Gorecki, Blue Devils keep surging, knock off Wolfpack
Womens College Headlines
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Duke was in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. Now the Blue Devils are the hottest team in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Haley Gorecki scored 13 of her 24 points in the fourth quarter to help Duke beat No. 8 North Carolina State 70-65 on Monday night.
Onome Akinbode-James added 12 points and Kyra Lambert had 11 for the Blue Devils (17-10, 11-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their sixth consecutive game.
Duke has won 10 of 12 game since starting 1-3 in conference play.
"What you're seeing right now is how we are as a team," Gorecki said. "We knew what our potential is. Everything is clicking, and everybody is doing their job and their role."
Leaonna Odom had 10 points as Duke won at N.C. State for the first time since 2013.
The Blue Devils never trailed, holding on after N.C. State cut their 11-point lead in the second quarter to 31-30 at halftime.
Duke scored on its first four possessions of the third quarter and extended its lead to 62-52 on a three-point play by Gorecki with 3:17 remaining in the game.
After the Wolfpack pulled within 66-63, Gorecki made a driving layup with 19.4 seconds left.
"I loved our poise and composure down the stretch," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
Elissa Cunane had 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead N.C. State (23-4, 12-4), which suffered its third loss in four games. Jada Boyd added 15 points for the Wolfpack.
N.C. State made 6 of 24 3-point attempts, shooting below 30% from 3-point range for the fifth consecutive game, and was outscored 23-2 in points off turnovers.
"These past couple of games have kind of hit us in the mouth," Cunane said.
Duke: The Blue Devils are trending in the right direction as the regular season nears its end. They added their second win over a ranked opponent in the last two weeks, taking over sole possession of third place in the league and bolstering their resume for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth. "We've all continued to push," Akinbode-James said. "We want to be in a certain place at a certain time of year, and we've had this little surge lately because everyone is contributing."
N.C. State: It's now fair to characterize the Wolfpack's recent struggles as more than a blip. Two weeks ago, they were riding high with a 22-1 record and a No. 4 national ranking. Now, after three consecutive home losses, they appear to be limping toward the finish line. "Duke has got three seniors in that starting lineup who realize that it's now or never," N.C. State coach Wes Moore said. "We maybe have some young players out there who don't get that yet. And it's hurting us because this time of year everything is turned up a notch or two."
Cunane was dominant, just as she was when she had 27 points in the Wolfpack's 63-60 victory at Duke on Feb. 2. She made 8 of 10 shots from the floor, missing only two desperation 3-pointers late, and converted all six of her free throws. She is now 16 of 19 from the floor and 17 of 19 on free throws against the Blue Devils this season.
HE SAID IT
"If you want to be great, you'd better be able to handle the heat. We're not hungry enough. We're not tough enough. I recruit great kids. But when you step between the lines, at some point, you've got to get down and dirty. You've got to compete. I just don't feel like we're doing that well enough." - Moore
It was N.C. State's 15th-annual Play4Kay Game, an event that celebrates the life of Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow and all others who have battled cancer. Yow, who guided the U.S. national team to the Olympic gold medal in 1988 and led N.C. State to the Final Four in 1998, died in 2009 after a 22-year battle with breast cancer.
Players, coaches and fans of both teams wore pink in support of the cause. Cancer survivors gathered on the court at halftime for a ceremony led by ESPN analyst Debbie Antonelli, who played for Yow at N.C. State.
Duke: The Blue Devils on Thursday night play at Virginia Tech, whom they beat 72-67 in overtime on Jan. 12.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack host Syracuse on Thursday night in their final regular-season home game.
Updated February 24, 2020