Duke 53 , Nebraska 45 (Final)
With the clock winding down under 2 minutes, Duke put the ball in the hands of the most dynamic, and youngest, player on the floor, letting Jones dribble through and around Cornhuskers. Following a pair of made Liston free throws, Jones went one-and-one on a pair of her own to extend the lead to 11 before it was cut to 8 by a Moore 3-pointer. The efforts from Moore, who registered five points in the final minutes came too little, too late with Duke keeping the Cornhuskers at bay to win 53-45. The Blue Devils will face Notre Dame on Tuesday night in the Elite Eight.
Duke 44, Nebraska 38 (3:30 Second Half)
At 7:53, Hooper hit the ground with what appeared to be a lower-left leg injury following a fadeaway jumper. With Hooper presumably out for the remainder of the game, the Cornhuskers will have to look to Moore and Laudermill to step up on offense, which Moore did, knocking down a transition jumper to pull the Cornhuskers within six. Haley Peters knocked down a pair of free throws with 6:31 left to be the first player of the game to reach the charity stripe. Liston, who came out strong, has not hit a shot in over 11 minutes while Williams has stepped up in the second half, going 3-for-6 with six points thus far in the second half.
Duke 40, Nebraska 30 (8:32 Second Half)
Haley Peters finally got on the board, hitting on a short-range jump shot from the left block. Following a miss by Jackson, Jones blocked a fast-break layup by Nebraska’s Tear’a Laudermill, firing up the Blue Devils and visibly frustrating Laudermill and the Cornhuskers. Since the 11:06 mark, Nebraska has failed to hit a shot and Duke has stretched the lead from six to 10 in that time.
Duke 36, Nebraska 28 (11:13 Second Half)
The theme of the first half reared its head again, with both teams missing easy shots from inside the paint. This would not last long. Following a basket from Richa Jackson, Hooper knocked down a tough turnaround jumper with Williams’s hand in her face. Not deterred, Williams scored on a layup for the Blue Devils and blocked Hooper’s next field goal attempt. Duke has opened up an eight-point lead, but the momentum could easily swing if Hooper continues to knock down her shots.
Duke 30, Nebraska 26 (15:45 Second Half)
Jones continued her offensive dominance for the Blue Devils, scoring and assisting on Duke’s opening goals. One of those assists came by way of a Liston 3-pointer, who upped her total to 13 points on the game. Duke kept up its defensive intensity, but the Cornhuskers attacked the basket more than it had in the first half, leading to some easy layups for Nebraska. Hooper finally found the bottom of the net, connecting on a mid-range jump shot to open the half.
Halftime Stats and Notes:
- Neither team has been to the free throw line yet.
- Both teams, who are usually solid 3-point shooting teams, are struggling from downtown. Nebraska is 2-for-13 from behind-the-arc and Duke has only managed to go 3-for-11.
- Duke closed the half on a 12-0 run, led by Jones who contributed seven of the 12 points.
Duke 23, Nebraska 18 (Halftime)
Alexis Jones came out of the timeout determined to score and did just that, putting up seven points in the final three minutes. Williams even found her stroke, knocking down a step-back jumper. Entering the locker rooms, both teams have to feel good about their defense but equally disappointed in their offensive production—Duke is shooting 10-for-32 and and Nebraska is going 8-for-33. The best two players on the court, Hooper and Williams, have combined for four points on 2-for-15 shooting, with both made shots coming from Williams.
Duke 14, Nebraska 18 (2:53 First Half)
Tricia Liston has been the only sense offensive production for Duke, leading all scorers with 10 points. Duke has done a good job of shutting down the Cornhuskers’ star forward Jordan Hooper, but has let too many other players get involved and knock down jump shots from outside the lane. Williams maintained her dominance in the defensive paint, sending a shot by Moore flying into the stands. Duke went to a zone with just under four minutes to go to break up the Cornhuskers’ offensive flow.
Duke 9, Nebraska 14 (7:46 First Half)
With both teams settling for long jumpers, neither team has been to the free throw line yet. The Cornhuskers have not been able to get to the paint with Williams there and Duke has simply not been able to finish close to the basket. The Blue Devils’ shooting woes continue, knocking down only one basket in the past 4 minutes. Nebraska point guard Lindsey Moore has been doing her best to break down the Blue Devils defense with a plethora of no-look passes and drives to the basket.
Duke 7, Nebraska 10 (11:23 First Half)
The matchup to watch has clearly become Jordan Hooper on Elizabeth Williams. Thus far Hooper has been able to hold Williams to 2 points on one-of-five shooting. Both teams are struggling to connect from the field with Duke shooting 3-for-16 and Nebraska going 4-for-12.
Duke 5, Nebraska 5 (14:40 First Half)
Both teams came out of the gates looking to play up-tempo basketball, but failed to find the bottom of the net early on. The first bucket did not come until the 18:03-mark, with Elizabeth Williams laying the ball in off a spin move from the block.Williams was the story early on, registering the game’s first points and a monster swat within the first three minutes of play. Nebraska’s Rachel Theriot accounted for all five Nebraska points, dropping in a floater and knocking down a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions for the Cornhuskers.
Duke Blue Devils: G Alexis Jones, G Tricia Liston, F Haley Peters, F Richa Jackson, C Elizabeth Williams
Nebraska Cornhuskers: G Lindsey Moore, G Rachel Theriot, F Jordan Hooper, F Emily Cady, F Hailie Sample
This game features two former AP National Coach of the Year awardees. Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie won the award in 2005 and Nebraska head coach Connie Yori took home the hardware in 2010.
Sunday’s matchup between the Cornhuskers and Blue Devils will be the first time the two programs have faced one another.
Sophomore center Elizabeth Williams will have a homecoming of sorts, as the Ted Constant Convocation Center is only 25 minutes from her home and high school in Virginia Beach.