Monique Currie came out of the gate firing Monday night, driving the ball to the basket on Duke's first two possessions.
It took the rest of the Blue Devils well into the second half, however, to pick up the intensity that Currie embodied from the start of the contest. And it took a contusion to junior Lindsey Harding's left shoulder to do it.
With 13:30 left in the second half, Harding dove for a loose ball. But instead of coming up with the ball, the junior point guard collided with Terrapin Shay Doron and went down with a shoulder injury. Harding lay huddled on the floor until she was escorted off the court. She did not return to the game.
"It's kind of a little incentive to work harder because, when Lindsey goes out, I'm sure the other team is going to be licking their chops," senior Mistie Williams said. "We kept our composure and we played aggressive. It's kind of hard to stop a team that has that intensity out there."
Before Harding's injury, Currie seemed to be the only Blue Devil playing with passion. She was more aggressive than any of her teammates, and she did not hesitate to attempt her shots or to tell her teammates to take theirs.
At one point in the first half, Wanisha Smith stood on the wing, looking for an open Blue Devil. From Smith's left side, Currie screamed, "Nish, attack!" and Smith responded, taking the ball hard to the basket. Even though she missed, she showed the tenacity that most of Duke was lacking for much of the game.
"I wasn't too happy that we were down, but I was never worried," Currie said of her feelings at halftime. "I just thought we needed to take it in, refocus, and come back out strong in the second half."
Part of Currie's motivation was that this performance came one game after Currie scored just two points against Virginia Feb. 10.
"I knew she would come out," Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said of Currie. "She is a competitor and I knew she wasn't going to have back-to-back games like that. I knew she was going to come out focused and ready to play. She did what an All-American does. She came out, put the team on her back and had a tremendous game for them."
Once Harding went down, however, the rest of the Blue Devils rivaled Currie's fire and made a competitive run on the Terrapins to ensure the 90-80 Duke victory.
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