NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Blue Devils started strong but were unable to hold off a late-surging Notre Dame squad, falling 62-58 in a battle of top-15 teams Thursday evening at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
With the contest tied at halftime, the Irish pushed ahead in the third period. Duke responded to an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit by finishing on a 7-0 run, but slipped to 17-4 on the season and 5-3 in ACC play.
Junior Lexie Brown topped the 20-point mark for the third time in as many games, pacing the Blue Devils with 22 points and matching her season high with four treys. Freshman Leaonna Odom and redshirt junior Rebecca Greenwell also reached double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Odom and senior Oderah Chidom led Duke on the boards with seven rebounds apiece.
Duke was solid on the defensive end in the opening minutes, limiting the Irish to a 1-of-5 shooting start from the floor. While Brianna Turner had eight of Notre Dame’s first 10 points, Brown headlined a balanced scoring effort with 12 of her own, giving the squad a 24-17 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Following a fast-paced first 10 minutes of action, both teams endured tough shooting stretches in the second frame. The Irish were able to cut into the lead behind seven points from Arike Ogunbowale and five from Turner, knotting the contest at 35 heading into the intermission.
Brown’s 14 points led all players at the break while Odom and Chidom combined for 10 of the Blue Devils’ 21 rebounds.
Odom and sophomore Kyra Lambert powered a 4-0 spurt to kick off the third quarter but Notre Dame would go on to take its first lead of the contest at 40-39. Scoring continued to go back and forth, with Brown hitting a pair of treys. However, the Irish strung together six unanswered to close out the period.
The Irish widened the margin to six early in the fourth quarter and edged past Duke in the rebounding column. Turnovers cost the Blue Devils offensive opportunities, allowing Notre Dame to go up by double digits. Duke closed the gap to four inside the final four minutes but ran out of time to complete the comeback.
Turner totaled 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Irish while Marina Mabrey and Ogunbowale had nine points each.
After opening with 56 percent shooting from the field in the first quarter, the Blue Devils finished with a 39 percent shooting clip. Notre Dame also shot 39 percent from the floor.
Up next, Duke returns to Cameron Indoor Stadium Sunday to host Wake Forest on RSN. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.