Duke didn’t win the national field hockey title Friday. It only looked that way after the final horn signaled the fifth-ranked Blue Devils’ stunning 3-2 decision over No. 1 Maryland in the Division I NCAA semifinals at Old Dominion University’s L.R. Hill Complex.
Tricia Liston scored 18 points while tying her career high of six 3-pointers and Alexis Jones added a season-high 17 points, leading six players in double figures as Duke cruised to an 88-69 victory Thursday night.
Duke (16-6), rated No. 5 nationally, will play top-ranked Maryland (22-1) at Norfolk, Va., today at 2 p.m. It’s the first time Duke has made the field hockey final four since 2006 Meanwhile, North Carolina (18-5) is making a habit of trips to the national semifinals. The Tar Heels have played for the NCAA championship each of the last four years, but haven’t won since 2009. UNC will play Connecticut in today’s second semifinal at 4:45 p.m.
Justise Winslow, a 6-6 small foward rated the No. 14 player in the Class of 2014 by ESPN, becomes Duke’s fourth recruit among the top 25 in the class, joining No. 1 C 6-11 Jahlil Okafor, No. 4 PG Tyus Jones and No. 24 SG Grayson Allen. All are 5-star recruits on a 0 to 5-star scale.
Duke (8-2, 4-2 in the ACC) has won six consecutive games and owns its most wins in one season since 1994. A win Saturday would bring Duke its first nine-win season since 1941.
Making its first 11 shots appeared enough for No. 6 Duke to put East Carolina away early on Tuesday night. The determined Pirates had other things to say. For the Blue Devils, though, the final words came from Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, their versatile stars who made the plays that delivered an 83-74 NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament win at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Hood scored a career-high 30 points, fueled by 12-of-12 free throw shooting. He made six free throws in the final two minutes as Duke, which had led by 18 points in the first half, held on after ECU (4-1) pulled within a point twice in the second half. Parker scored 21 points while also grabbing nine rebounds and blocking six shots.
At Duke, a half dozen players man the quarterback and running back positions in a time share, something that certainly isn’t part of anyone’s childhood dreams. But it works well for the Blue Devils.
Freshman Jabari Parker's 21-point, 10-rebound effort, his second consecutive double-double, helped Duke swat away UNC Asheville 91-55 Monday night in an NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament first-round game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
For first time since 1994, Blue Devils return to the rankings
Blue Devils roll Tide
Blue Devils welcome UNC-Ashville, ECU and Norfolk State to Cameron
The redshirt junior scored four times from inside the 5-yard line and became Duke’s all-time leader with 29 rushing touchdowns, surpassing the total of 28 set by Tom Davis from 1941-44.
Duke rallies from 17-7 hole early, 30-28 hole later and overwhelms No. 24 Miami as run game shines. The win, Duke's sixth straight, lifts the Blue Devils to 8-2, 4-2 ACC and allows Duke to control its own postseason destiny. If the Blue Devils can beat Wake Forest Saturday and UNC Nov. 30 -- both games will be played on the road -- Duke will win the ACC's Coastal Division championship and advance to the Dec. 7 ACC Championship game in Charlotte against No. 2 Florida State. A loss to Miami Saturday would have eliminated Duke from the Coastal title chase.
A clearly more aggressive Rodney Hood scored 28 points while Andre Dawkins shot his way to 17 as the No. 4 Blue Devils routed Florida Atlantic 97-64 at Cameron Indoor Stadium Friday night.
A popular saying around Duke’s campus is that people should always leave a place better than they found it. The Duke football seniors who will honored at their final home football against No. 24 Miami today (3:30 p.m., ESPNU), are walking examples of that motto.