Blue Devils Drop Heels Again, 89-79

Alana Beard scored a game-high 31 points for the Blue Devils as Duke beat North Carolina for the second time this season.

In the days following a surprising loss at Florida State, Duke coach Gail Goestenkors told reserve Vicki Krapohl to start looking for her shot.

Krapohl and the Blue Devils are happy with the results.

The senior scored a career-high 20 points and went 6-for-10 from 3-point range to lead fourth-ranked Duke over No. 15 North Carolina 89-79 on Saturday.

Alana Beard scored a game-high 31 points for the Blue Devils (20-3, 11-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who reached the 20-victory plateau for the seventh straight season. The Blue Devils earned their 11th straight win over the Tar Heels (18-5, 8-4), who got 25 points from freshman Ivory Latta.

Krapohl set a career-high for the second time in three games since the loss to the Seminoles on Feb. 4. She had 18 points in a rout of Georgia Tech last weekend, but went scoreless in Thursday's win over Wake Forest.

In her last three games, Krapohl has hit 12 of 21 3-point attempts. She also had four assists and one steal with no turnovers in 28 minutes against the Tar Heels.

"We have so many great players that they can't stop everything," Krapohl said. "Today I got really wide open looks and I was able to knock them down."

It was just the second time the teams have met in the 21,750-seat Smith Center, home to the Tar Heels' men's basketball team. The game drew 10,278, a record crowd for a North Carolina women's home game.

Duke evened its record there thanks to steady outside shooting and the play of Beard and Krapohl. The Blue Devils shot 48 percent and went 12-for-23 from 3-point range. That offset the Tar Heels' 43-30 rebounding advantage - including a 20-13 edge on the offensive glass - and 46 percent shooting.

"When they shoot 3s like they shoot, it's hard to win," North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "They did have some open looks. But some of them were with our hands in their face."

While Krapohl helped the Blue Devils to a double-digit lead, Beard maintained it with momentum-killing shots in the second half. Beard went 9-for-16, including a 4-for-5 effort from 3-point range.

Beard, Krapohl and fellow senior Iciss Tillis combined for 65 points, providing veteran leadership against a North Carolina team led by freshmen Latta and Camille Little.

"We executed, got good looks when we needed to and I thought played with a lot of poise, especially in this environment," Goestenkors said.

Little, the Tar Heels' leading scorer at 14 points per game, scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half and finished with nine rebounds.

Krapohl hit three 3s in the first half, including one during a 12-1 Duke run to close the first half that gave the Blue Devils a 40-32 lead at the break.

Krapohl then hit 3s on two straight possessions after the break. The second gave the Blue Devils a 50-36 lead with 16:40 to play and forced the Tar Heels to call a timeout.

Beard celebrated by running to the 5-foot-5 reserve, hugging and lifting her off the ground.

Duke led by as many as 15 points before the Tar Heels made a run, closing to 73-65 on a 3 from Leah Metcalf with 7:09 to play.

But Beard hit a driving layup as the shot clock expired to push the lead back to 10 points. She then responded to a jumper from Metcalf with a 3 as the shot clock ticked down, pushing the lead to 78-67 with 5:06 left.

The Tar Heels later closed to seven on a 3 from Metcalf, but Beard drained a 3 from the left wing to make it 81-71 with 3:57 to play.

North Carolina got no closer than six points thereafter.

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