The men aren't the only ones saying goodbye to the Maryland/Duke rivalry this week.
The No. 9 women's basketball team will be heading down to Durham for their final trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium as an ACC member for a 7 p.m. Monday night tip-off. It will be the only time the Terps will face the No. 7 Blue Devils during conference play, as just like the men the women weren't granted the usual home game either.
Maryland will be looking for its first win in Durham since a 76-69 win back on Feb. 17, 2008, which was also the day Brenda Frese gave birth to her twin boys. They'll also be looking to even up the all-time series, which the Blue Devils currently hold a slim lead at 40-39.
It's a critical game for both Duke and the Terps as they jockey for position in the ACC standings, where the Devils currently sit tied for second at 9-2 and the Terrapins third at 8-3.
After dropping three straight to Virginia, Notre Dame, and NC State back in January, Maryland has rebounded with four straight wins, albeit all against non-ranked teams. The Terps actually only have one win over a ranked team on the season -- over then No. 10-UNC back on January 5 -- and Duke represents their last chance at another one before the ACC Tournament.
The Blue Devils are in the middle of an absolutely brutal stretch of games to close out their season, having already lost two of their last three to No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 17 North Carolina, both at home. Including tomorrow night, their next three games are all against Top 10 teams, as well as one more match-up at UNC still on the slate. Maryland, meanwhile, has a much easier schedule to finish out the season, meaning a win could put the ladies in great position to finish second in the conference (NC State, currently tied for second with Duke, still has games left at Duke and vs. Notre Dame and UNC).
The Blue Devils, who were ranked as high as No. 2 back in December, are led by senior guard Tricia Liston, who averages 18.5 points a game and makes a deadly 49 percent of her three-pointers, good for the third-best percentage in the nation. They're also led by junior center Elizabeth Williams, who averages 14 points and 7.2 rebounds, sophomore guard Alexis Jones, who averages 12.7 points per game, and senior Haley Peters, who averages 11 points and 7.8 rebounds. But Duke is still learning to adjust after the loss of senior point guard Chelsea Gray, who suffered a college career-ending knee injury a month ago.
As a team, the Blue Devils shoot 41.4 percent from the perimeter, which is good for third in the nation. The Terps are ranked first in three-point FG defense in the ACC and 21st in the country, but when they recently faced the nation's top three-point shooting team, Notre Dame, the Irish were still able to shoot just a shade under their average.
Maryland's going to want to keep Duke off the three-point line and force them to drive, as the Blue Devils are one of the ACC's worst free-throw shooting teams at 65.2 percent. In contrast, Maryland is the conference's best at 76.7 percent.
The battle of the boards will also be key, with Maryland averaging just one more rebound per game than the Blue Devils and both teams boasting two of the best rebounding margins in the country.
As usual, the Terrapins are going to be looking for a big game out of Alyssa Thomas, their senior star who averages 18.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. They're also going to need freshmen Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Lexi Brown, who average 10.8 and 8.8 points a game, respectively, to have productive games in what should be a raucous and new environment for them.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and can be heard on Maryland Sports Radio Network.
- Maryland-Duke recap: Terps lose heartbreaker in Durham, 69-67
- Maryland-ACC Memories: Terps capture ACC Tournament Title with overtime win over Duke
- Maryland baseball: Terps bounce back with big win over Florida, 9-7
- Maryland men's lacrosse: Terps blow out UMBC 14-3, Rambo records second straight hat trick
- Maryland women's lacrosse opens the 2014 season with a 14-3 rout of UMBC