DURHAM, N.C. -- Jasmine Thomas saw time ticking away, so she made an aggressive move toward the lane, pump-faked once and tossed up an off-balance jumper.
Nothing but net. A few defensive stops later, and No. 5 Duke had its first marquee victory of the season.
Thomas scored 18 points, including the go-ahead basket with 55 seconds left, to lead the Blue Devils past No. 7 Texas A&M 61-58 on Monday night.
"It was the end of the shot clock, I had to make a play, had to put the shot up -- there was no time to pass it," Thomas said. "And it went in."
Karima Christmas had 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Chelsea Gray added 11 points for the Blue Devils (9-0), who overcame 18 turnovers and 31 percent shooting to extend the best start of coach Joanne P. McCallie's 19-year career.
"Let's put it this way: Think about where we'll be when we shoot 48 to 50 percent and play that kind of defense," McCallie said. "I think that's a matter of time."
Adaora Elonu scored 15 points and Sydney Carter added 13 for the Aggies (6-1), who shot nearly 34 percent and couldn't convert on three chances in the final minute to fall to 6-21 against top-five teams.
"Everybody pretty much pitched in to come up with this win," Thomas said.
Maybe, but she definitely came up with the shot of the game. Her acrobatic jumper from the free throw line over Carter put Duke up 59-58 in the final minute. McCallie called the attempt "nothing short of amazing."
After that, Texas A&M had a few opportunities to take the lead or force overtime. First, the Aggies couldn't get a good look against the Blue Devils' 1-2-2 zone and Sydney Colson's 3-pointer drew only glass as the shot clock expired with about 23 seconds left.
"It had to be a team defensive effort, and I just thought our team hung very, very tough, showed a lot of guts -- even when things didn't go our way," McCallie said.
The best example of that came a split-second later, when Duke turned it over while inbounding the ball. Danielle Adams' baseline jumper off an inbounds pass with about 8 seconds left rimmed out.
"We run the perfect inbounds play," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. "I've got the best kid in America that I would want to shoot that shot, and it just didn't go in."
Thomas hit two free throws with 6.4 seconds left to make it a three-point game, and Christmas stole a pass as time expired to seal Duke's 12th straight victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"I think I was just in the right place at the right time, really," Christmas said.
The Blue Devils have won 35 of 36 inside their cozy home arena and improved to 1-3 all-time against Texas A&M. The Aggies were the first ranked team on a Duke schedule that also includes nonconference visits from No. 4 Xavier and Kentucky (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) and a trip to top-ranked Connecticut.
Down the stretch, this one seemed destined for a tight finish. The lead changed hands on five consecutive possessions inside the 4-minute mark, and neither team led by more than five points once the Aggies reeled off 11 straight points early in the second half.
"For a game [on] December the 6th, this was as good as it gets," Blair said.
Tyra White had 11 points and Adams had a season-low 11 points and 12 rebounds. Adams, who was 5 for 18 from the field, entered averaging 20.7 points and hadn't been held to fewer than 17.
The teams started the day as two of the 19 unbeatens in Division I, and somebody's hot start had to end. The only Texas A&M team with a better season-opening winning streak was the 2008-09 team that started 12-0.
Duke erased an early double-figure deficit with a 16-0 run during which the Blue Devils held Texas A&M to 0-for-12 shooting during a span of roughly 8 minutes. Krystal Thomas capped the burst by sticking back Shay Selby's missed 3-pointer to make it 28-22 with 2:19 left.
That came after the Aggies forced nine turnovers in the opening 10 minutes and went up 22-12 on Maryann Baker's long 3 with 9 minutes left in the half. A&M didn't hit another field goal until Adams' layup with 56 seconds left in the half.
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