DURHAM, N.C. — Duke senior Lexie Brown wants to earn a few more games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. For the Blue Devils to have any chance of accomplishing that, the Blue Devils probably had to knock off No. 9 Florida State.
Brown scored 30 points, and No. 20 Duke upset the Seminoles 79-66 on Monday night.
Rebecca Greenwell added 22 points with three of her six 3-pointers coming during the decisive run, and Leaonna Odom had 15 points to help the Blue Devils (21-7, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) earn their most significant victory — at least, by the rankings — of the season.
“We just want to have a lot of fun these last two (regular-season) games, and tonight, we had a lot of fun playing with each other,” Brown said. “We just wanted to leave our fans with the best picture possible of us, and I think tonight was the best version of us.”
Nicole Ekhomu had 15 points and AJ Alix had 13 points for the Seminoles (22-5, 10-4), but top scorer Shakayla Thomas had just seven — nearly 11 below her average — on 2-of-10 shooting. And coach Sue Semrau said her players’ “minds were in another place” after Duke built a 48-37 rebounding advantage.
“We didn’t focus on what we needed to, and that’s so unlike our team,” Semrau said. “Sometimes you need this as a wakeup call.”
Florida State held Duke scoreless for 3½ minutes in the fourth quarter and Imani Wright pulled the Seminoles to 62-58 after hitting three free throws with 5:51 left.
Greenwell hit a 3 with about 5 minutes remaining to start the 13-4 run that essentially put the game away. She hit another one a minute later, and capped the burst with a 3 that pushed the lead to 75-62 with about 2 minutes left.
Florida State: Looks like the Seminoles’ return to the top 10 will be a short one, with this loss coming a few hours after they moved up three spots in the latest AP Top 25 . They also were projected as the ninth overall seed and would be the No. 3 seed in top-seeded Connecticut’s region, after the committee’s final pre-Selection Monday bracket reveal . This won’t help that.
Duke: The Blue Devils finally claimed the resume-building victory they lacked. Duke, which entered 1-3 against Top 25 opponents and hadn’t beaten one since beating No. 17 Oregon State in November, wasn’t among the NCAA’s top 16 seeds in the bracket reveal and probably needed this one to have any hope of earning a home game in the NCAA Tournament.
Brown finished 12 of 19 from the field, hit four 3-pointers and had five steals. She hit the 20-point mark for the fifth time in seven games and became the only active women’s player with at least 2,000 career points, 500 assists and 300 steals.
The Seminoles entered with an average rebounding margin of plus-11.7, third-best in Division I, but were outrebounded for just the fifth time this season and fell to 2-3 when that happens. “We just didn’t do our job on the boards,” Semrau said. “That’s not like us.”
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie’s outfit on the sideline was designed by senior forward Erin Mathias , a budding fashion designer who has her own clothing line and staged a fashion show last fall. The plan is for the outfit to be auctioned for charity, because this was the Blue Devils’ “Play 4 Kay” game to honor late N.C. State coach Kay Yow and raise money for the cancer fund that bears her name.
Florida State: Plays host to Boston College on Thursday night.
Duke: Wraps up the regular season Sunday against rival North Carolina.