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Duke comes out flat in first half, Maryland takes advantage, winning 65-55 in NCAA semis

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SPOKANE, Washington — Joanne McCallie knew Duke needed to be aggressive and use its height to the Blue Devils advantage to hang around with top-seeded Maryland.

Instead, it was the Terrapins who came out and had the Blue Devils playing catch-up almost from the start, a deficit Duke was never able to overcome.

"Maryland did a terrific job of being the aggressor in the first half and it kind of set us back a little bit," Duke's Ka'lia Johnson said.

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 18 of her 24 points in the second half, Laurin Mincy scored all 15 of her points in the first half, and Maryland advanced to the Spokane Regional final with a 65-55 victory over No. 4 seed Duke on Saturday.

Walker-Kimbrough took over the scoring load carried by Mincy in the first half as the Terrapins (33-2) reached the Elite Eight for the sixth time under coach Brenda Frese, taking down their former foe from the ACC in the process. The Terrapins had lost eight of their previous 10 games against Duke. But Maryland is 2-0 against the Blue Devils in the NCAA Tournament.

"I don't know what it is, but I think we just love being able to beat Duke in the NCAA Tournament," Frese said.

In their inaugural meeting since Maryland's departure for the Big Ten, the Terrapins knocked off the Blue Devils for the first time since Feb. 19, 2012. Even the mascots got in on the fun of the former conference foes getting together with Duke's Blue Devil wearing a taped message on his forehead reading "The ACC Don't Miss Ya," and Maryland's Testudo responding with "April 4th 2006," the date of the Terrapins national title victory over Duke.

But from the outset, McCallie was unhappy with the Blue Devils' approach. By the time a fix was made, they were trailing by eight at halftime and Mincy had exploited their zone defense with four 3-pointers.

That's when Walker-Kimbrough took over. She made 8 of 11 shots in the second half and just missed topping her previous career high of 25 earlier this season against South Florida. She had scored more than 20 points just three times since the start of Big Ten play in late December.

Brionna Jones added 10 points and 10 rebounds as the Terrapins held a decided 33-24 rebounding advantage. Maryland limited Duke to just six offensive rebounds and nine second-chance points.

PHOTO: Maryland's Brionna Jones, center, goes after a rebound against Duke's Elizabeth Williams (1) and Duke's Amber Henson during the second half of a women's college basketball regional semifinal game in the NCAA tournament, Saturday, March 28, 2015, in Spokane, Wash. Maryland won 65-55. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Maryland's Brionna Jones, center, goes after a rebound against Duke's Elizabeth Williams (1) and Duke's Amber Henson during the second half of a women's college basketball regional semifinal game in the NCAA tournament, Saturday, March 28, 2015, in Spokane, Wash. Maryland won 65-55. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

"We just didn't play a good game. To be out-rebounded, we have been out-rebounding everybody all year," McCallie said. "It just wasn't a great game for us. You have to give credit to Maryland, they're a very good team. They have a lot of guards."

Elizabeth Williams led Duke (23-11) with 18 points and nine rebounds. Johnson scored 15 points for the short-handed Blue Devils, but Azura Stevens and Rebecca Greenwell were both hounded by Maryland's defense. Stevens finished with 11 points on 5 of 15 shooting, while Greenwell could never get clear looks from the perimeter and was held to five points, after averaging 14.3 on the season.

"I think that when they got those threes early we just didn't adjust very well and then we finally shut them down," Williams said. "But we just were so inconsistent in the second half, that's what hurt us."

Duke trailed by 10 in the opening moments of the second half before going on a 16-7 scoring spurt, hitting six straight shots. Greenwell curled off a screen to hit her first 3-pointer and Williams rebound basket off her own miss cut Maryland's lead to 42-41 with 12:55 remaining.

That's would be the closest Duke would get. Walker-Kimbrough started a Maryland surge that pushed the lead back to nine with 10 minutes left.

"I was a little surprised. I was expecting them to come more aggressive," Jones said. "I think we hit them with a punch early and they didn't respond as well."

TIP-INS

Duke: The Blue Devils were trying to reach the Elite Eight for the fifth time under McCallie. ... Greenwell had scored in double figures in 13 of her previous 15 games.

Maryland: Mincy had a career-high six 3-pointers in the round-of-32 victory over Princeton. Saturday's victory was just the third time this season she made four or more 3s in a game.

UP NEXT:

Duke: Season over.

Maryland: Will play No. 2 seed Tennessee in the regional final Monday.

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