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Fourth quarter run propels No. 13 Duke past No. 21 Syracuse in ACC Quarterfinals

Duke was able to shut down ACC Player of the Year, Alexis Peterson, en route to a 68-46 win in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament Friday. (PHOTO: NESN)

The Syracuse University women's basketball team entered the ACC Tournament in Conway, South Carolina on a roll, winning its last two regular season games in lopsided fashion over Wake Forest and Pittsburgh, respectively.

To start the tournament, the Orange cruised past North Carolina by 19 points en route to Friday night's quarterfinal game with the Blue Devils.

Only three weeks prior, Syracuse dropped a road contest by 17 points in Durham.

Clearly, the Blue Devils had Syracuse's number, but it did not start that way.

The Orange hung tough through three quarters, going toe-to-toe with the No. 13 Blue Devils for a majority of the contest.

However, late in the third quarter, the momentum shifted in colossal fashion.

Alexis Peterson's pull up jumper pulled the Orange within a three-point deficit with under two minutes remaining in the third quarter. But that's when Duke kicked it into overdrive.

Poor transition defense led to a Leaonna Odom layup at the other end, giving the Blue Devils a five-point advantage.

Within the blink of an eye, Lexie Brown picked Peterson's pocket for a breakaway layup, which also resulted in a foul on the play. The three-point play put the Orange down by eight points within a 30-second span.

In the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils put it away with a 25-5 run and ultimately the 68-46 win.

Syracuse's 46 points was a season low. The Orange is averaging 80 points per game. Furthermore, Peterson was held to only nine points on the night, while freshman Gabby Cooper led the Orange with 18 points. Senior guard Brittney Sykes also chipped in with a double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds).

The Orange will now shift its attention to the NCAA Tournament, where it is guaranteed a spot in the big dance. Several bracketologists predict the Orange to land a 6-seed when the brackets are revealed next week.

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