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No. 7 Duke beats No. 8 Maryland 84-63

(AP Photo/Ted Richardson)

By JOEDY McCREARY

AP Sports Writer

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) There hasn't been much "D" at Duke lately. Elizabeth Williams and the Blue Devils hope that problem is over now.

Williams had 17 points and 11 rebounds while keying the defensive effort that helped No. 7 Duke beat No. 8 Maryland 84-63 on Monday night.

"I can't remember the last time we had a full, 40-minute defensive effort" like this, Williams said.

Alexis Jones had a season-best 22 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers, for the Blue Devils (23-3, 10-2 ACC), who shot 53 percent.

Duke avoided its first consecutive losses since 2007-08 and dodged its first three-game home slide in more than two decades.

And the Blue Devils did it with defense.

Williams blocked three shots while taking "more elbows than an overworked plumber," coach Joanne P. McCallie said.

Duke became just the fifth team to outrebound Maryland, establishing a 44-37 advantage on the boards, and held the Terrapins to a season-worst 32 percent shooting.

Alyssa Thomas had 14 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for Maryland (20-5, 8-4).

Thomas missed eight of her first nine shots, but managed to make three in a row to help the Terrapins close to 53-48 with just under 11 minutes remaining.

Duke followed with three straight 3s - one by Tricia Liston, two by Jones. Liston added two free throws to make it 64-48 with 8:17 left.

Maryland didn't get closer than 11 after that.

"We got hesitant with our shot," coach Brenda Frese said. "Too many players thinking about their shot when it wasn't falling in, and obviously, when you score 63 points on the road, you're not going to win a lot of games. ... You've got to be able to solve something at one end of the floor or the other."

Richa Jackson had 19 points and Liston finished with 12 for Duke, which denied the Terrapins their first victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 2008.

That stood as the Blue Devils' most recent ACC home loss until No. 2 Notre Dame blew them out earlier this month and rival North Carolina did the same a week earlier. This was Duke's first game since then.

"When you don't do something you want to do, and you have a week to think about it ... we had to kind of suffer and handle the comments and handle how we felt about things," McCallie said. "And I think it's made us stronger."

Freshman Lexie Brown had 13 points and Alicia DeVaughn added 10 for the Big Ten-bound Terrapins, whose final scheduled game at Cameron came two nights after their men's team bid farewell to the famously hostile arena.

Unlike that matchup - in which coach Mark Turgeon was serenaded with "Sweat, Gary, Sweat" chants not heard since Gary Williams retired three years ago - there was noticeably less venom in this one.

"It wasn't as loud as I thought it would be, but definitely, the atmosphere was great," Brown said. "But I did let the crowd and Duke get in my head a little bit."

The Blue Devils had lost a measure of their swagger lately during their first two-game losing streak at Cameron since 1994.

And defense was the culprit: They allowed at least 83 points in each of their three double-digit home losses, including 89 to the Tar Heels last time out.

That prompted McCallie to say after that loss that "defense is something that this team generally wants other people to do."

The Blue Devils had a week off to stew about that, and in the first half, they held Thomas - the two-time ACC player of the year - to three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

"The defense was back," McCallie said.

The offense always has been there for Duke, the nation's second-best 3-point-shooting team and its No. 3 team in field-goal percentage.

The Blue Devils hit nine of their final 12 shots of the first half to open a 38-30 lead on Kendall McCravey-Cooper's stickback with 9 seconds before the break. Jackson's 3 with just over 14 minutes to play gave Duke its first double-figure lead at 49-39.

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Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyap

Updated February 17, 2014

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