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Christmas scores 20 to lift No. 3 Duke over Temple

For the second year in a row, Temple decided to dare Karima Christmas to beat them from the perimeter.

For the second year in a row, she did.

Christmas tied a season high with 20 points to help No. 3 Duke beat Temple 71-64 Thursday night.

"Our game plan has been, the last two years, to play off of her because she's the only guy you can really play off of outside the 3-point line," Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said. "And every single time she's murdered us. So I'm glad she's a senior."

Last season, Christmas made 3 of 5 3-pointers. On Thursday night, she made 2 of 3, along with 10 of 13 free throws.

"They left me open, and I shot it," Christmas said. "I mean, it's not like I haven't hit shots. I wouldn't know why somebody would say that. If I had the open shot, I took it. If I had the open lane, I took it. I just was in attack mode all the time."

Jasmine Thomas added 13 points for the Blue Devils, who improved to 13-0 for the fourth time in program history.

Shay Selby and Krystal Thomas each had 12 points for Duke.

Qwedia Wallace scored 21 points to lead the Owls (7-6), who were up 31-30 at halftime. Satoria Bell tied a season high with 16 points for Temple, and Shey Peddy had 10 points.

Duke, which trailed at halftime for only the second time all season, scored the first eight points of the second half.

The Blue Devils held Temple to three offensive rebounds in the second half after the Owls had 15 offensive rebounds in the first.

"Urgency was the message," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "The way we fought and the way we played in the second half, if we had put that together for two halves, that would have been something really interesting relative to rebounding."

The Owls twice cut the deficit to two points, but the Blue Devils responded with an 11-2 run midway through the second half to take a 51-40 lead with 8½ minutes remaining.

Christmas made four free throws during the decisive stretch and came up with steals on three consecutive possessions.

The first led to a 3-pointer by Selby, and the last steal resulted in a transition layup by Thomas that gave the Blue Devils their first double-digit lead of the game.

Selby was 4-for-4 from 3-point range off Duke's bench, making three 3-pointers during a four-minute span to help her team pull away.

"It's definitely hard being cold, but you just have to have confidence and believe in yourself," Selby said. "My teammates believe in me."

Kathleen Scheer made a layup to give Duke its biggest lead at 65-50 with 4:20 remaining. The Owls cut the margin to 68-64 on a layup by Peddy in the final minute, but Christmas countered with a free throw and a layup to ice the game.

Both teams were playing their first game since Dec. 21, and Duke was playing its second since Dec. 12.