DURHAM, N.C. (AP)—No. 5 Duke and No. 8 Maryland looked pretty similar on the stat sheet, and played just as evenly on the court.
Except for two key differences: The Blue Devils were rebounding with a vengeance, and down the stretch, they had Chelsea Gray.
Gray scored seven of her 17 points in the final 3 minutes and had 11 assists in Duke’s 80-72 victory over the Terrapins on Sunday, its 10th straight win.
Haley Peters scored a career-high 21 points for the Blue Devils (16-2, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
They built a 41-30 rebounding edge and outscored Maryland 46-36 in the paint in winning their 34th straight game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and remaining the only team unbeaten in ACC play.
“When you look at these stats and you see how fundamentally equal they are until you get to rebounding, that’s telling a lot of the story,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
Alyssa Thomas matched a career-high with 26 points and Tianna Hawkins added 17 for the Terrapins (18-2, 5-2), who whittled a 12-point deficit to three on Lynetta Kizer’s jumper with 3 1/2 minutes left.
Gray followed with a 3-pointer roughly 30 seconds later to make it 74-68. Her jumper with 1:04 remaining pushed the lead back to six and made it a two-possession game the rest of the way. Then, Gray and Elizabeth Williams each hit two free throws in the final minute to seal it.
“We just never could get that edge,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “I felt like we were going to get there, but a missed shot here, a bounce there (and) we weren’t able to make it.”
Peters was 10 of 12 from the field for the Blue Devils—who shot 50 percent and never trailed in the second half in winning their 26th straight ACC game at home.
The Terrapins, the last ACC team to beat them at Cameron when they did it in 2008, shot just 36 percent in the second half.
With former Duke star Alana Beard watching from behind the bench, the Blue Devils threatened to break the game open shortly after halftime.
They outscored Maryland 15-4 over the opening 7-plus minutes to push their lead into double figures for the first time while forcing the Terps to miss 12 of their first 13 shots.
Gray’s running jumper gave the Blue Devils their first double-figure lead at 56-45 with 13:27 left. Tricia Liston capped the burst roughly 40 seconds later with a 3 that made it 59-47. Thomas tightened things up by countering with 3-pointers about 2 1/2 minutes apart.
“We couldn’t even get a layup there for a while,” Thomas said. “It was frustrating, but we didn’t let it get to us, and we responded back to them, but it still wasn’t good enough to get the lead.”
“You never know when scoring’s going to come from,” McCallie said. “It’s always better if everybody attacks—it’s always better, in every situation. ... This makes us very dangerous, and that’s where we want to stay.”
On paper, this one certainly looked like an even matchup. The Terrapins and Blue Devils—the ACC’s only two teams ranked in the top 10—are first and second in the league in a handful of stat categories including shooting percentage, 3-point accuracy, rebounding and assists.
For much of the game, that’s exactly how it played out.
Peters scored 13 points and Williams added 12 during a tight first half while Hawkins had 15 and Thomas scored 14. During one dizzying 3 1/2 -minute stretch, the lead changed hands nine times.