DURHAM, N.C. – (AP) Minus Chelsea Gray, No. 5 Duke came out scrapping.
Playing their first game since the Atlantic Coast Conference leader
in assists and steals sustained a season-ending knee injury, the Blue
Devils pulled away in the second half to beat No. 19 Florida State 61-50
Elizabeth Williams had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Duke used a 26-4 run to take control.
``It was a nice battle for our team,'' McCallie said. ``We certainly
can play a lot better. But I loved our grit and I loved our fight.''
Chloe Wells added 15 points off the bench for Duke (25-1, 15-0). The
Blue Devils won their 37th consecutive home game against ACC
``When Chelsea went down, that was a big blow for us,'' Wells said.
``We were pressing in the beginning, and I knew that. So I just tried to
come in and settle down and just play our game.''
Gray was hurt at Wake Forest on Sunday. The Blue Devils had 22 turnovers and shot just 34 percent without her.
Gray's absence, along with several missed layups, contributed to a
slow start for the Blue Devils.
Haley Peters finished 2 of 11 from the floor, but grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds.
``Haley is a pretty special cat. I don't know too many people who
would get 14 rebounds when offensively her game wasn't where she wanted
it to be. That is one mean lady,'' McCallie said.
Duke trailed 24-20 early in the second half but took charge with its big run over the next 9 minutes.
Wells hit a jumper from the foul line to give the Blue Devils a 28-26 lead with 15:36 remaining, and they never trailed again.
Wells added a pair of 3-pointers, the second of which gave her team a 43-28 cushion.
Alexa Deluzio scored 16 points to lead Florida State (20-6, 10-5),
which lost for the sixth straight time to Duke. Natasha Howard added 15
points and 11 rebounds for the Seminoles.
Florida State, which had not scored fewer than 62 points in a game
all season, shot a season-low 29 percent from the floor. The Seminoles
also committed 21 turnovers, giving the ball away on five consecutive
possessions during Duke's decisive spurt.
``Duke is known for their defensive pressure, and it's tough to go
against,'' Deluzio said. ``But I thought we handled it fine. We didn't
make plays down the stretch in the last two minutes when we needed to.''
The Blue Devils stretched their lead to as many as 20 points, going ahead 52-32 on a layup by Williams with 6:40 remaining.
The Seminoles responded with an 11-0 run to cut the margin to 52-43
with 3:30 to play, and they moved within 55-48 with 1:28 remaining.
Tricia Liston, however, made a pair of free throws with 1:12 left to
restore Duke's lead to 10 points.
Duke led 20-18 at halftime following a defensive struggle between two of the best offensive teams in the country.
The Seminoles and Blue Devils both entered in the nation's top 10 in
scoring and field goal percentage, but they combined for 26 percent
shooting and 25 turnovers in the first half.
``We were feeling each other out,'' Florida State coach Sue Semrau
said. ``It was extremely physical. I don't know. It just happens
sometimes. It doesn't make for a very pretty game when both teams are
missing, but certainly it was an exciting game.''