Three-point sharpshooting buoyed the third-ranked Cardinals' 22-point win against the Blue Devils.
Louisville hit its stride from long-range, converting half of its 24 attempts behind the arc.
While senior star Asia Durr usually headlines the recap, Arica Carter’s sharpshooting from downtown stole the show Sunday afternoon at Cameron. Carter converted 7-of-10 attempts from deep and led all scorers with 23 points.
“We can do a better spot on her and getting our hands up,” said head coach Joanne P. McCallie. “But without question, she had a great game.”
In the first quarter, Carter drained a dizzying 4 threes in 2:23 of play. Even when Duke defenders had hands in her face, Carter’s composed, silky shot sailed through the orange rim.
The Cardinals had multiple long-range threats in the contest. Dana Evans came off the bench to knock down two of her four 3-point attempts and Durr also contributed two triples.
The Blue Devils’ 3-point shooting, by contrast, left much to be desired. Duke succumbed to Louisville’s strong perimeter defense and only converted a dismal 15.4 percent of its long-range attempts. Miela Goodchild, usually the Blue Devils’ strongest player from behind the arc, went 0-for-5 in the contest. Goodchild came in to the game ranked 10th in the nation with her 48.3 percent clip from three but couldn’t find any rhythm. Louisville made it tough for Goodchild, effectively getting out to her on the catch and going over ball screens to contest her long range looks.
While Duke wasn’t able to overcome its lack of poise in the first and fourth quarters, the Blue Devils battled back in the second and third quarters. In a physical matchup between the two ACC squads that limited Durr’s production, layups, and free throws kept the Blue Devils in the contest.
“Defensively, there are many good things we did,” McCallie said. “Kept Durr to 13 points, 9 points down from her average. I liked that we went to the free throw line more than they did. I liked that we outrebounded them, 13 offensive boards for us.”
There are some silver linings behind the loss. Duke dampered Durr’s offensive firepower, and didn’t allow the 2018 ACC Player of the Year and WBCA first-team All-American to score her average of 21.5 points. As a team, the Blue Devils put in 17 of their 22 shots from the charity stripe. And, coming off of a tough loss against N.C. State where rebounding determined the outcome of the game, McCallie’s squad snatched 39 rebounds compared to the Cardinals’ 34. Duke’s fight inside certainly made it much easier to get its 28 points in the paint, a crucial statistic when their outside shooting wasn’t working.
Leaonna Odom's 16 points, seven rebounds and Haley Gorecki's 15 points, three assists showed strong performances for Duke despite the loss. Odom penetrated well in transition, getting six of her 11 shots from the floor to go. Odom also sank four of her six free throws. Gorecki continued her lackluster shooting from the floor with just a 27.3 percent conversion rate Sunday, but anchored her performance with a 7-of-8 performance at the line.
Overall, in the grind-it-out play against a team that made it to last year’s Final Four, Duke showed moments of resilience but couldn’t make up for its subpar efficiency on offense. Sloppy turnovers—a staggering 24 on the day—dashed any of Duke’s hopes to take down Louisville.
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The Blue Devils will have to lick their wounds, find a way to limit their turnovers, and capitalize on their open looks in order to take down Georgia Tech Thursday evening in Atlanta.