Terps Drop Close Contest Against Duke

Despite 18 points from Rodgers, the Terps could not secure a win over Duke in the final minutes.

On Thursday, January 6, the No. 14/15 Maryland Terrapins (13-2, 0-1 ACC) revealed the truly reenergized, reloaded nature of the 2010-2011 team in their first ACC game of the season, but were unable to secure victory against the No. 3/3 Duke Blue Devils (15-0, 1-0 ACC), losing in Cameron Indoor Stadium, 71-64.

From the opening tip until the final seconds of regulation the Terps fiercely competed, showcasing the nearly palpable will to win of which they have spoken so vehemently all season.

After a layup by senior guard Karima Christmas gave Duke a lead of 13-8 early in the first half, the Terps went on a 17-2 run to achieve what would be the largest lead of the game, an encouraging 25-15 advantage with 8:43 remaining in the half.

Largely responsible for the run was junior guard Kim Rodgers, who had arguably her best performance of the season, recording a career-high and team-high 18 points for the Terps.

Rodgers, who had struggled from the 3-point line this season, appeared unyieldingly calm and increasingly confident, as she made three 3-pointers and appeared as an important force in the Terps’ transition offense.

Although 3-pointers by senior guard Jasmine Thomas and freshman guard Tricia Liston aided Duke in decreasing Maryland’s lead and a layup by senior center Krystal Thomas tied the score, the Terps were able to regain a lead going into halftime.

Freshman center Alicia DeVaughn muscled her way to the basket to recapture the Maryland lead and junior center Lynetta Kizer scored on a last second hook shot to put the Terps up 33-29 at the break.

The Terps exited the court having just handed the Blue Devils their largest halftime deficit of the season.

The Terps and Blue Devils continued to battle intensely into the second half, resulting in seven ties for the second half alone.

Like any thrilling rivalry, the teams seemed evenly matched, and neither team was able to gain a lead greater than four points for the majority of the second half.

However, in the final two minutes, Jasmine Thomas spurred an 11-4 run to clinch victory for the Blue Devils. Thomas, who proved an essential spark for the Blue Devils in recent close victories over Xavier and Kentucky, scored 7 of her 22 points in the final two minutes.

With 2:41 remaining the Terps had a 60-58 lead following a steal by junior guard Anjale Barrett and a fast break layup by Kizer.

Nonetheless, Jasmine Thomas buried a 3-pointer with 1:58 remaining to put Duke up 61-60, freshman guard Chelsea Gray capitalized on Maryland turnovers for two fast break layups, and the Blue Devils gained six free throw attempts to extend a permanent lead.

Although Jasmine Thomas’ veteran experience ultimately keyed Duke’s surge in the final minutes, the young Terps team demonstrated great strength throughout the contest and showed marked progression even since the beginning of the season.

Sophomore forward Diandra Tchatchouang emerged more fully as an indomitable force in the paint, displaying grit against a physical Duke squad to record 14 points and 9 rebounds for the Terps.

Freshman forward sensation Alyssa Thomas earned her first career double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds, and continued to demonstrate her seemingly inexhaustible energy and striking composure.

Barrett proved a steadying, experienced presence for the Terps, seeming to more fully develop her assertiveness and leadership. Barrett shone under the pressure of the match-up, dishing a career-high 10 assists and grabbing a career-high 4 steals.

Finally, DeVaughn further demonstrated the value of her height, strength, and unrelenting determination, dominantly blocking 3 shots and acting as one of the Terps’ most effective frontcourt defenders, reliably collapsing on baseline drives and contributing to help defense.

The Terps will face their second ACC opponent of the season next Thursday, January 13, when they host Boston College at Comcast Center.

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