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Blue Devils move on to Saturday’s semifinals
Greensboro, N.C. (theACC.com) – 4th-seeded Duke Blue Devils held off upset-minded No. 13 Wake Forest, 77-68, on Friday in the first game of the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinals.
Thriving off a balanced scoring attack, the Blue Devils were rarely threatened in a game that Duke controlled from the start. Kendall Cooper (21), Rebecca Greenwell (17), Azura Stevens (15) and Elizabeth Williams (11) all registered double figures in scoring for Duke.
With the win, Duke has now won an ACC Tournament game in 20 of the last 21 years.
The game looked destined for a blowout early as Duke stormed out of the gates, rattling off a 15-2 run to start the game and increasing their advantage to 19-5 with 11:41 left in the half.
While the Demon Deacons seemed to weather the early storm and pulled to within seven, cold shooting doomed the underdogs as they went on a 0-for-11 skid late in the half and trailed the Blue Devils 36-21 at intermission.
Coming out of the half, Wake Forest climbed back into the contest behind the efforts of All-ACC senior Dearica Hamby. After scoring six points on 2-of-16 shooting in the first half, Hamby caught her groove and pulled the Demon Deacons to within three, 45-42, with 11:39 left in the game.
However, Duke would prove too much for Wake down the stretch as they pulled away to secure the victory.
Hamby, Wake Forest’s all-time leading scorer, broke the program record of 1,006 rebounds with her second rebound of the game in the first half. She is just the second Demon Deacon to record 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds along with Coach Jen Hoover. She finished the game with 26 points and 16 rebounds.
Duke (21-9) will face the winner of No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 8 Miami in Saturday’s noon semifinal game. The Blue Devils will be looking to advance to their 14th ACC title game in program history.
With the defeat, Wake Forest falls to 13-20 on the season.