Kody Burke just about shot No. 14 North Carolina State to one of the greatest rallies in school history.
Burke had career highs of 30 points and six 3-pointers in the Wolfpack's 83-70 loss to No. 7 Duke on Thursday night.
"It's nice," she said, "but I was just hoping it would translate to a 'W.'"
It very nearly did.
N.C. State (22-5, 9-4 ACC) trailed by 24 points before Burke got hot — at one point hitting 3-pointers on three straight possessions during the rally.
"That's the reason we had a chance," first-year coach Wes Moore said. "She got us back in the game and gave us some momentum, and our kids fed off of that."
Her last one made it 70-66 with 3½ minutes left. But N.C. State came up empty on its next four possessions — either missed shots or turnovers by freshman guards Miah Spencer and Ashley Williams.
"You've obviously used a lot of energy to get there, but we had some momentum and you could feel it," Moore said.
And then Duke's Haley Peters hit what Moore called "the big shot."
Her 3-pointer from the corner with 2 minutes left made it a seven-point game. She then stuck back Alexis Jones' missed 3 to put Duke up 75-66 with about a minute remaining, and the Blue Devils pulled away for their third straight win in the series.
"We just refocused when it got to a point where they caught back up," Tricia Liston said. "We started getting stops on the defensive end. We started locating their shooters."
Liston scored 24 points for second-place Duke (24-3, 11-2) and Peters scored five of her 13 after N.C. State closed within four.
"Exactly what we need," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "We need a lot more of those games, the idea of playing a very quality opponent, the idea of a hot shooter that we lost and didn't find, of making incredible plays on our end. ... It's this kind of year for those kind of games."
Jones and Richa Jackson each scored 12 points for Duke — which never trailed, blocked a season-best eight shots — seven in the first half.
A tight finish should have been expected — even after the Blue Devils jumped out to that huge lead: Since McCallie took over at Duke in 2007, eight of the 10 meetings have been decided by 14 or fewer points.
"No one's ever going to quit in those games," she said.
But they always seem to end the same way at Cameron Indoor Stadium — where N.C. State hasn't won since 1996.
Peters and Elizabeth Williams each had 10 rebounds, and Liston reached the 20-point mark for the eighth time in 10 games since ACC co-player of the year Chelsea Gray suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Markeisha Gatling had 16 points and Spencer finished with 14 for N.C. State, which has lost two straight since a six-game winning streak vaulted the Wolfpack into the top 10 for the first time since 2001.
"Now we're seeing everybody's 'A' game, and we've got to be able to answer that," Moore said. "I think we can but it's a big responsibility, and you've got to work that much harder."
N.C. State was well on its way to its worst shooting night of the season before it got hot midway through the second half, digging its way out of that huge hole to make it a game again. Spencer's 3-pointer with just under 6 minutes left made it 67-57 before Burke's 3-point binge made things unexpectedly tense.
That's because Duke looked to have wrapped this one up early in the second half by scoring on eight of nine trips downcourt during a 19-5 run that pushed its lead well into the 20s.
Liston hit three 3s during the burst, starting it with one and capping it with two more on back-to-back possessions to make it 59-35 with 14½ minutes left.
"I think we lost our focus in that period of time," McCallie said, "and I think it's a good lesson for us."