Coach P and the Blue Devils celebrate their third ACC Tournament title in four years - John Mundy
The Duke Blue Devils routed the North Carolina Tar Heels 92-73 to capture their eight ACC Women's Basketball Tournament Championship.
GREENSBORO-- Alexis Jones and Elizabeth Williams each scored 24 points and grabbed 8 rebounds to lead the Duke Blue Devils to a 92-73 trouncing of third-seeded North Carolina in the championship of the women's ACC Tournament. The championship is Duke's eighth, and their third in the last four years. Junior Haley Peters capped off a strong tournament performance by scoring 17 points despite being saddled much of the game with foul trouble.
The Blue Devils (30-2, 17-1 ACC) placed three players on the All-Tournament first team: Peters, Williams and tournament MVP Jones. Duke actually trailed the Tar Heels (28-6, 14-4 ACC) by 6 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half before Duke embarked on a 29-8 run to effectively seize control of the game at halftime. A 10-2 Blue Devil run to open the second half erased any thoughts North Carolina fans had of a replication of Saturday's Tar Heel comeback against Maryland.
"I'm just really proud of this team and their fight and resilience," Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "As we've come along here in our new season of getting to know each other, these three games were extremely valuable to our team to get better and grow as a team. Without question we did, and it was an awful lot of fun to be out there."
North Carolina shot 30 percent from the floor for the game, continuing a run of poor shooting throughout the tournament. Conversely, the Devils shot a white-hot 56.9 from the floor and dominated the paint, 48-22. The Tar Heels were led by Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (25 points), who was a first-team All-Tournament selection, and 10 points apiece from Waltiea rolle and Latifah Coleman.
"Duke's a great team," North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "I don't know how much better they could have played than they did today. From what I can see they're probably a better team with Alexis Jones out there than they were with Chelsea Gray. Alexis has done a great job but they're just so skilled especially offensively and that makes their defense better because they're so offensively skilled."
Both teams will now wait for seeding in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Despite the rout, North Carolina is still ranked No. 15 in the country and will be a tough out for anyone in the national tournament. Duke's two losses are to Final Four favorite Connecticut and tournament-bound Miami. The pairings will be announced after the men's field is announced next weekend.