DURHAM, N.C. – Leading Miami by just five points at halftime, the 16th-ranked Duke women’s basketball team put together a solid performance on both ends of the floor to earn a 68-53 victory over the Hurricanes Sunday in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Senior Elizabeth Williams posted her fifth double-double of the season with 24 points and 11 rebounds. She also moved into seventh on the Blue Devils’ all-time career scoring list with 1,710 points over her four years, surpassing former teammate Jasmine Thomas (1,704).
Freshman Azurá Stevens complemented Williams’ play in the paint with the first 20-plus point game of her career. Senior Amber Henson added a career-high 10 boards to lift Duke (13-5, 4-1 ACC) to a 47-33 advantage in the rebounding category for the afternoon.
“Elizabeth was very productive in offensive rebounding and scoring, but she was absolutely critical defensively in the way she played our defense and the way she contested shots and really took care of the paint,” said head coach Joanne P. McCallie. “Azurá, the same thing. I’m loving her getting mismatches inside, playing great defense and rebounding, as well. It was a good game for us. We played as a team, we played together, we played smart, and I really like when we play smart.”
Duke was productive on the boards and in the paint early, with Williams notching four points and four rebounds inside the first seven minutes. Meanwhile, the defense held the Hurricanes to just three of their first 15 field goals.
Miami shook off a three-minute scoring drought to knot the score at 13-all with 8:13 to play in the period. Stevens got to the basket on back-to-back trips down the floor, as she and Williams reached double figures, but the Hurricanes were able to keep the score close with their three-point shooting.
Despite limiting Miami to just 24 percent shooting in the opening half, the Blue Devils held a 30-25 advantage at the break.
Williams notched the first four points of the second half and redshirt freshman Rebecca Greenwell hit a trey a short while later to give Duke its largest lead at 13. The Blue Devil defense continued to hold the Hurricanes under 25 percent shooting from the field into the latter part of the half. Rebounding also remained in the home squad’s favor, with Williams’ nine and Henson’s eight boards leading all players.
“I think there was great aggression, and I think Elizabeth really started it,” McCallie said of the team’s rebounding effort. “She was really fearless to the ball and very, very aggressive. I think Azurá and others – Amber Henson getting 10 rebounds – there was a sense of purpose, and I loved it. I think that’s a way we can play.”
Miami trimmed the margin to 10 points with a little over six minutes remaining but senior Ka’lia Johnson answered with an offensive rebound and put-back. That keyed a 10-5 run by Duke that would put the game out of reach for the visiting Hurricanes.
Necole Sterling paced Miami with 17 points, shooting 5-of-11 from three-point range, while Erykah Davenport supplied a team-high seven rebounds. The Hurricanes finished with 26 percent shooting from the floor while the Blue Devils logged 55 percent field goal shooting for the game and outscored their opponent 52-6 in the paint.
Duke heads into a two-game road stretch next, beginning with a 7 p.m. ACC contest Thursday, Jan. 22 at Boston College.