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Duke women’s basketball: Blue Devils lose to Virginia Tech

In this file photo, Duke head coach Kara Lawson directs her players during their game against South Carolina in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.

In this file photo, Duke head coach Kara Lawson directs her players during their game against South Carolina in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.

AP

No. 16 Duke’s poor-shooting second half allowed Virginia Tech to complete a sweep of their two ACC women’s basketball games this season.

With the Blue Devils making only 26.9% of their shots after halftime, the Hokies battled back from a seven-point deficit to beat Duke, 65-54, at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday night.

Duke coach Kara Lawson said her team simply wasn’t sharp enough offensively.

“I thought we just resorted to too much 1-on-1 late,” Lawson said.

Two weeks earlier, on Dec. 30, the Hokies clobbered the Blue Devils, 77-55, in Blacksburg, Virginia.

In the rematch, Duke (11-3, 2-2 ACC) played without starting guards Celeste Taylor (injury) and Lexi Gordon (COVID-19 health and safety protocols). The 5-11 Taylor averaged 11.7 points, while leading the team in rebounds (6.1) and assists (2.7) per game this season. The 6-0 Gordon has scored 9.8 points per game.

Despite that, the Blue Devils built a 32-25 halftime lead when the Hokies (12-4, 4-1 ACC) were only able to hit 31.3% of their first-half shots.

But Duke went cold offensively in the third quarter, allowing Virginia Tech to erase the deficit and take a 46-44 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils hit only 3-of-11 shots from the field in the third quarter, with Miela Goodchild hitting those three to score seven points.

Goodchild’s basket with five minutes left in the third quarter put Duke up 40-35. But the Blue Devils hit only one field goal the remainder of the quarter.

A 3-pointer by Virginia Tech’s Cayla King gave the Hokies a 46-44 lead, their first lead since the game’s early minutes.

Duke’s shooting woes continued in the fourth quarter as the Blue Devils hit only 4-of-15 shots.

After Elizabeth Balogun put Duke ahead 48-46 by hitting a jump shot with 6:05 to play, the Hokies unleashed a 14-2 run that turned the game permanently in their favor.

Kayana Traylor hit a layup before Aisha Sheppard’s 3-pointer put Virginia Tech ahead for good at 51-48. Balogun cut the deficit to a single point with a baseline jumper at 4:34, but the Hokies reeled off nine consecutive points. Traylor sank a 3-pointer and Elizabeth Kitley scored a basket inside and added a free throw before Sheppard’s 3-pointer with 1:54 left gave the Hokies a 60-50 lead.

A 6-6 junior center, Kitley led Virginia Tech with a game-high 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Sheppard scored 13 points as she hit 3 of 6 3-pointers.

Azana Baines, a 6-1 junior forward, grabbed 16 rebounds for the Hokies while scoring eight points. Baines started her career at Duke but transferred after the 2019-20 season after Joanne McCallie resigned as Duke’s head coach.

Balogun led Duke with 15 points, and Goodchild tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds for Duke, which shot 35.7% for the game.

Freshman guard Shayeann Day-Wilson, who moved into Duke’s starting lineup for the first time this season due to Taylor and Gordon’s absences, scored 10 points but did so on 2-of-13 shooting from the field.

This story was originally published January 13, 2022 8:13 PM.

Profile Image of Steve Wiseman

Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. He placed second in both beat writing and breaking news in the 2019 Associated Press Sports Editors national contest. Previously, Steve worked for The State (Columbia, SC), Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, S.C.), The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.), Charlotte Observer and Hickory (NC) Daily Record covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly. He’s won numerous state-level press association awards. Steve graduated from Illinois State University in 1989.

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