Jan. 30, 2012
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - No. 3 Connecticut traveled to Cameron Indoor Stadium and made itself right at home inside No. 5 Duke's famously noisy arena.
UConn, the last visiting team to win at Cameron, snapped the Blue Devils' 34-game home winning streak with a 61-45 victory Monday night, forcing Duke to miss 19 consecutive shots during one stretch.
The Huskies made the Blue Devils look panicked and uncomfortable while holding them to a season-low 24.6 percent shooting and keeping them without a basket for roughly 12 minutes en route to their 10th straight win.
"This particular group, I'm surprised, but we're a really good defensive team. ... It's difficult for teams to get comfortable against us, because you might have a different kid guarding you every time down the floor," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "But the effort was unbelievable. We kind of pride ourselves on that. We think we're the best defensive team in the country, and kids buy into that. And they're not an easy team to defend."
Maybe not, but at times UConn sure made it look that way.
Chelsea Gray scored 13 points for the Blue Devils (17-3), who had won 11 straight overall. It was their first setback at Cameron since UConn visited two years ago and handed them an 81-48 loss.
Elizabeth Williams added 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting for Duke, and her layup with just under 18 minutes left was the Blue Devils' last basket until Haley Peters hit a 3-pointer with fewer than 6 minutes remaining.
Duke finished with only eight assists on its 17 baskets after its offense too often disintegrated into one-on-one battles and not enough passing against an aggressive UConn defense that Auriemma said was determined to take away the lane and turn the Blue Devils into a jump-shooting team.
"It's a great lesson for our team. A great lesson on what not to do offensively, and how not to, I guess, rush yourself and do some things that we" shouldn't do, coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
Duke trailed by 14 late in the first half before putting together a 12-3 run that bridged the break. The Blue Devils forced five turnovers in the first six minutes of the half, and Williams helped Duke close to 34-29 with a free throw with 17:19 left.
That's when UConn took over and began stretching its lead with 3-pointers. The Huskies hit four - two by Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis - in a 9-minute stretch before Tiffany Hayes added a bucket in the lane, pushing it to 50-33 with just over 7 minutes left, and Duke didn't get closer than 12 the rest of the way.
"They did a good job of clogging the lane a little bit, and sometimes we would take too many dribbles," Gray said.
The Huskies entered with the nation's toughest defense by shooting percentage, holding opponents to 30 percent. They forced the Blue Devils into their worst shooting night by far - their previous low was 32 percent in a loss to Notre Dame.
"That's how you want to play on the road," Hartley said.
The Huskies have dominated this series lately, winning five straight and routing Duke twice last season - including a 36-point loss that ended the Blue Devils' unbeaten start to 2010-11 and a 35-point romp in the NCAA tournament with a Final Four berth on the line.
Unlike those two meetings, this one wasn't over at halftime.
"I hope this team thinks we can beat anybody, and there's something wrong with them if they don't," McCallie said. "And they're really going to regret when they see this film (Tuesday)."
Dolson gave UConn its largest lead of the half when her layup with just under 3 minutes left made it 31-17.
Gray had 11 points at halftime on 4-of-10 shooting - with three 3-pointers - while the rest of the Blue Devils were a combined 6 of 24 from the field. Duke's 31-23 halftime deficit marked the first time it trailed at the break, and its 29 percent shooting was a season low for a first half.