With two legs of the guard trio of Kyra Lambert, Rebecca Greenwell and Lexie Brown missing, the Blue Devils are still searching for offensive consistency as they go into their first home game of the calendar year. 

No. 17 Duke hosts N.C. State Sunday afternoon at 3 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in search of its first conference win of the season. After a tough two-game skid on the road, with Brown getting bottled up by Miami and Louisville, the return home will be a welcome change.

Haley Gorecki stepped up big for the Blue Devils Thursday against the No. 3 Cardinals, scoring a career-high 25 points, but it was not enough to lead them to victory. Duke fell 66-60 against Louisville, an ACC foe it defeated 58-55 last season. 

Star graduate student Greenwell has missed five of the last six games due to knee pain, and is again a game-time decision against the Wolfpack on Sunday. Since Greenwell’s absence began and freshman point guard Mikayla Boykin tore her ACL, the Blue Devils have failed to score 70 points in five straight games. Duke averaged more than 70 points per game last season in ACC play. 

“She’s day-to-day, and it’s awful for her," head coach Joanne P. McCallie said of Greenwell after Thursday's game. "It’s awful for her team. It’s awful, period.” 

Duke will have to restore its offensive success to avoid dropping another game to N.C. State and to remain safely in the top 25. The fourth quarter of the Louisville matchup showed promise of a return to form, as the Blue Devils mounted a comeback with a 15-4 run to pull as close as three points in the final minutes. 

The Cardinals outrebounded Duke 35-29 and grabbed 16 offensive boards to the Blue Devils’ eight, leading to 12 second chance points.

“We just need more out of everybody on our team, myself included,” Brown said Thursday. “Also, we need to get our rebounding together. We gave them too many offensive rebounds and second chance points. We’ve just got to reflect, watch film, move on and not let this hinder the rest of our season.” 

The Wolfpack do not particularly excel from behind the arc or from the charity stripe, as no N.C. State players shoot better than 37 percent from 3-point range this year. They do, however, have four players averaging double-digit points per game. 

After a poor rebounding outing Thursday, Duke looks to focus on the boards as it faces N.C. State. The Wolfpack average 44.2 rebounds per game, 11.3 more than their opponents.

“Rebounding is pretty important. We didn’t quite get enough of those, and we certainly didn’t shoot enough free throws. We’ll have to look at that,” McCallie said. “We still have to do a better job of rebounding. We’ll learn from it—not going to dwell on it, but we’ll certainly learn from it.” 

The Blue Devils fell to then-No. 23 N.C. State last January in a heartbreaker in Raleigh 55-52. That Duke team was coming off wins against then-No. 3 South Carolina and then-No. 8 Louisville, and fell to the Wolfpack due to a bout of offensive stagnation. 

With 2:42 left in the game, Greenwell hit a jump shot to give the No. 12 Blue Devils a 52-51 lead after facing a 14-point halftime deficit. However, Duke did not score again, missing four straight shots—including three near the rim—and committing a turnover. 

“We’re going to play harder. We’re going to play better and harder,” McCallie said. “We’re like a freight train. We’re collecting steam from a lot of lessons, and we’re going to play better at home.”