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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  ACC 2nd Round: #8 Duke 57, #9 UVa 52
Narrow Escape for Blue Devils
March 3, 2016

 
By John Mundy, Photos by Orin Day

Coliseum Escape
Oderah Chidom scored a game high 20 points as #8 seed Duke held on for a 57-53 ACC Tournament Second Round victory over #9 Virginia. The game was marked by the return of Azura Stevens from injury but also the absence of Rebecca Greenwell who was held out with a back injury. Duke advances to face #1 seed Notre Dame in the second Friday quarterfinal at 2 PM.
DWHoops Photo by Orin Day


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GREENSBORO -- Duke sophomore Azura Stevens returned to the Blue Devils' starting lineup Thursday, just in time to score 15 points and grab 14 rebounds in a 57-53 victory over Virginia in the second round of the ACC Women's Tournament. Stevens' double-double was remarkable, considering that she had been unable to play or even practice leading up to the tournament. Duke also got considerable help from Oderah Chidom, who finished with 20 points as the Blue Devils tried to advance without injured Rebecca Greenwell in the lineup.

Virginia led by as many as 9 in the first quarter, despite 6-10 shooting by the Blue Devils. They carried that lead into the second period and led 22-15 with 7:17 left before Chidom and Stevens sparked a 15-2 run that gave Duke a 30-24 lead with 1:32 to play in the half. Virginia scored the last two baskets of the half, however, leaving the Devils hanging on to a slim 30-29 lead.

Duke was able to stretch its lead in the third quarter, partly due to the Cavaliers' abysmal shooting. Virginia went 4-17 in the period and missed all five three-pointers attempted. Duke didn't fare much better from the floor, but rebounding and second chance points enabled the Blue Devils to gradually extend to a 43-38 lead going into the home stretch.

The fourth quarter is normally not an ideal time for a team to go cold, but that's exactly what happened to the Blue Devils, as Virginia erased a six-point margin to take a 53-50 lead with 2:45 left. While Duke was ice-cold, the Cavaliers began to crawl out of their offensive doldrums. Virginia shot 5-11 in the final period, and looked poised to steal a victory and advance to the ACC quarterfinal round. However, the Cavaliers wouldn't score again and Duke escaped with the victory.

Duke won the game despite shooting a whopping 31 percent from the floor and turning the ball over 17 times. As poor as they were on offense Duke simply dominated the glass, winning the rebounding battle 49-32. Stevens and Chidom account for 24 of those rebounds, while Kyra Lambert added 7 more to the total. Virginia, too, had a poor night shooting the ball (36%) but went 8-19 from behind the three-point arc. The threes are was kept the Wahoos close, especially since Duke was 1-15 from three. That's right. One.

Next up for the Blue Devils is a meeting with No. 1 Notre Dame, the two-time defending ACC champion, and the proverbial monkey on everyone's back. For the Blue Devils to have a chance, Chidom and Stevens are going to need some help. Some outside shots would help, as well. McCallie agreed.

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