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Brown works her magic, Duke slides by No. 8 Louisville

It was anybody’s game in Cameron Indoor Stadium when No. 8 Louisville came to town for the ACC opener. The No. 13 Blue Devils pulled out a nail biter over the Cardinals to move to 13-1 on the year and 1-0 in conference play.

NCAA Womens Basketball: South Carolina at Duke Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Durham, NC — It was a game of tug of war, featuring 16 lead changes, when No. 8 Louisville faced No. 13 Duke in the first ACC matchup of the season on Monday night (Jan. 2) at Cameron Indoor Stadium. It came down to the final minutes of the game in which the Blue Devils were victorious with a 58-55 triumph.

“You have to be able to win ugly,” Duke Head Coach Joanne McCallie said. “You have to be able to make things happen when things are not looking very pretty, so this was not a pretty game.”

Coming off a monumental comeback against Syracuse on December 29th, the Cardinals were unable to replicate their momentum in the first minutes of the game against the Blue Devils when Oderah Chidom, star senior for Duke, scored the first points of the game.

Both teams appeared equally matched with the score tied at 9-9 with 3:50 left in the first quarter. However, the Blue Devil’s momentum slowed down after making a strong start as they only made six more shots throughout the remainder of the first half.

Tension was high at the end of the first quarter when Louisville’s Asia Durr fouled Rebecca Greenwell. Greenwell started making her way to the free throw line, however, she was not awarded one. The first quarter ended with Duke leading 15-12.

As the second quarter opened, Sam Fuehring set the momentum for the Cardinals, making two shots that put Louisville in front 16-15 for the first time with seven minutes left in the period.

The back-and-forth action continued throughout the remainder of the half. However, Durr was able to land a jumper with 50 seconds left in the second quarter, which gave the Cardinals a 25-23 lead heading into halftime.

When the third quarter commenced, Mariya Moore took the ball down the court, opposite of where both teams were set up, before the Blue Devils realized they had been fooled and were defending the wrong basket.

“I watch teams when they come out at halftime,” Louisville Head Coach Jeff Walz said. “How much time is on the clock, what they are doing; we’ve done that once or twice before.”

Myisha Hines-Allen entered the third quarter with a renewed energy, scoring seven points in the first five minutes of the third quarter, widening Louisville’s lead 31-25.

Just when it appeared that Louisville was going to continue to pull away, the Blue Devils went on a scoring streak with Lexie Brown making a layup that brought the game within one point, 35-34.

Brown continued to set the tone for the Blue Devils making two free throws after being fouled by Taylor Johnson. The third quarter, however, ended with the Cardinals in the lead, 44:41.

The score remained close throughout the entire fourth quarter with the Cardinals maintaining the lead until Kyra Lambert tied the score for Duke with a layup.

As the game drew to a close, the victory was within grasp for either team. Brown capitalized on her free throws and ultimately propelled the Blue Devils to victory as the buzzer sounded. She ended the night with a game-high 17 points.

Duke will face Georgia Tech on Thursday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. EST. Louisville also will play on Jan. 5 against Virginia, tip-off is set for 7p.m ET.