Duke escapes, beats Marist 71-66 in NCAAs

Freshman Chelsea Gray scored all 13 of her points in the second half to help Duke rally from 11 down and beat Marist 71-66 on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Gray hit the go-ahead free throws with 2:27 left, part of an 11-0 run that helped the second-seeded Blue Devils (31-3) escape what would have been a stunning loss on their own home court. She also knocked down a 3-pointer, then followed her free throws by poking the ball loose from Kate Oliver and getting out in transition for a layup that capped the run and gave Duke a 65-60 lead with 1:33 left.

Jasmine Thomas scored 17 points to lead the Blue Devils, who have won 16 straight NCAA games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke advanced in the Philadelphia Regional to the round of 16 for the second straight year and will face third-seeded DePaul.

Duke ended Marist's 27-game winning streak, which was the longest in the nation.

Corielle Yarde scored 25 to lead the 10th-seeded Red Foxes (31-3), who led most of the night and had a chance to force overtime. Trailing 69-66, Marist's Leanne Ockenden missed a good look on a 3-pointer in the final seconds. Duke freshman Haley Peters came up with the rebound and hit two free throws with 1.9 seconds left to seal the win.

Duke shot 55 percent in the second half after going 11-for-34 (32 percent) before the break, and got strong second-half contributions from Gray and senior Krystal Thomas (all 10 points after halftime).

Marist played the entire second half without leading scorer Erica Allenspach, who sprained her left ankle late in the first half. Still, the Red Foxes led 60-54 on a 3-pointer from Oliver with 5:22 left before Duke made its clinching run.

First Peters hit a jumper, then Gray followed with her second 3 of the half to cut the deficit to 60-59 with 2:46 left. Then she stole the ball on the press and was fouled, giving her the go-ahead shots that ultimately helped save the Blue Devils against a team that showed no fear all night.

Marist came in averaging a national-low 11 turnovers, but Duke's variety of fullcourt and trapping pressure forced the Red Foxes into a season-high 20 turnovers that Duke converted into 28 points. That defensive pressure wore down Marist in the final minutes, denying the Red Foxes the program's second trip to the round of 16.

Instead, the Blue Devils are headed there for the 13th time in 14 years.