Rebecca Greenwell hit a pair of critical free throws down the stretch and Duke’s defense held strong on the final possession of the game as the 13th-ranked Blue Devils fended off No. 21 Syracuse, 74-72, Thursday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium.DURHAM, N.C. – Redshirt freshman
Greenwell topped the 20-point mark for the fourth time on the season to help Duke improve to 11-4 on the year and 2-0 in ACC action.
Holding an eight-point lead at the half, Duke struggled to contain Syracuse’s three-point shooting, surrendering six treys in the second period. Turnovers also plagued the Blue Devils for a brief spell, allowing the Orange to pull within three on a Brianna Butler three-pointer with 3:34 remaining. Butler went on to add two more, tying up the contest at 72 with 43 seconds left on the clock.
Greenwell answered from the free throw line, and after a strong defensive showing on the game’s final possession, senior Amber Henson controlled a rebound in the waning seconds to secure the two-point victory for Duke.
Butler led all players in the contest with 23 points, recording seven of Syracuse’s 13 treys on the night. Williams supplemented Greenwell’s outside shooting with 16 points, moving past Tricia Liston into eighth on the Blue Devils’ all-time scoring list with 1,674 career points. Greenwell and freshman Azurá Stevens headlined a balanced rebounding effort for Duke, concluding the game with six each.
Stevens led the Blue Devils in the opening minutes, recording the team’s first 10 points. Duke kept pushing the pace on the offensive end, stretching the gap to double digits on a three-pointer by Greenwell at the 14:18 mark.
Syracuse took advantage of opportunities on the perimeter, with Diamond Henderson hitting three from behind the arc and Butler adding two. However, the Blue Devils continued to work inside, finding each other for 12 first-half assists. Greenwell complemented the squad’s play in the paint with two more long-range baskets of her own.
Thirteen points from Greenwell and 12 from Stevens guided Duke to a 45-37 lead at the half. Stevens also pulled down five rebounds while Henderson paced the Orange with 10 points. As a team, the Blue Devils shot 60 percent from the floor and held Syracuse to 36 percent shooting.
Greenwell matched her career high with her fourth trey early in the second half, although the Orange also continued to fire away from deep. Syracuse was able to cut the deficit to five with 13:24 remaining, but was kept off the board for nearly the next five minutes by the Duke defense.
Up next, the Blue Devils travel to Florida State Sunday, Jan. 11 for a 1 p.m. contest on RSN.