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Duke loses, head coach doesn't 'believe in rankings'

Coming into the game, nobody can predict how the game is going to be called. The Seminoles were faced with foul trouble as the starters were able to be on the court like anticipated. No worries as Shakayla Thomas, Kai James and Maria Conde played big off the bench.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Durham, NC -- After the re-arranging of the ACC schedules, somehow not one player on this Florida State team has played at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Excitement aside, the Seminoles came ready to play.

Florida State was off to a quick start, winning the jump ball and making a layup in the first 10 seconds. Ivey Slaughter was on fire with the Seminoles first six points. Duke started off sloppy with three fouls in the first 2:20.

Defense seemed to control the first quarter. There were multiple periods of scoreless play, the longest being nearly three minutes.

However, after nearly a quarter of Florida State domination, Duke woke up and began to put up points. The Blue Devils were only trailing by four at the end of the first quarter with a score of 15-11.

Free throws were the story of the second quarter. Florida State started with Adut Bulgak missing two. Soon thereafter, she shot a three-pointer that was rebounded by Maria Conde, whom then made the easy layup. Moments later, Conde made the first three-pointer of the game.

Just under two and a half minutes in, Duke scored their first point of the quarter via free throw by Oderah Chidom. Florida State still had a 10-point lead with 6:31 left in the half.

However, this game was far from over, especially with such a strong foul performance from both teams. They seemed to just be trading free throws.

For the Blue Devils, they couldn't seem to find a reliable scorer, as their points were spread among the entire lineup. Slaughter led Florida State with eight points.

At the half, the Seminoles had a 27-20 lead, after a missed last second shot by Romero to extend it. Duke's Rebecca Greenwell, Amber Henson, and Erin Mathias each finished with a dangerous three fouls.

The start of the second half was yet again dominated by Florida State. They had eight points within the first two minutes, including a swishing three-pointer by Bingley. This gave them a 15-point lead.

From there, both teams continued the aggressive play, and the fouls were not far behind. Eventually, Chidom got her fourth, but remained in the game.

Both teams put up points, ending the quarter at 45-35.

Angela Salvadores put the team on her back and scored seven points in the third. Three of those came in the final seconds of the quarter to make the score 45-35.

Chidom scored a layup to start the fourth quarter. Nobody scored points again until almost three minutes later after a crazy play, resulting in Chidom fouling out after 19 minutes of playing time.

Bingley and Kai James got to shoot two free throws of which they each made one.

Greenwell made a three-pointer after an offensive rebound on a missed free throw by Lambert. Lambert then scored her second field goal of the game to close in on the Seminole's lead, making the score 51-44.

Florida State was not going to let Duke have a comeback, though, as long as James was in the game. She made back-to-back layups to return their lead to double digits.

The Blue Devils were not going down without some style, though. Kyra Lambert to Mathias with the behind-the-back pass for the layup.

Offensively, both teams were hot in the final minutes, but Duke was unable to slow Florida State enough to catch up.

In the last minute, the Seminoles ran away with it. Thomas had an offensive rebound on a missed free throw that she turned into a layup. Seconds later, she got the steal on the inbound pass that resulted in another easy two points.

To end the game, Lambert missed two field goals, and Florida State ran out the clock. This win gave Florida State the streak for "most consecutive ACC wins" in a row.

"Cameron is a really hard place to play in," said Slaughter. "When we have people step up, like Maria and Kai, it speaks volumes about our depth."

The Seminoles look ahead to a tough end of the season, but are optimistic about their future.

"We played a really tough non-conference schedule," said Florida State Head Coach Sue Semrau. "Our four losses are four teams in the Top-25, and they were all great losses. They prepared us for where we're going."

Duke played a hard fought game, but turnovers and rebounds made the difference.

"I have to give them credit for defense and playing very physical basketball," said Duke Head Coach Joanne McCallie. "But I won't give them credit for 22 turnovers. That's on us."

This marked the Blue Devils second straight loss and their seventh straight loss against a ranked opponent. However, Coach McCallie is not fazed.

"I don't believe in rankings. I'm very confident in my team. It's more than stats," she said.