Elizabeth Williams scored all night long for No. 4 Duke. Most of Chelsea Gray's points came in one spurt.DURHAM, N.C. –
The Blue Devils' two biggest stars - and everybody else on their team, really - did plenty to give their team a strong start in the ACC.
Williams had a career-high 25 points and added 11 rebounds to lead Duke to an 85-52 rout of Georgia Tech on Thursday night in the teams' Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
Gray scored eight of her 13 points during the stretch that broke the game open, and Haley Peters added 11 points and was one of three Blue Devils with 11 rebounds.
"There's just times on the court where - it's probably not good to say this - but I just watch what Chelsea does, what (Tricia Liston) does, what (Alexis Jones) does, and you smile because it's so fun to watch how good we all are together," Peters said. "Tonight felt like one of those games where ... it felt like we were making plays together as a group and we were all on the same page."
Duke (7-0, 1-0) never trailed and claimed its 35th straight victory over the Yellow Jackets (3-5, 0-1), shooting 46.7 percent, locking down on Tyaunna Marshall's teammates and forcing 22 turnovers.
Marshall had 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting for Georgia Tech, but her teammates were a combined 12 of 59. The Yellow Jackets were just 1 of 20 from 3-point range.
"She hurt us in a lot of different ways, not just scoring," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "It's a good thing we did a good job on everybody else, for the most part."
Dawn Maye, who entered averaging 15.4 points, finished with eight on 4-of-21 shooting for Georgia Tech, which lost its third straight - all against top-15 opponents - and fourth in five games.
"They didn't make shots tonight, our freshmen, and it puts a lot on Dawn and Ty," coach MaChelle Joseph said. "We just need a third scorer. ... You've got to have three scorers in this league."
Liston added 13 points and sophomore Ka'lia Johnson had 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who won their 31st straight ACC game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, a streak that dates to 2008.
But it wasn't until Gray's personal 8-0 run midway through the second half that the Blue Devils could really breathe easy.
After Marshall's free throw with 15:07 left pulled the Yellow Jackets to 49-37, Gray followed Johnson's air ball on a 3-point attempt with a layup, added a free throw on the next trip and - after Williams swatted away Sydney Wallace's 3-pointer - converted a three-point play to make it 55-37 with 14 minutes to play.
Gray's fast-break layup a few seconds later then put Duke up by 20.
"The response was excellent," McCallie said.
That gave the Blue Devils a familiarly comfortable margin. The preseason ACC favorites won their first eight games by an average of 34.5 points and none have been decided by fewer than 14.
Williams was 10 of 14 and surpassed her previous high of 22 points set last year against South Carolina-Upstate - one of the highlights of a breakout freshman season in which she won both the ACC's defensive player and rookie of the year awards.
"We just didn't have an answer for Elizabeth Williams," Joseph said.
Williams scored 12 points during a first half in which the Blue Devils took control by shooting 50 percent and shutting down every Yellow Jacket but Marshall.
At one point, Marshall was 4 of 8 but her Georgia Tech teammates combined to shoot 4 of 21. Marshall had 12 points at the half but none of her teammates had more than four in the opening 20 minutes.
Senior center Allison Vernerey missed the first game of her Duke career with an injured elbow.