Jan. 15, 2010

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)--Being the last unbeaten team in Atlantic Coast Conference play wasn't something Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie was willing to enjoy.

And nearly knocking off the nation's No. 7 team wasn't enough to make Miami coach Katie Meier happy, either.

Reserve Krystal Thomas had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Duke remained perfect in the ACC by beating No. 25 Miami 69-62 on Thursday night. The win, combined with losses by North Carolina and Boston College, left the Blue Devils as the last no-loss team in the conference race.

"There's absolutely no significance until we create that for ourselves at the end," McCallie said. "But what's nice is you've just got to love every game. ... If where we want to be at the end, there's significance in that, but that's a long way away."

Jasmine Thomas was only 4 of 19 from the field but scored 16 points for Duke (15-2, 3-0), which got a three-point play from Krystal Thomas with 2:06 left to take a seven-point lead. Karima Christmas added 12 points and Bridgette Mitchell scored 10 for the Blue Devils.

Shenise Johnson finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for Miami (13-3, 1-1), which was bidding to knock off a top 10 team for the first time since 1991 and was playing as a nationally ranked team for the first time since February 2004. Morgan Stroman scored 15 points for the Hurricanes, while ACC scoring leader Riquna Williams was held to 10 points on 4-of-23 shooting.

In recent years, coming close would have been reason for Miami to party, especially considering the Hurricanes have never finished better than 6-8 in ACC play.

Not this time, Meier said.

"We've changed. It's different here," Meier said. "We're not almost anymore."

Added Johnson: "It's not good enough."

The Hurricanes led for most of the first half and got within 63-60 on Stroman's layup with 55 seconds to play, but no closer in the final minute and finished shooting only 33 percent. Miami fell to 0-7 all-time against Duke, Meier's alma mater.

"We just take every game with the same mindset," Christmas said. "Everybody's going to be good. Everybody's going to try to challenge us and make it a game. You just have to grind it out `til the end."

That's what Duke did, thanks largely to its defense.

Williams came in averaging 22.4 points per game, then opened Thursday by making three of her first six shots to help stake the Hurricanes to an early lead.

And then Duke did what most Miami opponents haven't--cool her off. Williams missed 12 straight shots over the next 21 minutes.

"We got the shots, but Duke did a great job of keeping us from scoring, not shooting," Meier said. "I've got to give their defensive schemes a lot of credit for that."

Still, the Hurricanes found a way to stay with Duke. Jasmine Thomas' 3-pointer with 11 1/2 minutes left gave the Blue Devils a 48-39 lead, only to have Miami immediately answer with seven straight points.

Stroman's layup with 8:34 left got Miami within 49-48, but Duke held on to the lead the rest of the way, with Krystal Thomas' putback and free throw pushing the lead to 62-55.

"I think that they had a hard time matching up with her," McCallie said.

Duke led for only 2:26 of the first half, yet took a 28-26 halftime lead on Christmas' tiebreaking basket with 10 seconds remaining.

Miami led by as many as nine points in the opening minutes, an 11-2 run over 5:13 putting the Hurricanes up 20-11 with 8:21 remaining before halftime. But the Hurricanes missed 11 of their final 14 shots of the half--their downturn starting when Williams went ice cold--and that opened the door for Duke to take the lead with a 17-6 run.