GREENSBORO, N.C. – Once again, Duke shut down Florida State's Leonor Rodriguez.
The all-Atlantic Coast Conference performer finished with five points on 1-for-14 shooting as the No. 23 Seminoles lost to the sixth-ranked Blue Devils 72-66 in Saturday's ACC tournament semifinals.
Rodriguez, a senior guard, was FSU's leading scorer at 15.4 points per game while shooting almost 48 percent on the season. But she struggled all day against the Blue Devils and scored a combined 14 points on 4-for-24 shooting (17 percent) in two meetings this year.
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said she liked the way Tricia Liston first defended Rodriguez, then the way her team was constantly aware of Rodriguez along the perimeter. As a result, Rodriguez went 1 for 8 from behind the arc and had four of the Seminoles' seven straight misses as Duke took control late.
It was a rough two-game tournament stint for Rodriguez, who scored five points on 1-for-7 shooting in Friday's quarterfinal against Miami. She finished with six assists and four rebounds against Duke.
"I think it was one of those days, but credit her for getting everybody else involved," FSU coach Sue Semrau said. "That's a kid that has all the courage in the world and doesn't worry about herself. I think she really rubs off on the rest of our team."
For Duke, Haley Peters had 17 points, 13 rebounds and the go-ahead basket with 4:06 left.
Liston also scored 17 for the top-seeded Blue Devils (29-2), who never trailed but had a tough fight all day with the fourth-seeded Seminoles (22-9). The teams were tied with about 5 minutes left before Peters' stickback started Duke's go-ahead push.
Peters, a 6-foot-3 junior, had a huge performance after managing just five points and three rebounds in Friday's quarterfinal against North Carolina State. She finished 8 for 14 from the floor and had six offensive rebounds against FSU, part of Duke's domination on the glass.
Chelsea Davis scored 17 points to lead Florida State, which was in the semifinals for only the third time in program history. All three runs have ended with losses to Duke.
Duke advanced to Sunday's championship game for the 11th time in 14 seasons.
Duke freshman Alexis Jones also came up big late in the game, finding Richa Jackson for a layup with a zip pass to the baseline and then hitting her own layup off a turnover.
Liston followed with two free throws for a 68-60 lead with 45.7 seconds left that all but sealed it.
Duke has won seven straight meetings against the Seminoles, who haven't beaten the Blue Devils since January 2009.
FSU trailed all day, including 9-0 at the start, before fighting back to tie the game at 55 on two free throws by Morgan Toles with 5:18 left. That set up a tight run to the finish — Liston and Alexa Deluzio even traded 3s on the ensuing possessions — but Duke kept coming up with the tough baskets to maintain its grasp on the game.
The Blue Devils shot 46 percent but did their best work on the glass, taking a 43-32 rebounding advantage and finishing with 17 second-chance points.
That at least offset their 17 turnovers that the Seminoles converted into 17 points, too.
Florida State shot 38 percent and 6 for 17 from 3-point range.
Duke beat Florida State 61-50 at home on Feb. 22 in the only regular-season meeting. It was the Blue Devils' first game following the season-ending knee injury to league co-player of the year Chelsea Gray.