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  ACC Semifinal: #2 Duke 66, #6 UNC 61
Third Time Charm for Devils
March 8, 2014

 
By Rob Clough, Photos by Orin Day

Duke's Ka'lia Johnson bolstered the Blue Devils' depleted guard corps, helping lead them to a 66-61 win over UNC and a Sunday night championship date with Notre Dame.
Photo by Orin Day - Full Gallery Below

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In an epic, intense game that was one of the most memorable battles between the two programs in the ACC tournament, Duke (27-5) defeated arch-rival UNC (24-9) in the second semifinal. Unlike the first two games between the old foes, where the Heels quickly took control of the game and forced Duke to come back over the course of the entire game, this game was far closer throughout and featured mini-comebacks by both teams. The Devils blew out to a quick 8-0 lead behind a three by Haley Peters and five quick points by Tricia Liston. Duke held the Heels at arm's length for a few minutes, but UNC's Diamond DeShields and Allisha Gray both hit tough jump shots to forestall a potentially large early lead for the Devils. Both teams played intense defense and clogged up driving lanes and easy looks at the basket. Every shot was contested, but Stephanie Mavunga hit a short baseline jumper to tie the score at 14-14.

The Devils started to get easier looks at the basket, as Richa Jackson twice scored on physical drives to the basket. She managed to find a gap in the coverage and squeezed through it to get to the hoop. A stickback by Elizabeth Williams gave Duke a six point lead. DeShields buried a trey to keep the Heels close, but the Devils kept manufacturing points inside. However, Duke missed out on extending their lead when they missed a few free throws. DeShields tied the game at 28 with another contested jumper, but Duke's Ka'lia Johnson drove hard to the hoop for a score. DeShields missed a jumper as the half wound down, but Mavunga scored on a three point play to tie the game at the half. As one might expect, the stats were close, though the Heels had the edge in points off turnovers (7-4) and second chance point 8-5. The Devils were +5 on the boards and mostly avoided foul trouble. This would become very important down the stretch, as three Heels picked up two fouls apiece in the first period.

The Heels came out in the second half and drained back-to-back threes by Gray and DeShields. Duke quickly stopped the bleeding with a drive by Haley Peters, but DeShields hit another three to give UNC their biggest lead at seven. Williams scored inside, but DeShields sank another long-range basket to make it 43-35 just three minutes into the half. Duke responded with a 7-0 run capped by a Liston three, but the Heels continued to hold Duke at arm's length. With about eleven minutes to go, UNC did not take advantage of a drought by Duke to extend the lead. Jackson scored on a drive to cut the lead to three, and then a competitive game got a whole lot more intense.

DeShields sank a three contested by Peters and then yelled in Peters' face. She was immediately whistled for a technical foul, consistent with what happened earlier in the tournament when Nariah Taylor of Georgia Tech was t'd up after yelling in a player's face after a block. Liston sank both foul shots but Jackson turned the ball over, and the Heels restored their six point lead on a nifty jump-and-dump from DeShields in the lane to Mavunga in the low post. Duke's Amber Henson found herself open and rattled in a jumper from the top of the key. After UNC hit a foul shot, Johnson was fouled going up after grabbing an offensive board, sinking both to make it 55-52 in favor of UNC. McDaniel missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Williams found Johnson alone in the corner for a huge trey that tied the game at 55 with five minutes to go.

