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Blue Devils rally past Terps in game of runs

Five days after No. 4 Maryland knocked off then-No. 1 North Carolina, the Terrapins seemed poised to upset another top-ranked opponent, holding a 41-33 halftime advantage over Duke.

But the No. 1 Blue Devils (23-1, 10-1 in the ACC) fought back from a 10-point second-half deficit to beat Maryland (22-3, 9-2), 90-80, Monday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium in a matchup of the nation's two highest-scoring squads.

"We know we just beat an excellent team," Duke head coach Gail Goestenkors said. "I thought the second half we did a much better job defensively...and we were just much more aggressive on the offensive end as well."

The second half was characterized by several back-and-forth runs.

The spurt that turned the contest around for Duke started with the return of Blue Devil point guard Abby Waner to the lineup after halftime. Waner received two quick fouls and played just one minute in the first half. From the moment she entered the game in the second half, however, she led her team on a 15-1 run that turned an eight-point deficit into a six-point advantage.

"[Waner] just makes us better," Goestenkors said. "She's going to be one of the players to get on the floor for loose balls, and she has great court vision so she's going to always see the open player."

Then, up two points with 3:34 remaining, Duke scored 11 straight points over a two-and-a-half minute stretch to put the game out of reach.

This Blue Devils needed the streak to take control of the game because Maryland had fought back from a six-point deficit with a 7-0 run of its own. Shay Doron capped the spurt with a three-pointer with 8:23 remaining that gave Maryland its final lead of the game, 57-56.

Duke would not have had a chance in the game without the play of star forward Monique Currie. The All-American bounced back from her career-worst two-point performance Feb. 10 with a career-high 31-point effort.

Currie did not record a three-pointer on the night, but instead got her points by taking the ball to the basket and attempting a career-high 21 shots.

"I was trying to attack the basket a lot more," Currie said. "I've gotten away from that this year.... Wanisha was in my ear about getting to the basket, so I was trying to do that whenever I could."

The first half was a different story for Currie and Duke. Her teammates got off to a slow start, shooting just 7-for-24 from the floor, including 0-for-6 from three-point range. Currie scored 14 of Duke's first 23 points, and the team struggled immensely after she went to the bench with 6:53 to go in the opening period.

The scariest moment of the game may have come with 13:30 remaining in the second half, even though Duke had just regained the lead. Junior point guard Lindsey Harding dove to the floor to recover a loose ball, collided with Doron and immediately reached for her left shoulder. Harding writhed on the floor in pain for nearly 20 seconds before Duke regained possession of the ball, and the officials whistled the play dead.

The junior walked gingerly off the floor and straight to the locker room with her left arm at her side. But she returned to the bench later in the half and a team official announced after the game that it was just a contusion. Harding will likely return to the lineup later this week.

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