Duke junior and Manteca native Chelsea Gray was named a second-team AP All-American on Tuesday.
A small consolation in a season marred by injury.
Gray missed the final 11 games with a dislocated knee cap, including Tuesday’s season-ending 87-76 loss to top-seeded Notre Dame in the Elite Eight.
The Blue Devils (33-3) led top-seeded Notre Dame 37-31 at halftime, then had no answer when the Fighting Irish put foul trouble behind them and turned up the pressure behind All-American Skylar Diggins.
“The difference came from us and them,” said Tricia Liston, who led Duke with 19 points. “They came out much more aggressive in the second half on offense and we did not come out with the same aggression defensively. For whatever reason, we were not focused and concentrated on the same things.”
Notre Dame (35-1) wasted little time taking advantage, using a 15-2 run to take the lead and remaining comfortably ahead the rest of the way en route to its return to the Final Four.
The Blue Devils’ season came to end in a regional final for the fourth consecutive season.
Foul trouble hurt Duke mightily as point guard Alexis Jones, who took over the job when Gray dislocated her kneecap 11 games ago, got her fourth with 15 minutes to play.
Gray was injured while grabbing a rebound against Wake Forest on Feb. 17. She immediately collapsed to the floor, grabbing her knee.
Just like that, Duke, ranked fifth at the time, was without its floor leader.
At the time of her injury, Gray led the Blue Devils in minutes played and assists (136). She finished third on the team in scoring (12.6), second in rebounds (5.3) and shot nearly 41 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
She was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s co-Player of the Year by the conference’s head coaches. She is the sixth player in school history to win the award.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.