compensate for the poor shooting effort.

"Lots of teams have played us zone, we just usually shoot the ball a little bit better," Goestenkors said. "It is not the first time we have seen a zone. I'm sure it won't be the last time, but we have usually handled the zones a little bit better than we did tonight."

Two and a half minutes into the second half, Stephanie Higgs, who led the Yellow Jackets with 21 points, hit a jumper to give Georgia Tech a 36-34 lead.

The Blue Devils, however, held the Yellow Jackets scoreless for the next four minutes and secured an eight-point lead that they would not relinquish.

"They made a defensive adjustment-they went to a 1-3-1 zone, and we struggled a little bit scoring against that," Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph said. "That was the time of the game when they got in control. We weren't as aggressive offensively when they went to the zone."

Georgia Tech, however, did have a chance to tie the game with less than eight minutes remaining following a Monique Currie turnover with the score 48-45.

A three-point attempt from Higgs rimmed out, and Chante Black and Lindsey Harding combined for six points over the next two minutes to extend Duke's lead back to nine.

The Blue Devils knocked down eight of their last 10 free throws to seal the narrow victory.

Senior Monique Currie struggled from the field, shooting 4-for-13, on her way to just 11 points.

Alison Bales was particularly bothered by the Yellow Jackets zone.

She did not register a point or rebound in 13 minutes.

The Blue Devils, however, made up for this lack of production by receiving 30 points from their deep bench, including 13 from sophomore Wanisha Smith.

"We just have to dig down sometimes and do the game plan and execute," Currie said. "I'm happy we won, but against a better team, the results probably would have been different."


Higgs, a 5-foot-9 guard, was the leading rebounder in the game with 10-. The Blue Devils' point output and field-goal percentage were both season-lows-. Duke's season-low 67 points were 30 fewer its season average.... The Blue Devils have won 26 straight games against the Yellow Jackets.


Share and discuss “Duke survives scare against Yellow Jackets” on social media.