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
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.