Mavunga and DeShields scored to make the margin four again. After a Duke miss, Mavunga missed the front end of another one-and-one and then missed a layup. DeShields then threw the ball away, giving Duke several more chances of hanging in. Liston finally sank a trey to make it 59-58 with two minutes to go. McDaniel hit one foul shot, but Williams stuck back a missed layup by Peters, knotting the game at 60 with 1:18 left. UNC's Latifah Coleman badly missed a layup, but Williams blocked Mavunga's follow up shot and Johnson rebounded it and was fouled. That play fouled out Mavunga, and Johnson, a 68% foul shooter this season, confidently swished both. Williams fouled out when she hit UNC's N'Dea Bryant on the arm, but Bryant only hit one shot. After a mad scramble across the floor that featured Duke attempting to inbound the ball several times, Duke reserve Oderah Chidom was fouled. A 55% foul shooter, she calmly sank both shots. DeShields loaded up a three that went in and out and was rebounded by Chidom. Fouled again, the nets barely moved as she hit both shots. That made it 66-61 and clinched the game for the Devils. It was a tough loss for the Heels, who were on the verge of making it very difficult for Duke to come back but couldn't quite get there. Both teams had to fight hard to score and both teams made mistakes but rarely allowed their opponent to quickly take advantage of them. One of the most important stats of the game for Duke was that they had a 4-0 edge in fast break points. This speaks to the way Duke didn't allow live-ball turnovers and controlled the game's tempo.

Top Performers

  1. Tricia Liston, Duke. 17 points, 2 rebounds. Liston kept firing away until she helped bring Duke back into the game.

  2. Diamond DeShields, UNC. 25 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals. DeShields hit a lot of tough shots and almost won the game for the Heels down the stretch.

  3. Elizabeth Williams, Duke. 12 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks. Liz battled hard all game long and had the game-saving block against Stephanie Mavunga.

  4. Allisha Gray, UNC. 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks. Gray's three point shooting hurt Duke, especially at the beginning of the second half.

Game Analysis

Why Duke Won: The Devils won because they fully embraced their new identity as a team that relies on defense, rebounding and manufacturing points. They were +7 on the boards against a team that dominated them last time out and won the points in the paint battle 28-14. The Devils also hit just enough of their hard-won foul shots to win the game.

Why UNC Lost: The Heels didn't get quite enough balance on offense, as Xylina McDaniel was held in check and the Heels were mostly a jump-shooting team. That jump shooting was nearly enough to win them the game, but they had opportunities to put Duke away in the second half and squandered them with quick or contested shots.

The Game Turned When...: UNC's Diamond DeShields got whistled for a technical foul for taunting with eight minutes left. The game went to a whole other level of intensity after that for both teams, but Duke in particular started to crawl back into the game by making tough shots, tying the game at 55 and sending the game to its thrilling conclusion in the final five minutes.

X-Factor: Ka'lia Johnson. Once again, Johnson was the spark that Duke needed at both ends. She made mistakes, but for every bad play she had three crucial hustle plays. Her aggressiveness and confidence in the face of the challenge in front of her has been remarkable.

Key Stat: Bench scoring: Duke 10, UNC 3. The Heels came into this game as the deeper team, but Duke's bench wound up being more productive, allowing the Devils to substitute liberally and for long periods of time.

Areas for Improvement: Duke had 17 turnovers, though few of them came from live ball errors. The Devils also lost Gray several times early in the second half, though they did a better job of it in the second half. The Heels lost their focus a bit after they took a second half lead, especially on the defensive end where Duke was able to drive to the hoop.

Ramifications: Duke has likely reclaimed a #2 seed in the NCAA with the win. They'll have a chance to redeem themselves against the other team that swept them this year in Notre Dame, though that will obviously be a far greater challenge. The Heels will likely be a three or four seed, depending on the outcome of other games.

They Said It: "What Notre Dame brings to the league is what Connecticut did for Notre Dame. Connecticut taught Notre Dame you've got to execute. You've got to be able to score. This is a league that's been more defensive dominated...Notre Dame brings to the game precision...on the offensive end and good position defense. They're going to make everybody in the league have to step it up to play because of the precision on the offensive end." -- UNC associate head coach Andrew Calder, on the upcoming Duke-Notre Dame final.

DWHoops Photos by Orin Day

Unedited photos are published below, we'll be working to add captions and tags to these photos soon.

