RALEIGH, N.C. – Duke battled hard Thursday evening in Reynolds Coliseum against ninth-ranked NC State, but a tough fourth quarter led to the Wolfpack taking down the Blue Devils, 63-51, in the ACC opener for both teams in Raleigh, N.C.
With the loss, Duke dropped to 8-5 and 0-1 in ACC action, while NC State remained undefeated at 14-0.
Redshirt junior Haley Gorecki scored a game-high 19 points to go along with six rebounds and four steals, while redshirt freshman Mikayla Boykin added a career-high 13 points and four steals for the Blue Devils.
NC State got off to a hot start hitting three out of its first four shots to take an 8-0 lead, before Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie called a timeout to settle the Blue Devils down at the 7:56 mark.
Senior Faith Suggs was able to get Duke on the board at the 7:34 mark. After going down 10-2 early, the Blue Devils went on a 10-0 run of their own as Boykin drained back-to-back three-pointers to put Duke ahead, 12-10.
After NC State’s Aislinn Konig hit her third three-pointer of the quarter, Boykin would not be outdone as she connected on her third trey of the first quarter and Duke would lead 15-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Boykin, a product of Clinton, N.C., finished the quarter with a career-high three three-pointers to pace the Blue Devils with nine points. She had hit only two three-pointers over her first four games since returning from a knee injury.
In the second quarter, the Wolfpack would pull ahead, 25-20, but Duke would go on a 9-2 run to take a 29-27 advantage behind freshman Miela Goodchild’s second three-pointer of the quarter. At the end of the first half, Duke and NC State would be tied, 29-29.
Seven different Blue Devils scored in the first half with Boykin (9), Goodchild (6) and junior Leaonna Odom (5) leading the way. Duke forced 10 NC State turnovers in the first half even though the Wolfpack average only 14.3 a contest.
The Wolfpack had another hot start to the half going on a 9-0 run to take a 38-29 lead and would eventually take as large as a 12-point lead, 43-31, at the 2:29 mark. Duke hit only 1-of-12 field goals to start the period, but Gorecki would keep the Blue Devils around scoring 10 straight points.
Duke would go on a 10-0 run to close the half as Boykin drained a jumper as time expired to cut the lead to 43-41.
Gorecki would continue her hot shooting to start the fourth quarter as she connected from long range to put the Blue Devils ahead, 44-43. Duke would go on to miss six straight shots and fall behind, 48-44, but Gorecki once again pulled the Blue Devils back to within two with a couple of free throws.
Duke did not hit a field goal for over eight minutes during a span in the fourth quarter and fell behind, 59-46, with 1:28 remaining. Boykin finally ended the field goal drought by connecting on a jumper.
The Blue Devils tried to rally at the end, but the Wolfpack connected on free throws to earn the victory. In the end, Duke hit only 2-of-16 field goals in the fourth quarter for a school-record low 12.5 percent.
Odom concluded the game with a team-high eight rebounds and five points, while Goodchild added six points.
The Blue Devils hit only 6-of-31 field goals in the second half for 19.4 percent.
Duke will face its second straight top 10 opponent as the Blue Devils return home to host third-ranked Louisville Sunday, Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. The game will be aired live on ACC Network Extra.