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Senior sets new Blue Devil record in sloppy victory

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - When Monique Currie scored just two points against Virginia Feb. 10, the worst offensive output of her career, freshman guard Abby Waner said she was not worried about Currie's sub-par performance, despite the ugly stat line.

After setting a new career high in points for the second consecutive game, it is safe to say that Waner was right-Mo's back and better than ever.

Six days after scoring a then-career-high 31 points against Maryland Feb. 13, Currie was unstoppable Sunday night as she poured in a Duke-record 43 points in the Blue Devil's 99-93 double-overtime win at Miami. On a night when her Duke teammates were far from playing their best, Currie delivered.

"I think she's always played her best basketball when we needed her most," Blue Devil head coach Gail Goestenkors said. "She always rises to the occasion and I think this was an example of that. We needed every point that she scored for us."

Currie set the record shooting 11-for-18 from the field and 15-for-16 from the free throw line. Her 43 points surpassed Alana Beard's previous school record of 41 against Virginia in 2003. She also set a career-high for three-pointers, going 6-for-9 from beyond the arc, besting her previous high of three in a game.

After Duke allowed the Hurricanes to fight back at the end of both regulation and the first overtime period, Currie almost single-handedly defeated Miami in the second overtime period, scoring 13 of the Blue Devil's 21 points. Protecting a small lead down the stretch, Duke attempted to get the ball to Currie every possession, knowing the Hurricanes had to foul to have a chance at the victory. She was fouled five times in the final five minutes, shot a perfect 10-for-10 from the line and hit a key three-pointer to break an 80-80 tie with 3:29 remaining in the extra period to put the Blue Devils up for good.

"I needed to make sure things were under control, I thought if I could get the ball then I could score," Currie said. "I think at times like that my team looks to me to try to put the ball in the basket."

Duke turned the ball over 26 times, a season high, and-with the exception of Currie's near-flawless performance-shot poorly from the line. At the end of the second half, Chante Black and Lindsey Harding missed five free throws to let Miami come back from a once 16-point deficit. Likewise, in the first overtime, Wanisha Smith struggled from the charity stripe, making just one of four shots as the Hurricanes again rallied to tie the game. Besides Currie, the rest of the Blue Devils shot just 56-percent from the free-throw line.

"We're usually a very good free-throw shooting team so I was a little disappointed with our free throws," Goestenkors said. "I think we really had a lack of focus tonight on both ends of the court, and I think one place it shows up is free throws."

What makes Currie's performance even more impressive is the fact that she received her fourth foul less than six minutes into the second half and still played phenomenally over the final 17 minutes of the game without receiving another.

"I had to be a lot more careful, Coach G said if I didn't play defense then she would take me out of the game," Currie said. "I just tried to be careful and not get any silly fouls like I'd gotten previously."

Despite her foul trouble, Currie repeatedly attacked the hoop and continued to play aggressively, ripping down six boards in 40 minutes of play. The senior also moved up five spots to No. 14 on the all-time ACC scoring list with 1,965 career points.

"She's very mature and smart and plays with so much poise," Miami head coach Katie Meier said. "That was the kid that we didn't want to beat us and she still beat us so I think that's important. Tip your hat to her."

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