No. 2 Duke fends off No. 23 Seminoles, advances to ACC title game
If the Duke Blue Devils needed a test to prove they deserve a shot at the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament championship, they certainly got it Saturday against Florida State.
The Blue Devils never trailed on the way to a 72-66 victory in the first semifinal game at the Greensboro Coliseum, but the Seminoles also never let them get a comfortable lead.
Duke (29-2) will face North Carolina (28-5), which beat Maryland 72-65 in Saturday’s other semifinal, in today’s championship game (2 p.m., ESPN2).
“I really do feel that, this time of year, it’s very much about what we do and what we’re trying to do to get ready for the NCAA Tournament,” McCallie said of facing either team in the title game. “Obviously, they are two excellent teams. ... It would be exactly what you would expect with either team. ...
“All I keep thinking about is (that) you just want that opportunity for your team, because it’s such a great game. It will be physical regardless.”
Haley Peters, who grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and matched Tricia Liston with 17 points, put the Blue Devils ahead to stay on a follow shot with 4:06 left.
After that, the Blue Devils kept pressure on FSU’s Leonor Rodriguez, who missed five shots in the final 2:44 while Duke was sealing the win at the free throw line. Rodriguez finished with five points, 10 below her team-high season average, while making only one of 14 shots from the field.
Back-to-back drives by Alexis Jones gave Duke a 66-60 lead with 2:11 remaining, and Liston made four free throws and Elizabeth Williams had a pair for Duke in the final minute.
“I feel comfortable with going to the line and being able to knock down free throws,” Liston said. “I take pride in my free throws, so I don’t really mind going to the free throw line. I do enjoy it; I’d like to keep producing from there.”
Duke scored the first nine points of the game, as FSU struggled offensively and didn’t score until a 3-pointer by Alexa Deluzio with 15:37 remaining.
The Blue Devils built the lead to eight with 1:55 left, but Yashira Delgado scored inside for FSU 25 seconds remaining and then banked in a 3-pointer from near midcourt at the buzzer to trim the margin to 34-31.
Each team went to the free throw line once in the first half, when only a combined three fouls were called.
McCallie said that is part of the preparation for postseason play.
“I would say no if you’re thinking about the NCAA Tournament, thinking about what things are like when you get up to the final games (of the season),” McCallie said when asked if she was surprised by the low number of fouls. “At the NCAA Tournament, it’s important not to call the quick fouls.
“The idea is that as the season progresses, ... there’s a lot of ticky-tack stuff that gets called unnecessarily and they’re trying to clean that up. I just want it to be consistent. ... I did not find myself arguing on either side.”
NOTES — Liston’s three 3-pointers give her the Duke single-season record with 69, moving by Jessica Foley (2004-05) and Abby Waner (2006-07). ... Williams had three shot blocks against the Seminoles, giving her at least one in each of her 64 games to set a Duke record. ... The Blue Devils have not lost to FSU in seven ACC Tournament matchups and lead the series 35-8, including the past six. ... Duke is 21-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points.
|No. 6 DUKE 72, No. 23 FLORIDA STATE 66|
Percentages: FG .379, FT .909.
3-Point Goals: 6-17, .353 (Deluzio 3-6, Coleman 1-1, Delgado 1-2, Rodriguez 1-8).
Team Rebounds: 9.
Blocked Shots: 2 (Howard, Deluzio).
Turnovers: 12 (Deluzio 4, Rodriguez 3, Delgado 2, Davis 2, Howard).
Steals: 7 (Rodriguez 2, Davis, Howard, Delgado, Coleman, Deluzio).
Technical Fouls: Howard.
Percentages: FG .460, FT .900.
3-Point Goals: 5-16, .313 (Liston 3-7, Peters 1-2, Jackson 1-3, Jones 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Wells 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 6.
Blocked Shots: 5 (Williams 3, Vernerey, Wells).
Turnovers: 17 (Peters 5, Jones 5, Liston 3, Williams 2, Jackson 2).
Steals: 5 (Wells 2, Liston, Williams, Jackson).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials—Sue Blauch, Eric Brewton, Wesley Dean.