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Elizabeth Williams
Courtesy: Rick Osentoski, US Presswire
Elizabeth Williams
Gray, Williams Lead No. 4 Duke Past Michigan 71-54
Saturday 11/28/2012  -  Associated Press
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Duke didn't panic when Michigan cut a 17-point deficit to three points at halftime. The fourth-ranked Blue Devils just picked it up in the second half and pulled away for an easy win.

Elizabeth Williams and Chelsea Gray scored 19 points each to lead Duke to a 71-54 victory over Michigan on Wednesday night in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.

The Wolverines used a 15-1 run over the last 6:41 of the first half.

''I can't say we played a full 40 minutes, but we played an interesting 25 minutes,'' said Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie. ''We're really happy with the poise we showed when we weren't doing exactly what we wanted, (and) we had some not smart turnovers that opened the door.

''(The second half), that was Duke basketball, led by Chelsea and Elizabeth. It was much more hard-nosed. You could see that in the rebounding, in the takes, in the shot selection.''

Alexis Jones added nine points for the Blue Devils (5-0), who did not have at least three double-digit scorers for the first time this season. Williams, the reigning ACC rookie of the year, was making her first start of the season.

Jenny Ryan tied a career high with 18 points and Kate Thompson added 10 for Michigan (5-2). Leading scorer Rachel Sheffer was held scoreless for the first 16 minutes and finished with eight points.

''Duke is more savvy about (their defense),'' Ryan said. ''They kind of get you into places on the court where you don't want to be and then they trap hard. They use their length and their athleticism really well.''

The Blue Devils took advantage of Michigan's 20 turnovers, scoring 26 points on the giveaways.

Duke turned to a baseline trap defense early which forced multiple turnovers and successfully shut down the Wolverines' outside threat. The Blue Devils also took advantage of their speed, scoring easily in transition.

''They started the game in full court man-to-man pressuring us like crazy,'' Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. ''We got super tight and were turning the ball over. Later in the first half they went to their zone, they switched it up and we were able to score out of that.

''To start the second half, they went back to their man. ... That really gave us our most difficult time when they pressured us like that. They were so physical and we turned the ball over. When we turned the ball over, hey got easy points in transition.''

Michigan, ninth in the nation in 3-point shooting at 42 percent, only shot 36 percent from beyond the arc. Duke, tops in the nation at 49 percent, was 7 for 13 - led by Gray's 3-for-5 effort.

The Blue Devils had a size advantage in the post and scored 30 points in the paint. Duke was easily able to find Williams down low for a bucket and had no problem breaking down Michigan's man-to-man defense.

However, Duke barely finished with a rebounding edge - 32-31. Haley Peters had a game-high 10 boards for the Blue Devils, while Nicole Elmblad led Michigan with seven.

The Blue Devils improve to 4-0 against Michigan. They last played the Wolverines on Dec. 7, 2008, winning 60-45 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.



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