- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie figures the losses won’t stop until her players figure out how to stop their opponents.

No. 17 North Carolina became the latest team to come into Cameron Indoor Stadium and score at will, beating the third-ranked Blue Devils 89-78 on Monday night.

The Tar Heels, No. 1 Connecticut and No. 2 Notre Dame each rolled up at least 83 points in a double-digit win on Duke’s home floor.

“Our team’s got to want to play defense,” McCallie said. “If we don’t, this will happen again.”

Elizabeth Williams had a career-high 28 points on 12-of-23 shooting and blocked five shots, and Tricia Liston added 20 points for Duke (22-3, 9-2 ACC).

But in losing consecutive home games for the first time in two decades, the Blue Devils allowed a 30-point scorer - UNC’s Diamond DeShields, who had 30 - for the first time since 2009.

“I think that defense is something that this team generally wants other people to do,” McCallie said. “We don’t get into defense. We’re playing defense to get the ball back on offense. … Our transition defense has been awful. The difference in the game was transition defense.”

Fellow freshman Allisha Gray added 24 points - including three three-point plays in the final 8 minutes - for the Tar Heels (18-6, 6-4).

Xylina McDaniel finished with 17 points for North Carolina - which never trailed, hit 12 3-pointers, built three separate double-figure leads in the second half and finally made the third one stand.

The Tar Heels snapped a three-game overall losing streak, and a seven-game slide against their fiercest rivals by claiming their first win at Cameron since 2008.

“In the end, the players did it. They said, ‘We’re going to make a statement and we’re going to make a statement tonight,’” UNC associate head coach Andrew Calder said.

Alexis Jones had 15 points and 11 assists for the Duke, which twice in the second half trailed by double digits but closed within one possession. Liston pulled the Blue Devils to 63-61 with her free throw with 8:13 left.

DeShields then swished a 3 from the left corner on the Tar Heels’ next trip downcourt - holding her right hand in the air for a few extra seconds. Gray got behind Haley Peters for a fast-break layup through contact and hit the ensuing free throw to push the lead to 69-61 with 7:42 left.

Gray added another three-point play about 2 minutes later, and her 3-pointer with just under 5 minutes left put North Carolina up 75-64 - its third double-figure lead of the half.

This one stuck: Duke didn’t get closer than seven the rest of the way, and taken with last week’s 88-67 loss to the Fighting Irish, now has its first losing streak at Cameron since it lost to Virginia and Clemson in January 1994.

“We weren’t getting the stops to tie or go ahead,” Liston said.

DeShields eclipsed her previous high of 28 set against Arizona State in November and became the first player to put up 30 on the Blue Devils since James Madison’s Dawn Evans (31) on Dec. 18, 2009.

“Winning here is not easy. Winning here is not common,” DeShields said. “To be a part of that group of winners who come in here and do the job against great Duke teams, it’s always a great feeling. … That’s part of history. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

DeShields and McDaniel helped the Tar Heels dominate the first half. They led 45-36 at the break after repeatedly pushing their lead to 12.

DeShields had 15 points and McDaniel had 12 at halftime against a Duke team that hadn’t allowed more than 44 points in any first half all year.

McDaniel’s 3-pointer about 15 seconds into the second half made it 48-36, but Duke temporarily made it a game again by reeling off 11 straight points over the next 2½ minutes.


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

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