ESTERO, Fla. – The Duke women’s basketball team fought toe-to-toe with 21st-ranked Missouri Sunday afternoon in the Blue Devils’ finale of the Gulf Coast Showcase, but the Tigers pulled away late in the fourth quarter to earn a 62-54 win in the fifth place game at Hertz Arena in Estero, Fla.
Redshirt junior Haley Gorecki scored a team-high 24 points, but the Blue Devils (3-3) allowed a school-record 16 three-pointers by Missouri (5-2) on the afternoon.
The Blue Devils got off to a good start as freshman Onome Akinbode-James connected on a baseline jumper to give Duke a 2-0 advantage. Missouri would connect on two three-pointers to go ahead 6-4, but Duke came back with a jumper by freshman Miela Goodchild and a three by Gorecki and the Blue Devils would not trail the rest of the half. Duke led 12-8 at the break in which was the Blue Devils best defensive first quarter of the season.
Missouri came out in the second quarter firing draining back-to-back three-pointers to take a 14-12 lead early. The Tigers would go ahead by as many as seven, 23-16, with 4:01 left in the half off their seventh three-pointer of the game and fifth of the quarter.
Gorecki, a native of Palatine, Ill., would score eight of Duke’s next 10 points as the Blue Devils closed the first half on a 10-3 run to even the score, 26-26. Redshirt senior Sofia Roma added her second bucket of the season during the run. In five minutes, Roma tied a season high with three rebounds and added her first steal of the season.
At the half, both teams were struggling shooting as Missouri did not make a two-point attempt hitting 28.6 percent, while Duke hit 39.1 percent. Gorecki led all scorers with 14 points as she drained 3-of-5 three-pointers.
Missouri connected on its first two-pointer with its first basket of the second half at the 9:19 mark to take a 28-26 lead, but it was a back-and-forth affair for the quarter that saw the Tigers taking a 39-38 lead heading into the final frame.
During the third quarter, it was the Hannah Schuchts of Missouri and Leaonna Odom of Duke show. Schuchts scored 11 of Missouri’s 13 points as she drained three three-pointers, while Odom scored 10 of the Blue Devils’ 12 points.
Schuchts kept her hot shooting going in the fourth quarter and helped increase Missouri’s lead to 48-40 with 5:09 remaining. The Blue Devils were held without a point until the 5:36 mark, before Odom tallied another bucket.
After Gorecki connected on two free throws, Missouri hit its 15th three-pointer of the afternoon to put the lead back to seven and the Blue Devils couldn’t get much closer.
The Tigers hit 16-of-34 three-pointers for the game, while the Blue Devils hit 5-of-17. Duke held a 35-31 advantage on the boards led by a career-high 11 from Akinbode-James.
Odom finished the game with 15 points, but had a season-low four rebounds in 37 minutes. She scored 13-of-15 points in the second half.
Schuchts of Missouri led all scorers with 25 points as she hit 6-of-6 three-pointers.
Duke will have a quick turnaround as the Blue Devils will hit the road once again Tuesday as Duke will face Wisconsin Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 9 p.m. (ET) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.