Duke women stun No. 3 Gamecocks, 74-63
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke wants to show it once again belongs among the elite teams in women’s basketball. Beating No. 3 South Carolina is a good way to prove it.
Rebecca Greenwell scored seven of her 29 points in the final 5½ minutes, leading the Blue Devils past the Gamecocks 74-63 on Sunday.
“I think it shows we can play with anyone out there,” Greenwell said. “We knew that from the beginning of the season, but now it’s just showing it to others.”
Oderah Chidom added 15 points to help the Blue Devils (9-1) earn their first victory over a top-three opponent since they knocked off No. 3 Ohio State in 2009.
“I wanted to make a statement,” Chidom said, “and South Carolina’s a great team to do it against.”
Duke shot 50 percent and forced the Gamecocks (6-1) into a season-worst 19 turnovers, turning them into 28 points.
Coach Dawn Staley said her team played “undisciplined basketball.”
“We wanted to stay really close to Greenwell, because we know what she’s capable of,” Staley said. “And obviously, she made us pay.”
A’ja Wilson scored 18 points and Kaela Davis added 14 for South Carolina, which pulled to 66-60 on Bianca Cuevas-Moore’s 3-pointer with 1:41 left and immediately called timeout.
But the Gamecocks came out of that break and put six players on the court, earning them a technical foul. Greenwell hit two free throws with 1:40 remaining, and after Duke forced a stop, Kyra Lambert added two foul shots to push the Blue Devils’ lead to 70-60 with 1:05 remaining.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks have plenty to work on after this — starting with ball security. They lead the nation with averages of 21 free throws made and 30 of them attempted, but got to the line only 14 times in this one, making nine. Staley says all of her team’s problems can be corrected by simply tightening things up at the defensive end. The only team to score more against her Gamecocks was Ohio State in a 92-80 loss in the opener on Nov. 14.
“I think if we can fix our defense,” Staley said, “the turnovers will help themselves.”
Duke: This was the kind of victory the Blue Devils needed as they try to climb back into the national rankings after some stumbles last season knocked them out of the polls. The Blue Devils had lost eight straight games against Top 25 opponents since they beat No. 12 Mississippi State two years ago in the NCAA Tournament.
This loss figures to send South Carolina dropping a few spots. As for Duke, it looked like the kind of victory that could earn the Blue Devils their first national ranking since midway through last season.
Duke outscored South Carolina’s celebrated front line 42-32 in the paint. Said Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie: “That’s a 10-point difference in our favor, and that’s the game.”
South Carolina’s Allisha Gray scored 11 points in her return to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Gray played for rival North Carolina for two seasons, scoring 24 points here in a win in 2014 and 20 in a loss the following year before transferring from the Tar Heels.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks return home and have a week off before playing host to Minnesota on Dec. 11.
Duke: The Blue Devils on Thursday night play host to an Elon team in a matchup that pits mother against daughter: Elon guard Maddie McCallie is the daughter of Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie.