Duke completed a perfect women’s basketball schedule at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday.
That means the Blue Devils are in position to play again on their home court in postseason play.
Behind 28 points from Lexie Brown and 22 more from Rebecca Greenwell, the No. 13 Blue Devils added another win over a ranked team by pulling away from No. 16 Miami in the second half to post an 83-70 ACC win.
Duke (24-4, 12-3 ACC) won its 16th game without a loss at Cameron this season. Duke closes the regular season at North Carolina on Feb. 26 before the ACC tournament in Conway, S.C.
One year after missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994, the Blue Devils have made a strong case to become one of the top 16 seeded teams and thus earn a chance to play their first two NCAA tournament games at home.
After beating No. 16 Miami, Duke added to its list of impressive wins that includes No. 6 South Carolina, No. 14 Louisville and No. 21 Syracuse. The Blue Devils also beat Kentucky and Virginia Tech before they dropped out of the Associated Press Top 25 rankings.
It’s clear that Duke is comfortable playing against top teams this season and it showed again against Miami (19-7, 8-6).
“I thought I saw enormous trust from our team today in the second half,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “The first half I thought we were kind of funny at times, not quite all in the group together, but without question in the second half there was fantastic trust, and that was really fun to watch as a coach from the sidelines. That is just something that comes through time, and we are really excited about our team because we know we can play a lot better, and we are hungry to do that. It is hard because I know we had success today, and it feels very good, but we are also eager to see where we can push this.”
As usual, Brown and Greenwell provided the push on offense for Duke. With her father, former NBA player Dee Brown in attendance, Brown missed just two shots all day and didn’t miss any of her four 3-point attempts.
“Today was a special game,” Lexie Brown said. “My dad was here, it was senior day, we wanted to play the best that we can for them in our last regular-season game in Cameron.”
Greenwell dislocated her left pinky finger in pregame warmups. But the redshirt junior played with her pinky and ring fingers taped and showed no ill-effects. In addition to making 7 of 10 shots, she grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out four assists.
“I tried not to think about it,” Greenwell said of the injury. “Once the game started, I completely forgot about it and just focused. The trainers took care of me, and I feel fine now.”
Senior forward Kendall Cooper had a big day for Duke as well as she scored 12 points.
Duke led 32-31 at halftime but only because of a big play by Greenwell. Miami led 31-27 before Brown sank two free throws.
With 11.5 seconds left in the half, Duke’s Erin Mathias missed a shot, but Greenwell used two hands to tip it in while getting fouled. She added a free throw putting Duke up by a point.
“That tip in was the coolest thing I have seen in a long time,” McCallie said. “A tip in three-point play, we just hadn’t seen that in a while, and it was such a wonderful way to lead her team because then we go into the locker room up, and it just sort of sends a message. So I thought that was absolutely terrific and the play of the game.”
Duke built on that momentum after halftime with Brown leading the way. She scored 10 points over the first four minutes of the third quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers, as Duke took a 45-37 lead.
With Miami shooting just 6-of-16 in the third quarter while turning the ball over five times, Duke carried a 57-48 lead into the fourth quarter.
Duke outscored Miami 9-2 to start the final quarter and when Brown drove for a layup with 6:56 left, the Blue Devils were in control with a 66-50 lead.
“We let the game get away from us because we had offensive hangover,” said Miami coach Katie Meier, an all-ACC player at Duke during her playing career. “That’s shameful for such an experienced team that I have. Suddenly we lost our assignments, and we didn’t think about it because we still couldn’t believe we missed that shot, or we just turned it over. We were really into ourselves – not selfish – but just into ourselves.”