Duke women lose for first time
And then there were none.
No. 4 Duke became the last team in Division I basketball — men's or women's — to lose a game, falling to No. 3 Connecticut 79-49 on Monday night.
For 20 minutes the Blue Devils hung with UConn, trailing by two points at halftime. Then the wheels came off.
No team had been able to come within 10 points of Duke in the first 16 games. But coach Joanne P. McCallie almost felt that the record was somewhat fool's gold as the Blue Devils haven't been able to consistently put together a solid 40 minutes.
"It was a tale of two halves for us. It's consistent for us, how we've been playing all year. We played some great 20-minute ball, but have been nonexistent for 40 minutes," she said. "Give credit to Connecticut. They played well in the second half. There are some great lessons for us to learn from. It will allow us to become a better team."
Duke hasn't had much success against UConn recently, losing the last six meetings — most by routs.
Monday night looked like it might be different as the Blue Devils were only down 32-30 at halftime.
That quickly changed.
UConn (17-1) jumped right on Duke in the second half. After trading baskets, the Huskies scored 20 of the next 25 points to take over led by Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who finished with 21 points, and Kelly Faris.
The Blue Devils (16-1) never could recover.
"Coach was pretty mad at halftime," said Faris, who had 18 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for the Huskies. "The most he's been mad in a while."
Geno Auriemma admitted that he gave a fiery halftime speech.
"Tonight the frustration came out of me in the locker room," Auriemma said. "Kelly (Faris) turned all that frustration into concentration and aggressiveness that helped us find a little bit of what was missing. ... Now the key is holding on to it and adding to it."
Duke was able to stay with UConn in the first half because of the Huskies' sloppiness with the ball. UConn had 12 turnovers at the break.
The Blue Devils also contained Stefanie Dolson in the first half.
Dolson, who was scoreless in the first 20 minutes, had six points during the decisive run before picking up her fourth foul with 16:16 left in the game. That call drew the ire of Auriemma who stopped just short of picking up a technical foul.
It also fired up his team as UConn continued its spurt. After Williams' basket on her own missed free throw, UConn scored the next 13 points. Mosqueda-Lewis had six points during the burst, including a jumper that made it 56-37 with 11:35 left.
McCallie tried to stop the run calling two timeouts. It was to no avail.
Williams finally ended a 5½ minute drought for Duke with a hook shot with 10:41 left in the game. That only brought Duke within 17.
It didn't get any closer from there.
"The last 20 minutes of the game was as much fun as I've had in a long, long time," Auriemma said.
With the victory, UConn kept alive its streak of 20 years without consecutive home losses at Gampel Pavilion. This was the first game played on campus since UConn lost to Notre Dame by a point on Jan. 5.
Jones helped Duke stay in the game in the first half, scoring 12 points. The freshman didn't seem intimidated, hitting 3-pointers and taking it right at the Huskies. UConn led 11-6 early before Jones hit consecutive 3-pointers. Neither team could get more than a four-point lead the rest of the half as the lead changed seven times.
Mosqueda-Lewis' 3-pointer with 54 seconds left gave the Huskies a 31-27 advantage but Williams came right back with a three-point play of her own. UConn led 32-30 at halftime.
UConn shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, but was done in by 12 turnovers.
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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.