Duke basketball swept by North Carolina, misses No. 1 seed in tourney

Duke basketball head coach Kara Lawson (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Kara Lawson (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball team was swept by North Carolina and missed a chance at the ACC title. 

Sunday had the opportunity to be a historic day for the Duke basketball program.

The No. 11 Lady Blue Devils had a chance to avenge its loss earlier in the season to North Carolina and clinch the ACC regular season title in the process.

Instead, head coach Kara Lawson saw a similar result from her team against the No. 22 Tar Heels.

Duke shot 30.2-percent from the field (16-of-53) and turned the ball over 25 times in the 45-41 loss to North Carolina.

It felt like nothing changed after the Tar Heels defeated the Blue Devils, 61-56, in January in which Duke (24-5, 14-4 ACC) shot 33.3-percent (19-of-57) from the floor with 16 turnovers.

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The sold out crowd inside Cameron Indoor Stadium was treated to a great start from the home team after a 14-8 lead at the end of the first quarter — despite shooting 5-of-18 from the floor — which resulted in a 20-16 advantage at halftime.

The Tar Heels (20-9, 11-7 ACC) did not shoot much better than the Blue Devils at 34.1-percent (15-of-44) but the game was won at the free throw line with North Carolina (12-of-15) having the clear advantage over Duke (5-of-6).

Elizabeth Balogun led Duke with 12 points in the loss while no player on North Carolina scored at least 10 points but the Tar Heels did have four players score at least seven points.

Duke basketball losses chance at top overall seed in ACC Tournament

A victory over North Carolina would have given the Blue Devils the No. 1 seed in this week’s ACC Tournament because of its head-to-head victory over No. 10 Notre Dame but instead are the No. 2 seed entering Greensboro.

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Duke earns a double-bye into the quarterfinals and could have a third matchup with the Tar Heels, the No. 7 seed, who await the winner of the first round matchup between Clemson and Pittsburgh.

Kara Lawson’s team will take the floor on Friday night (6:00p.m., ACC Network) looking for its first ACC Tournament Championship since 2013.

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