The Duke women seemed to be influenced by watching the Ohio State and Memphis men’s basketball teams pull out last-second victories. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils they didn’t have the same fortune as their predecessors.
Rutgers upset the No.1 seed Duke Blue Devils 53-52 on Saturday afternoon. The Scarlet Knights will now advance to the Elite Eight. Rutgers advanced in dramatic fashion. Epiphany Prince made a lay-up with 20 seconds remaining to put the Knights in the lead by one. Duke superstar Lindsey Harding stole the inbounds pass with under six seconds to play and was fouled on her lay-up attempt with .1 seconds remaining. With a chance to tie or win the game for her team, Harding, one of the best players in the country, bricked both attempts off the back of the rim. The Rutgers bench erupted in celebration as Harding had to be helped up by her teammates after the devastating loss.
Duke held the lead for most of the first half, coming back after an early run by the Scarlet Knights. Duke would take a five point lead into halftime. After watching the Blue Devils increase their lead to ten Rutgers finally put together a run in the second half. Eventually the Knights tied the game with under eight minutes to play, but Duke quickly regained the advantage. Rutgers refused to go away, however, and Prince’s lay-up gave her team the lead for the first time since the three-minute mark of the first half.
Matee Ajavon was the star for Rutgers, scoring 20 points on the afternoon. She also contributed four rebounds in the winning effort. Ajavon was the only player to score in double-digits for Knights. As a team Rutgers shot an unimpressive 39.7 percent from the field and went 3-13 from three-point land. Prince’s lay-up, her eighth and ninth point of the contest, were the final points of the game and the most important for Rutgers.
Center Alison Bales led the Blue Devils in scoring with 21 points. Bales also had five rebounds. Carrem Gay had ten points and four rebounds. Lindsey Harding had five points and five rebounds. As a team Duke went 10 of 14 from the free-throw line. Harding’s two misses with .1 seconds left were here only attempts from the line.
The loss ends yet another impressive season for a Blue Devils team that seemed ready to win a championship. Last season Duke lost in the national championship game. This year they fail to make the Final Four, ending their season with an overall record of 32-2. Their other loss of the season was at the hands of N.C. State in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.