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Duke Edges Alabama 74-71

A solid win as the awesome Lawson era gets under way in earnest

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been waiting to get a better sense of the Kara Lawson era since last year when Duke opted out after only a few games. Well, if the Alabama game is an earlyy indicator, we could be in for a fun ride.

Duke had a back-and-forth game with the Crimson Tide before winning 74-71.

Playing in the Maggie Dixon Classic in Texas - the late Dixon was the former coach at Army and the sister of former Pitt coach Jamie Dixon - the Blue Devils had issues but came through at the end with toughness and good decisions.

After the win, Lawson said that “[t]his was a hard-fought game for us. I told our group in the locker room. There’s a lot of things we wish we would’ve done better. At the same for us to lock in and focus and have some resiliency towards the end and be able to make critical plays that we needed to win the game—I was very encouraged by that. It’s really hard to fight back from a deficit.”

We can’t find the video of the decisive play but it was superb: the pass from Celeste Taylor was excellent and Jade Williams took them home. After that, ‘Bama missed a chippie and Onome Akinbode-James got the rebound and two foul shots for her trouble. She hit them both to preserve the victory.

Duke won despite 22 turnovers including five each by Williams and Taylor.

Also notable: Duke’s Lexi Gordon played against her sister, Myra, in their home town.