RALEIGH, N.C. – Trailing by 14 just before halftime, the 12th-ranked Blue Devils mounted a furious second-half comeback that fell just short in a 55-52 loss at No. 23 NC State Sunday.
Redshirt junior Rebecca Greenwell headlined a balanced scoring effort with 11 points and added seven rebounds while senior Oderah Chidom provided nine points off the bench – including seven in the second half. Junior Lexie Brown and sophomore Kyra Lambert contributed eight points each.
The loss dropped Duke to 15-3 overall and 3-2 in conference action.
Brown knocked down a pair of free throws early in the fourth period and followed that up with a trey to give Duke its first lead since the midway point of the opening quarter.
The score then continued to swing back and forth, with Greenwell putting the Blue Devils ahead by one twice inside the final four minutes. The Wolfpack regained the lead on a Chelsea Nelson layup with 2:10 remaining and Duke was unable to convert on its next two trips down the floor. NC State closed out the contest at the free throw line.
The Wolfpack connected on a pair of early three-pointers and added three more in the opening period to widen the margin to 11. Despite five points from Greenwell and four from freshman Leaonna Odom, Duke trailed by nine after the first 10 minutes of play.
Duke shored up its defense in the second frame, holding NC State scoreless on four straight attempts from outside the arc. However, the Blue Devils struggled to match that effort on the offensive end of the floor, shooting just 15 percent for the quarter, and trailed 35-21 heading into the locker room at the intermission.
Senior Kendall Cooper and Brown energized the team at the beginning of the third quarter and Duke was able to cut into the Wolfpack’s lead. Both squads weathered a scoring drought until Lambert drove through the lane to put the margin back at six.
The Blue Devils pulled down 11 of their 32 total rebounds in the third frame and received seven points from Chidom. That put the squad within five heading into the final quarter.
For the contest, Duke shot 37 percent (20-of-54) from the field to 39 percent shooting by NC State (20-of-51). The Blue Devils also sank 10-of-12 attempts at the free throw line (83 percent).
Nelson finished with a double-double for the Wolfpack, recording 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Dominique Wilson had 16 points.
Duke returns to Cameron Indoor Stadium to host No. 15 Virginia Tech Thursday. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. on ACC Network Extra.