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Courtesy: Nat LeDonne
Blue Devils Conclude Season at Regional Semifinal
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/24/2018
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By Associated Press and staff reports

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Napheesa Collier had 16 points and 11 rebounds to help top-seed UConn beat Duke 72-59 on Saturday and advance to the Elite Eight for the 13th consecutive season.

UConn (35-0) will face defending national champion South Carolina on Monday night in trying to reach an 11th straight Final Four.

The Huskies scored the first seven points of the game beginning with a banked-in 3-pointer from Kia Nurse and they were off and running.

Duke had only given up an average of 49 points in its first two games of the tournament. UConn had that by the end of the third quarter, much to the delight of the partisan crowd of 10,658 that took in the Albany Regional.

Fifth-seed Duke (24-9) was only down seven early in the second quarter when the Blue Devils went cold from the field, going scoreless over the next 5 1/2 minutes. UConn extended its advantage to 30-16.

The Blue Devils cut their deficit to 12, but UConn scored the final eight points of the half, including a pullup by Gabby Williams just before the halftime buzzer to give UConn a 40-20 lead.

Duke closed its gap to 44-31 midway through the third quarter, but didn't score for the rest of the period and UConn rebuilt the 20-point advantage.

The game also featured Huskies center Azura Stevens going against her former team. She transferred to UConn after her sophomore season. Stevens had eight points and 12 rebounds.

Katie Lou Samuelson and Williams each had 15 points for the Huskies.

Duke was led by sophomore Leaonna Odom, who has been dominant in the tournament, averaging 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the field in wins over Belmont and Georgia. She had 22 on Saturday.

Odom went 9-of-17 from the floor, led the team with eight rebounds and had four assists and one steal in 36 minutes. The Lompoc, Calif., native has totaled three-career 20+ point games as all three have come in the NCAA Tournament.

The loss ended the stellar careers of Duke guards Rebecca Greenwell and Lexie Brown. The pair came into the game averaging a combined 33.9 points this season which was third best among Power Five schools. They only had 16 combined against UConn.

Brown swiped seven steals to finish the season with 122, good for a Duke single-season record. The Suwanee, Ga., native concluded her final season as a Blue Devil with 641 points, which is tied for the fifth-most in Duke single-season history. Although only wearing a Duke jersey for two years, Brown finished her Blue Devil career with 1,263 points, which ranks 22nd on Duke’s all-time scoring list.

Greenwell, a product of Owensboro, Ky., finished her career with 4,128 minutes played, good for second all-time in Blue Devil history. With her 301 career three-pointers made in NCAA play, Greenwell ranks fifth all-time on the Duke charts.

Freshman Jade Williams entered the final quarter scoreless before tallying seven-consecutive points as the Blue Devils outscored the Huskies 28-21 in the final frame.

TIP-INS: UConn had won the past eight meetings in the series before the two teams stopped playing after the 2014 season. ... Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie is 1-11 all-time against UConn with the lone win coming in 2004 when she was the head coach of Michigan State. ... Brown added to her single-season school record for steals with seven against UConn. She finished the season with 122, eight more than former record holder Alana Beard. ... UConn was 8 for 16 from the free-throw line.

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