No. 3 Duke vaults to 18-0, blows out top-ranked Terps

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Lindsey Harding scored 16 of her 28 points

in the first half, Alison Bales flirted with a triple-double and

No. 3 Duke routed top-ranked Maryland 81-62 Saturday in a rematch

of last season's national championship game.

Bales finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked

shots for the Blue Devils (18-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference),

who closed the first half with a 13-4 run, didn't let up in the

second and made a strong case to take over the No. 1 ranking from

the Terrapins.

Duke's smothering defense dominated a Maryland offense which

entered with the nation's best field-goal percentage at 53.8

percent. The Terrapins were held to 37.8 percent by the Blue Devils

-- who have the country's stingiest defense -- and were held 1-of-15

shooting during the final 5:49 of the first half.

Duke won its sixth game against a ranked team, and for the Blue

Devils, this one clearly was the most satisfying. Maryland beat

Duke 78-75 in an overtime thriller in the national title game last

April, a classic that included Kristi Toliver's game-tying

3-pointer at the end of regulation.

This time, the Blue Devils wouldn't give Toliver another chance

to break their hearts, holding her to eight points -- and just two

at halftime on 0-of-8 shooting -- before she exited with 5:37

remaining after apparently injuring her ankle.

Crystal Langhorne had 14 points and Shay Doron added 11 for the

Terrapins (18-1, 2-1).

Wanisha Smith added 15 points and Abby Waner had 11 for the Blue

Devils, one of two remaining unbeatens in the country, and the

other is Tobacco Road rival No. 2 North Carolina.

Duke's two stars -- Harding and Bales -- led the way during its

game-breaking run late in the half.

Duke led 28-26 before Harding started the burst with a layup.

Bales blocked three shots during the stretch and Harding closed the

spurt with two free throws, making it 41-30 at the break.