Link to this Photo Opening tip
Opening tip

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams  - UNC Players: #2 Latifah Coleman
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Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
 
UNC Tags: #2 Latifah Coleman

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #15 Richa Jackson - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
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Duke Tags: #15 Richa Jackson
 
UNC Tags: #23 Diamond DeShields

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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
ACCWBBDigest Photo
 
UNC Tags: #23 Diamond DeShields

Link to this Photo Rejection by Williams  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams  - UNC Players: #34 Xylina McDaniel
Rejection by Williams
 
Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
 
UNC Tags: #34 Xylina McDaniel

Link to this Photo Gray hits straight on  - Duke Tags: #12 Chelsea Gray
Gray hits straight on
 
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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters
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Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
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UNC Tags: #23 Diamond DeShields
Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #32 Tricia Liston
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Duke Tags: #32 Tricia Liston

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #2 Latifah Coleman
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UNC Tags: #2 Latifah Coleman

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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #22 Oderah Chidom
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Duke Tags: #22 Oderah Chidom

Link to this Photo Butts down after colliding with Elizabeth Williams  - UNC Players: #10 Danielle Butts
Butts down after colliding with Elizabeth Williams
 
UNC Tags: #10 Danielle Butts

Link to this Photo Contusion below the eye of Danielle Butts  - UNC Players: #10 Danielle Butts
Contusion below the eye of Danielle Butts
 
UNC Tags: #10 Danielle Butts

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Link to this Photo Butts helped to bench  - UNC Players: #10 Danielle Butts
Butts helped to bench
 
UNC Tags: #10 Danielle Butts

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: Assistant Coach Andrew Calder
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UNC Tags: Assistant Coach Andrew Calder

Link to this Photo Heels swarm for a rebound  - UNC Players: #2 Latifah Coleman, #22 N'Dea Bryant, #30 Hillary Summers
Heels swarm for a rebound
 
UNC Tags: #2 Latifah Coleman, #22 N'Dea Bryant, #30 Hillary Summers
Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters - UNC Players: #11 Brittany Rountree
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Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters
 
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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
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Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
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UNC Tags: #1 Stephanie Mavunga

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams  - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
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Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
 
UNC Tags: #1 Stephanie Mavunga

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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: Assistant Coach Ivory Latta
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UNC Tags: Assistant Coach Ivory Latta

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #30 Amber Henson - UNC Players: #24 Jessica Washington
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Duke Tags: #30 Amber Henson
 
UNC Tags: #24 Jessica Washington

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #30 Amber Henson
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Duke Tags: #30 Amber Henson
Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
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UNC Tags: #1 Stephanie Mavunga

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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
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Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #34 Xylina McDaniel
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UNC Tags: #34 Xylina McDaniel

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #15 Richa Jackson - UNC Players: #24 Jessica Washington
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Duke Tags: #15 Richa Jackson
 
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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
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UNC Tags: #23 Diamond DeShields
Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
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UNC Tags: #1 Stephanie Mavunga

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson
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Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson

Link to this Photo Foul on DeShields, reaching in  - Duke Tags: #32 Tricia Liston - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
Foul on DeShields, reaching in
 
Duke Tags: #32 Tricia Liston
 
UNC Tags: #23 Diamond DeShields

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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
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UNC Tags: #1 Stephanie Mavunga

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
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UNC Tags: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
Link to this Photo Halftime entertainment
Halftime entertainment

Link to this Photo Halftime entertainment
Halftime entertainment
Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
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Link to this Photo Butts back on the bench in dark glasses after the eye injury  - UNC Players: #10 Danielle Butts, #24 Jessica Washington
Butts back on the bench in dark glasses after the eye injury
 
UNC Tags: #10 Danielle Butts, #24 Jessica Washington

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams  - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
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Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
 
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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson
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Link to this Photo A good look at press row in addition to Liston  - Duke Tags: #32 Tricia Liston
A good look at press row in addition to Liston
 
Duke Tags: #32 Tricia Liston

Link to this Photo Same team!  - UNC Players: #15 Allisha Gray, #34 Xylina McDaniel
Same team!
 
