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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Big Second Half Pushes Duke Past Clemson, 63-59
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/28/2019
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DURHAM, N.C. – A big second half by the Duke women’s basketball team pushed the Blue Devils past Clemson, 63-59, Thursday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium, marking the 23rd straight victory for Duke over the Tigers. 

Redshirt junior Haley Gorecki scored 18 of her team-high 21 points in the second half, while freshman Miela Goodchild tallied 13 of her 17 points in the second frame as well.  The duo combined for 38 points on the evening.

The contest kicked off with a defensive battle as the two squads featured only two combined field goals over the first three minutes and 10 seconds.  Sophomore Jade Williams connected on four straight points for the Blue Devils to give Duke a 6-5 advantage.  Clemson came back to go on a 6-0 run, but Duke came back and trailed 15-14 at the end of the first quarter. 

Goodchild opened the second with a steal and layup to put the Blue Devils ahead for the third time on the night, 16-15.  The Tigers responded with a 9-1 run to go ahead 24-17 and took a 31-22 lead into the halftime break.  Duke missed its first seven three-pointers, before sophomore Jayda Adams connected on an attempt in the second quarter. 

At the half, six different Blue Devils had scored with Adams leading the way with five.  Both teams combined for 25 turnovers and scored 21 points off those giveaways. 

Gorecki started Duke off strong in the third period by draining her 50th three-pointer of the season and went on a 10-1 run by herself to even the score, 32-32, and force Clemson to call a timeout.  The Blue Devils would eventually outscore the Tigers, 23-11, in the quarter and take a 45-42 advantage into the fourth. 

Duke hit 50.0 percent from the field in the quarter and Gorecki scored 12 points.  Freshman Onome Akinbode-James swatted three shots in the third and featured a career-high five swats entering the final period.  The Blue Devil defense limited the Tigers to only 3-of-18 field goals and 16.7 percent shooting.

The Blue Devils extended their lead to double-digits, 59-49, with 5:16 remaining, but Clemson would not quit going on a 6-0 run.  The Tigers had the ball with under a minute remaining and Akinbode-James came up with a huge block, her sixth of the evening, on a Tyler Bennett attempt.  Akinbode-James was able to secure her career-high tying 14th rebound after the swat. 

Goodchild calmly drained two free throws with 9.3 seconds remaining to put the Blue Devils ahead for good, 63-59.  A native of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Goodchild drained 3-of-9 treys and is only four three-pointers away from matching Rebecca Greenwell’s Duke freshman record of 72. 

A product of Palatine, Ill., Gorecki finished the game with 21 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and one blocked shot.  Akinbode-James added 14 rebounds, four points and six blocked shots.

As a team, the Blue Devils blocked a season-high nine shots.

Clemson (18-11, 9-7 ACC) was led by Simone Westbrook and Aliyah Collier each with 20 points.

Duke (13-14, 5-10 ACC) will close the regular season Sunday, March 3 as the Blue Devils will host rival North Carolina at 12 p.m., in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  The game will be aired live on ESPN2 and will mark senior day for Faith Suggs and Sofia Roma