Duke 92, North Carolina 73 (final): Elizabeth Williams finished out the game strong, adding an easy hoop, a few free throws, and her second block of the game. Sierra Moore and walk-on Jenna Frush made their first appearances of the game with the lead comfortably in hand. Despite the large deficit, the North Carolina effort never waned, staying with their full court press to force head coach Joanne P. McCallie to call time out to bail out the in-bounder. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt continued her strong second half, finishing the game with 25 points.
Duke 80, North Carolina 60 (3:44, second half): Haley Peters and Allison Vernerey both fouled out. Peters ends her night a perfect 7-for-8 from the floor, good for 15 points. For the Tar Heels, after her big first half Waltiea Rolle has not had a single point in the second half. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, however, has 14 this half after being held scoreless in the first. Duke has figured out how to beat the North Carolina press by throwing touchdown passes to Alexis Jones, resulting in easy layups.
Duke 70, North Carolina 46 (7:57, second half): Haley Peters continued her assault on the Tar Heels, now a perfect 7-for-7 from the floor. She is up to 17 points on the game to go along with five rebounds. Not to be outdone, Alexis Jones drilled a three-pointer from well beyond the arc, giving her 11 points this half. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, looking to make up for her empty first half, came up with a steal and transition hoop in an attempt to keep the Tar Heels close.
Duke 58, North Carolina 40 (11:57, second half): Alexis Jones, who was quiet in the first half, has been anything but in the second period of play. After shooting just 2-of-7 in the first half, she opened the second half with eight points on 3-for-4 shooting. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt finally got her first point of the game after drawing a foul on Allison Vernerey and making a free throw. The Tar Heel full-court press has drawn a few Duke turnovers, but the Blue Devils haven't let the lead slip below 17.
Duke 53, North Carolina 30 (14:22, second half): Alexis Jones started things off right for the Blue Devils in the second half, flying by the defense for an easy layup. Jones' hoop opened the flood gates inside for Duke, as Elizabeth Williams and Haley Peters quickly found success in the paint as well. While the Blue Devils were getting easy looks, the Tar Heels struggled mightily to score early in the half, allowing Duke to continue it's dominance by going on a 10-2 run.
Duke 39, North Carolina 24 (halftime): The post players for both teams—Elizabeth Williams and Waltiea Rolle—have had impressive showings in the first half. Williams was not only providing the points on offense—11 points on 4-of-9 shooting—but was also giving the North Carolina guards fits trying to force passes into the post. Rolle meanwhile, has 10 points in her own right, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Duke took charge in this game late in the first half, finishing the period on a 12-2 run starting at the 4:11 mark.
Key halftime stats:
- Duke outscored North Carolina 27-8 in the final 11:48 of the half.
- North Carolina shot just 28.6 percent from the field.
- The Blue Devils scored 14 points off eight Tar Heel turnovers.
- Duke holds a 20-11 rebounding advantage.
- The Blue Devils went without a turnover for the final 5:57 of the first half.
- Waltiea Rolle was the only Tar Heel to score in the final 12:30 of the half.
Duke 27, North Carolina 22 (3:59, first half): With Haley Peters on the bench to get some rest, the Duke offense went stagnant, as players began settling for long jumpers. Elizabeth Williams finally broke the Blue Devils out of their offensive stupor when she grabbed her own miss and connected with a put-back. Tricia Liston made her first basket of the game with a pretty floater on the baseline. For North Carolina, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt has been held in check all game, going 0-for-3 thus far.
Duke 23, North Carolina 20 (6:11, first half): Duke employed a defense-heavy lineup with good results, keeping the Tar Heels at bay while continuing to heat up on offense. Haley Peters got joined the scoring for the Blue Devils, hitting a three-pointer as well as two layups to give her nine points for the game. Peters is also a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, adding two rebounds.
Duke 12, North Carolina 16 (11:48, first half): Chloe Wells and Allison Vernerey worked a give-and-go to set Wells up with an easy hoop, but North Carolina continued their scoring onslaught with a triple from Brittany Rountree taken from way beyond the arc. Elizabeth Williams received the ball with good positioning inside to put in her second bucket of the afternoon while also drawing the contact. She'll be at the line for one more after the media timeout.
Duke 8, North Carolina 11 (14:16, first half): Neither team could find their groove offensively in the first few minutes of action, misfiring from mid-range on both ends of the court. Points finally started going up on the board when the teams were able to get inside for easy layups. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, the Tar Heels' leading scorer, picked up two fouls in just a minute and a half, relegating her to the bench. Latifah Coleman, who replaced Ruffin-Pratt, provided the offense for North Carolina, scoring seven quick points.
Duke Starters: G Alexis Jones, G Tricia Liston, F Richa Jackson, F Haley Peters, C Elizabeth Williams
North Carolina Starters: G Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, G Brittany Rountree, F Krista Gross, F Xylina McDaniel, C Waltiea Rolle
Pregame: No. 6 Duke faces off against No. 15 North Carolina in the ACC tournament finals today at the Greensboro Coliseum. The tournament's top seed, the Blue Devils advanced to the finals by defeating a formidable Florida State team by the score of 72-66 behind junior Haley Peters' 17 points and 13 rebounds. The Tar Heels, meanwhile, advanced to today's game after edging Maryland in their semifinal game. This is the third time these Tobacco Road rivals are meeting this season, with Duke winning the first by 21 points, but the second by only seven. The Blue Devils are 5-3 all-time against North Carolina in the ACC finals, with their last win coming in 2011.
Follow along all afternoon right here at the Blue Zone and on Twitter @chroniclesports.
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