UNC Tags: #15 Allisha Gray, #34 Xylina McDaniel

Link to this Photo Wide open Diamond  - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
Wide open Diamond
 
UNC Tags: #23 Diamond DeShields
Link to this Photo Ball kid
Ball kid

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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson - UNC Players: #15 Allisha Gray
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Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson
 
UNC Tags: #15 Allisha Gray
Link to this Photo Foul on Jackson
Foul on Jackson

Link to this Photo Duke bench after a Peters three  - Duke Tags: #21 Kendall McCravey-Cooper
Duke bench after a Peters three
 
Duke Tags: #21 Kendall McCravey-Cooper
Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson
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Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: Joanne P. McCallie
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Duke Tags: Joanne P. McCallie

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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson
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Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson
Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #11 Brittany Rountree
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UNC Tags: #11 Brittany Rountree

Link to this Photo Key sequence: DeShields hits a three over Peters  - Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
Key sequence: DeShields hits a three over Peters
 
Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters
 
UNC Tags: #23 Diamond DeShields
Link to this Photo Key sequence: Technical foul on DeShields for taunting
Key sequence: Technical foul on DeShields for taunting

Link to this Photo Key sequence: DeShields takes responsibility for the technical  - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
Key sequence: DeShields takes responsibility for the technical
 
UNC Tags: #23 Diamond DeShields
Link to this Photo Key sequence: Referee Bryan Brunette speaks to the UNC bench  - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga, #23 Diamond DeShields
Key sequence: Referee Bryan Brunette speaks to the UNC bench
 
UNC Tags: #1 Stephanie Mavunga, #23 Diamond DeShields

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Link to this Photo Key sequence: Coach Latta speaks to DeShields after the T  - UNC Players: Assistant Coach Ivory Latta, #23 Diamond DeShields
Key sequence: Coach Latta speaks to DeShields after the T
 
UNC Tags: Assistant Coach Ivory Latta, #23 Diamond DeShields
Link to this Photo Key sequence: Belated bench reaction to the technical-marred DeShields three  - UNC Players: #24 Jessica Washington
Key sequence: Belated bench reaction to the technical-marred DeShields three
 
UNC Tags: #24 Jessica Washington

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: Assistant Coach Ivory Latta
ACCWBBDigest Photo
 
UNC Tags: Assistant Coach Ivory Latta

Link to this Photo Big two for Amber Henson, Duke trails 54-50  - Duke Tags: #30 Amber Henson
Big two for Amber Henson, Duke trails 54-50
 
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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
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Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters
 
UNC Tags: #23 Diamond DeShields

Link to this Photo Duke inbounds play  - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
Duke inbounds play
 
UNC Tags: #1 Stephanie Mavunga

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson - UNC Players: #15 Allisha Gray
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Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson
 
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Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams  - UNC Players: #34 Xylina McDaniel
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Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
 
UNC Tags: #34 Xylina McDaniel
Link to this Photo Mavunga stickback puts the Heels ahead 57-55  - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
Mavunga stickback puts the Heels ahead 57-55
 
UNC Tags: #1 Stephanie Mavunga

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: #34 Xylina McDaniel
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UNC Tags: #34 Xylina McDaniel
Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - UNC Players: Assistant Coach Billy Lee
ACCWBBDigest Photo
 
UNC Tags: Assistant Coach Billy Lee

Link to this Photo The Digest writing crew (Mike Potter, Rob Clough, JP Mundy) watch Richa Jackson shoot a three  - Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson
The Digest writing crew (Mike Potter, Rob Clough, JP Mundy) watch Richa Jackson shoot a three
 
Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson

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Link to this Photo This would be a charge call  - Duke Tags: #15 Richa Jackson
This would be a charge call
 
Duke Tags: #15 Richa Jackson

Link to this Photo Diamond takes the charge from Richa Jackson
Diamond takes the charge from Richa Jackson

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
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Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters
 
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Link to this Photo Knotted at 60 with 1:18 left
Knotted at 60 with 1:18 left
Link to this Photo Coleman misses a layup over Williams  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams  - UNC Players: #2 Latifah Coleman
Coleman misses a layup over Williams
 
Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
 
UNC Tags: #2 Latifah Coleman

Link to this Photo Williams rejects Mavunga's stickback try  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams  - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
Williams rejects Mavunga's stickback try
 
Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
 
UNC Tags: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
Link to this Photo Butts in dark glasses after a first half eye injury  - UNC Players: #10 Danielle Butts
Butts in dark glasses after a first half eye injury
 
UNC Tags: #10 Danielle Butts

Link to this Photo Looking for a jump ball after Mavunga fouled out
Looking for a jump ball after Mavunga fouled out
Link to this Photo It may be getting away from UNC here  - UNC Players: #23 Diamond DeShields
It may be getting away from UNC here
 
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Link to this Photo Mavunga fouled out with 44 seconds left  - UNC Players: #1 Stephanie Mavunga
Mavunga fouled out with 44 seconds left
 
UNC Tags: #1 Stephanie Mavunga

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: Joanne P. McCallie
ACCWBBDigest Photo
 
Duke Tags: Joanne P. McCallie

Link to this Photo Williams would fall into Bryant for foul #5  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams  - UNC Players: #22 N'Dea Bryant
Williams would fall into Bryant for foul #5
 
Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
 
UNC Tags: #22 N'Dea Bryant
Link to this Photo Disbelief at foul #5  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
Disbelief at foul #5
 
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Link to this Photo Williams takes a seat with 34 seconds left  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
Williams takes a seat with 34 seconds left
 
Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams
Link to this Photo Gray almost steals the Duke inbound pass  - Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters - UNC Players: #15 Allisha Gray
Gray almost steals the Duke inbound pass
 
Duke Tags: #33 Haley Peters
 
UNC Tags: #15 Allisha Gray

Link to this Photo Carolina forced to foul and Chidom seemed a good choice  - Duke Tags: #22 Oderah Chidom - UNC Players: #34 Xylina McDaniel
Carolina forced to foul and Chidom seemed a good choice
 
Duke Tags: #22 Oderah Chidom
 
UNC Tags: #34 Xylina McDaniel

Link to this Photo Chidom made two free throws for a 64-61 Duke lead  - Duke Tags: #22 Oderah Chidom
Chidom made two free throws for a 64-61 Duke lead
 
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Link to this Photo Chidom grabbed the rebound off a DeShields miss and was immediately fouled by Coleman  - Duke Tags: #22 Oderah Chidom - UNC Players: #2 Latifah Coleman
Chidom grabbed the rebound off a DeShields miss and was immediately fouled by Coleman
 
Duke Tags: #22 Oderah Chidom
 
UNC Tags: #2 Latifah Coleman

Link to this Photo ACCWBBDigest Photo  - Duke Tags: #21 Kendall McCravey-Cooper, #23 Rebecca Greenwell, Duke Bench
ACCWBBDigest Photo
 
Duke Tags: #21 Kendall McCravey-Cooper, #23 Rebecca Greenwell, Duke Bench

Link to this Photo It's over, Duke wins!  - Duke Tags: #14 Ka'lia Johnson, #33 Haley Peters
It's over, Duke wins!
 
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Link to this Photo Tough for UNC to battle hard and come up just short  - UNC Players: Assistant Coach Andrew Calder
Tough for UNC to battle hard and come up just short
 
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Link to this Photo Coach P enjoying the Duke victory  - Duke Tags: Joanne P. McCallie
Coach P enjoying the Duke victory
 
Duke Tags: Joanne P. McCallie

Link to this Photo Four Duke players with very different stories this season enjoying the win  - Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams , #2 Alexis Jones, #12 Chelsea Gray, #22 Oderah Chidom, Duke Team
Four Duke players with very different stories this season enjoying the win
 
Duke Tags: #1 Elizabeth Williams , #2 Alexis Jones, #12 Chelsea Gray, #22 Oderah Chidom, Duke Team


 

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