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Alexis Jones
Jones Leads No. 2 Duke Past No. 16 Purdue 99-78
Courtesy: Associated Press
Release: 12/05/2013
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DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke got its toughest challenge of the season for about 30 minutes in its Big Ten/ACC Challenge game with Purdue.

And then the second-ranked Blue Devils' depth took over.

Alexis Jones scored to lead Duke in a 99-78 victory over No. 16 Purdue.

Blue Devils coach Joanne P. McCallie moved one win away from reaching 500 for her career, improving to 499-183. Duke (9-0) visits No. 17 Oklahoma on Sunday.

Chelsea Gray added 16 points for the Blue Devils. Haley Peters, who had sat out four games with a knee injury, and Elizabeth Williams had 14 points each, Tricia Liston scored 13 and Richa Jackson 11.

"From a team perspective, the second half was more what we were looking for defensively, rebounding-wise and also scoring-wise and attacking," McCallie said. "I loved the fact that we had 27 free-throw (attempts, hitting 18) and were so aggressive.

"And we went to the rack very hard. Chelsea (six rebounds) did it, Alexis (seven rebounds) did it and Elizabeth (six) did it, really kind of pushing through. I thought that was excellent."

K.K. Houser scored 20 points to lead Purdue (5-2). April Wilson had 14 and Whitney Bays 11.

Duke, which leads the series 6-3, is 6-1 overall in Big Ten/ACC Challenge games while Purdue is 1-6.

Duke shot 56 percent to Purdue's 39 percent and won the rebounding matchup 46-33.

"I thought our first half we played the best basketball we've played all year," Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said. "Then in the second half when we were down by four we went and missed three layups in a row and they got a 12-point lead.

"And then our shooting percentage in the second half (28.1) was very poor, and that allowed them to kill us by 13 rebounds."

The Blue Devils trailed 44-41 at halftime, their first deficit at the break this season. The Boilermakers gave Duke its largest deficit of the season at 26-17 on a three-point play from Bays with 11:07 to go in the half.

Jones had 10 points at halftime.

"I'm more confident about myself than last season and just more aggressive," said Jones, who as a freshman was MVP of the ACC Tournament in March. "I thought Chelsea's injury last year (out after Feb. 14 with a knee injury) brought out my personality, because I had to get out of my comfort zone."

Gray was once again a stat-sheet stuffer for Duke with nine assists.

"In the first half we couldn't stop them at all," Gray said. "Rebounding-wise, we weren't even on the boards, and those things were hurting us. We don't really focus too much on scoring because that's just got to come."

Purdue led 57-56 after Bays' layup with 14:47 to go. But the fresher Blue Devils took the lead at 14:23 on a three-point play from Jones, extending the run to 18-5 with two 3s from Peters and one from Gray.

"The knee felt really good during the game," said Peters, who resumed full workouts on Tuesday after suffering the injury Nov. 21 against Vanderbilt. "Once it warmed up I didn't really feel it at all. I think it might have affected my shooting mentally a little bit, but it didn't hurt."