- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - Miami coach Katie Meier wasn’t discouraged by a narrow loss to Duke. She believes the heart her team showed in nearly upsetting the third-ranked Blue Devils bodes well for the important games to come.

“If we play with that much guts and effort the rest of the way, we’re really going to have a fun February and fun March,” Meier said after the Hurricanes’ 76-75 loss Thursday night. “We played with passion. We were resilient.”

Elizabeth Williams converted one of two free throws with 1.7 seconds remaining and Duke avoided the Hurricanes’ bid for a second-straight upset of the Blue Devils at home. In Duke’s previous visit to Miami last February, the Hurricanes defeated the then fifth-ranked Blue Devils 69-65.

Suriya McGuire scored 23 points and Motley finished with 15 points for the Hurricanes (11-10, 3-5).

“It would have felt even better than it was last year,” McGuire said. “This is an eye opener. We’re the underdogs. We want to get that win against the bigger teams.”

Tricia Liston scored 29 points and Williams and Alexis Jones added 18 apiece for the Blue Devils (21-1, 8-0), who won their ninth straight road game and 11th overall.

Williams grabbed Jones‘ missed jumper with 2 seconds remaining and was fouled by Miami’s Adrienne Motley. Williams made the first free throw to break the 75-75 tie.

“I thought that rebound that she had at the end of the game symbolized her strength,” Duke coach Joanne McCallie said of Williams.

Maria Brown’s two free throws with 14.8 remaining tied it 75-75. The Hurricanes were attempting a last-second shot when Brown was fouled by Richa Jackson away from the ball.

“We were going for the win,” Meier said. “I did not want Duke to have the ball back.

“As it’s been the case all year, we’ve been getting killed on the offensive glass. Our kids did everything they were supposed to do except that last rebound.”

Liston’s three-point play with 18 seconds left gave Duke a 75-73 lead. Liston scored 20 or more points for the 12th time this season.

“We weren’t happy with our performance here last year, but the ACC is just a great conference and you can expect that coming into every game,” Liston said. “Miami’s always played us tough so coming in here we were really focused on having a better outcome.”

Duke rallied from a five-point deficit with six unanswered points late in the second half. Jones‘ short jumper with 1:01 remaining capped the run and gave the Blue Devils a 72-71 lead.

“I’m really proud of my team because of the fight that we had,” McCallie said. “There were times when it got crazy. There were some unnecessary shots. Control of tempo helped us down the stretch.”

The Blue Devils overcame an 11-point deficit with a late first half run that stretched into the second half.

Jones and Williams scored two field goals each as Duke outscored Miami 10-2 in the first 2:02 of the second half for a 53-48 lead.

Miami stayed within striking distance and went ahead 62-61 on Krystal Saunders’ 3-pointer with 8:45 remaining.

The Hurricanes rallied from a six-point deficit and scored 15 unanswered points midway through the first half. McGuire scored six points and Saunders hit two 3-pointers during the spurt. Saunders’ second 3-pointer with 7:31 remaining capped the run and gave Miami a 31-22 lead.

Williams‘ two free throws with 7:01 left ended a scoring drought of 4:21 for the Blue Devils.

Caprice Dennis’ 3-pointer with 5:12 remaining gave Miami its second 11-point lead of the half at 40-29. Miami shot 7 of 11 from behind the arc in the first half.

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