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Duke Beats Samford, 82-47, Advances in NCAA Tourney
Courtesy: Associated Press
Release: 03/18/2012
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Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Back in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year, Samford didn't stick around for long.

The 15th-seeded Bulldogs were overmatched in just about every phase during an 82-47 loss to second-seeded Duke in the first round.

Samford (20-13) fell behind 23-7 at the outset and Duke led 40-22 at halftime.

"We knew this would be a big challenge and they were an impressive team," Samford coach Mike Morris said.

Taylor Reece led Samford with 10 points.

"They are really big and that has a lot to do with it," she said. "They are long and so on every pass there were hands in the passing lane every single time. They are going to get some steals just because of that but I think we did the best with what we could."

Samford made just its second appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs lost to Florida State 76-46 last season.

Morris has no doubt that Duke will be a tough test for whichever team it plays from now on.

"Well, I'm definitely impressed with Duke," she said. "I think they are good and talented. They have good players and they have a really good coaching staff."

Tricia Liston had 22 points for Duke (25-5), which moved on to face Vanderbilt on Tuesday night.

"We hadn't had a game in a while so we were really excited and ready to play today," Liston said.

Four Duke players reached double figures. Chelsea Gray added 16 points, Haley Peters had 13 and Elizabeth Williams had 11.

"I think (balance) is very important, especially at this time of year," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "We've been a very balanced team pretty much all year."

McCallie was very satisfied with Liston's effort. "(She's) just a very heady player and a very talented player," McCallie said. "She takes what the defense gives her and she doesn't rush too much."

Williams, the ACC defensive player of the year, also had three rebounds whole playing despite a stress fracture in her lower right leg. The freshman is Duke's top scorer and rebounder.

"(My leg) felt good, but it started to get a little sore toward the end," she said. "It's going to be like that for the rest of the way, but it felt good playing on it."

After Duke built its big advantage, Williams was able to come out of the game.

"The rest definitely helped," Williams said. "It was nice to get out to that lead."

The Blue Devils made nearly 52 percent of their shots overall and were 22 of 25 from the foul line.

The Blue Devils outrebounded Samford 41-23. Peters led Duke with seven boards while Shay Selby and Gray each had six.

"I think this definitely helps and it will definitely give us some momentum," Liston said. "But we also need to move on and take next game and just play it from there."

This is Duke's 18th straight NCAA tournament appearance and 19th overall. The Blue Devils have a 47-18 all-time record in the tournament.