No. 4 Connecticut vs. No. 5 Duke l NCAA Final
Sunday, Nov. 24 l 4 p.m.
Norfolk, Va. l L.R. Hill Sports Complex
DURHAM, N.C. – Fifth-ranked Duke (17-6, 3-3 ACC) will meet fourth-ranked Connecticut Sunday, Nov. 24 at 4 p.m. in search of the program’s first national championship. The Blue Devils reached the title match by knocking off No. 1 Maryland by a score of 3-2 in Friday’s semifinals. The program is making its fourth appearance in the championship contest and first since the 2005 season.
NCAA Championship Weekend to be Streamed on NCAA.com
Sunday’s championship match between Connecticut and No. 4 seed Duke will be streamed live on NCAA.com at 4 p.m . The Division III championship is slated for 10:30 a.m., followed by the Division II match at 1:15 p.m.
UConn Series History
Sunday’s NCAA championship contest marks just the fourth all-time meeting between Duke and Connecticut with the Blue Devils leading the series, 3-0 ... Duke is 2-0 in program history when facing the Huskies in the NCAA Championship.
Last Time We Met
Duke edged UConn 2-1 to advance to its sixth elite eight appearance in seven seasons in the two teams’ last meeting Nov. 15, 2008 ... Marian Dickinson tipped in a shot by Laura Suchoski for the game winner in the NCAA first round contest ... The 2008 Blue Devil squad went on to the quarterfinals, falling to Maryland by an 8-5 score.
Scouting the Huskies
Fourth-ranked UConn (20-4) defeated third-ranked North Carolina, 2-1, in a thrilling overtime shootout in the second semifinal Friday ... The Huskies prevailed in the first game in NCAA Division I history to be decided by a penalty shootout, winning by a 2-0 margin in the shootout ... UConn received automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship after claiming the BIG EAST title and topped Boston College (2-1, OT) and Michigan State (3-1) in the first and second rounds of the tournament ... The team ranked fifth nationally in scoring average (3.28) and third in shutouts per game (0.43) entering the tournament semifinals ... Goalkeeper Sarah Mansfield was second in the country in win-loss percentage (.826) and owns a .762 save percentage and a 1.16 goals against average through 24 contests ... Junior forward Chloe Hunnable leads the attack and ranked among the top 10 in the nation in goals per game (0.96) through Nov. 17.
Scouting the Blue Devils
Fifth-ranked and fourth-seeded Duke (17-6, 3-3 ACC) advanced to the NCAA title match for the first time since 2005 with a dramatic 3-2 upset of top-ranked and top-seeded Maryland in the first semifinal Friday ... The Blue Devils posted wins over No. 16 New Hampshire and No. 10 Massachusetts in the first and second rounds in Durham, outscoring their opponents 10-2 in the two regional contests ... Senior Emmie Le Marchand paces the squad in points (48), goals (17) and assists (14) ... A senior from Worcester, England, Le Marchand ranked 15th nationally in points per game and was tied for 25th in goals per game entering the week ... Senior Paula Heimbach, a two-time All-ACC selection, has anchored the Blue Devils’ back line to four shutouts this fall ... In goal, redshirt sophomore Lauren Blazing has had a breakout season, totaling 138 saves in 23 outings ... A product of Durham, N.C., she ranked fifth nationally in save percentage with a .792 clip ... Blazing posted a career-best 22 saves in a 3-2 overtime shootout victory over previously unbeaten and top-ranked North Carolina Sept. 27 to earn ACC Player of the Week recognition.
Last Time Out
The Blue Devils claimed a trip to the NCAA championship game for the first time since 2005, upending No. 1 Maryland 3-2 in Friday’s semifinals in Norfolk ... Duke knocked off a top-ranked team for the second time this season ... Seniors Paula Heimbach and Emmie Le Marchand and junior Jessica Buttinger provided goals while redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Blazing and the defense kept the Terrapins off the board for over 41 minutes in the win ... Blazing finished with 12 saves on the day, including eight in the second half.
Duke in the NCAA Championship
The Blue Devils own an all-time record of 18-11 in the NCAA Tournament while making four trips to the national championship match (2003, 2004, 2005, 2013) ... Duke is 0-3 all-time in championship contests and 2-0 all-time in the tournament when facing UConn ... The Blue Devils last advanced to the national championship match in 2005, falling to Maryland by a 1-0 score in Louisville, Ky. ... Head coach Pam Bustin will be making her first career appearance in the title match.
Five Blue Devils Tabbed All-Region
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Blazing, senior defender Paula Heimbach and senior forward Emmie Le Marchand were selected to the 2013 NFHCA All-South Region first team ... Sophomore midfielder Aileen Johnson and sophomore defender Amanda Kim were honored on the second team ... Le Marchand garnered the fourth all-region nod of her career.
Le Marchand Moving Up Career Charts
After topping the 100-point mark for her career earlier this season, senior forward Emmie Le Marchand continues to etch her name into the program record books … With 139 points for her career, the Worcester, England product currently sits fifth overall in school history … Le Marchand is also seventh all-time in career goals (55) and ninth in career assists (29) ... Le Marchand has totaled 14 points (5g, 4a) through Duke’s three NCAA Championship games.
Blazing Among Nation’s Top Goalkeepers
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper and Durham, N.C., product Lauren Blazing led the ACC and was fifth among all Division I goalkeepers in save percentage with an .792 clip entering the semifinals … She has compiled a 1.45 goals against average in addition to guiding the defense to four shutouts and has allowed just four goals in four NCAA Tournament games … The Durham, N.C., native was named the ACC Player of the Week following a career-high 22-save performance in a 3-2 shootout win over previously top-ranked and unbeaten North Carolina Sept. 27.
Balanced Scoring by Blue Devil Offense
Fourteen different Duke players have tallied a point through 22 games this fall … Fourteen different Blue Devils have registered a goal, led by senior Emmie Le Marchand with 17 … Le Marchand paces the squad with 48 points and ranked third in the ACC in that category entering the semifinals … Junior midfielder Abby Beltrani has totaled a career-best 10 assists to rank 10th in the ACC in assists per game along while Le Marchand was fifth at 0.59 assists per game … Five different players scored in Duke’s 6-0 win over Radford Sept. 22 and four different players tallied a goal in the squad’s 4-1 NCAA quarterfinal victory against No. 10 Massachusetts Nov. 17.
Heimbach Anchors Back Line
Senior defender Paula Heimbach continues to be one of the Blue Devils’ most dependable backs in 2013 … An All-ACC honoree and Longstreth/NFHCA third team All-America selection last fall, Heimbach once again garnered all-conference and first team All-South Region recognition this year … She tallied the Blue Devils’ first defensive save of the year against Syracuse Oct. 11 … Heimbach and the Duke defense own four shutouts on the year and currently allow just 1.47 goals per game.
Bustin Collects 200th Career Victory
Head coach Pam Bustin, in her third season at the helm of the Duke program, earned the 200th victory of her coaching career in Friday’s 3-2 NCAA semifinal win over Maryland ... Bustin is 200-153 as a head coach and 38-25 since taking over the Duke program ... The 2011 ACC Coach of the Year, Bustin guided the Blue Devils to the NCAA quarterfinals in her first season and the title match this year.
Scheduling the Best
Duke’s 2013 slate features 13 teams ranked in the top 20 of the final NFHCA Coaches Poll ... The squad topped previously unbeaten and top-ranked North Caroliana, 3-2, in a thrilling overtime shootout Sept. 27 in Chapel Hill ... The Blue Devils also defeated No. 1 Maryland 3-2 in the NCAA semifinals Friday to advance to the title match.