RALEIGH, N.C. – Duke waited until the last eight minutes or so to play its best at North Carolina State.
It was still good enough to keep the third-ranked Blue Devils unbeaten.
Haley Peters had 18 points and 11 rebounds to help Duke beat N.C. State 67-57 on Thursday night, winning its eighth straight meeting in Raleigh.
Chelsea Gray added 20 points and six rebounds for the Blue Devils (12-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had to fight into the final minutes to put away the Wolfpack.
While Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie could feel good about Peters' play the entire night or Gray's late surge, she described the game itself as "a good lesson for us."
"You've got to play your game for 40 minutes or you can get into this kind of game," she said, "and this is not the way we've been playing when we've played better."
Duke led by just one with 8 minutes left before going on a 12-3 spurt, which helped the Blue Devils retake control and build a 10-point lead with 3:18 left.
The Wolfpack (8-6, 0-2) kept fighting and pulled as close as four points in the final minute, but never could make up that deficit.
"We just started to play our game offensively," Peters said. "That was a stretch where we started to have some assists, where we made a few extra passes, drove it and kicked and things like that - the things we need to do for 40 minutes. ... We just started to be more of who we are."
Still, Duke's offensive totals weren't spectacular. The Blue Devils shot 39 percent for their second-worst outing of the season, while their 11 assists were a season low and their two made 3s matched a season low.
The Blue Devils helped themselves by grabbing 19 offensive rebounds, which led to 13 second-chance points and kept the pressure on the Wolfpack even when those rebounds didn't lead directly to a score.
The Blue Devils forced a season-low 13 turnovers, but still scored 17 points off those miscues.
They also made 16 of 20 free throws after halftime. Gray knocked down all eight of her attempts in the final 8 minutes, six coming during the 12-3 spurt.
"During halftime, coach stressed that we needed to take it to the rack," Gray said. "We're not going to get our baskets if we don't attack the baskets."
Peters was the only Duke player to make better than half her shots, finishing 8 for 15 from the floor to go with three assists, two blocks and two steals in 35 minutes. It was her second straight double-double.
"She's just a very well-rounded player," N.C. State coach Kellie Harper said. "She's intelligent, scrappy. She's one of those kids that at the end of the season she may not be an All-American, but she doesn't do anything bad."
Kody Burke scored 11 of her 15 points after halftime to lead N.C. State, which shot just 32 percent. Marissa Kastanek added 12 points and was the only other Wolfpack player to reach double figures.
The Wolfpack trailed 45-44 before Gray started the run with a pair of free throws. Then Peters scored off an offensive rebound of a missed free throw by Elizabeth Williams, followed by a straightaway 3 - Duke was 1 for 13 from behind the arc before that shot - that pushed the lead to 53-47.
By the time Gray added four more free throws, Duke led 57-47 with 3:18 left.
N.C. State fought back to within 61-57 with 47.6 seconds left, but Duke scored the game's last six points - all coming at the free-throw line.
"I think we've got a chance to beat any team in our league playing like this," Harper said. "It's not the execution piece. It's the focus piece. It's the energy and competitiveness - and those are things you can do every night."
N.C. State hasn't beaten Duke at home since February 2001. In their last visit, the Blue Devils rallied from 20 down in the second half to win 65-64 on Gray's last-second basket nearly two years ago.
The Wolfpack won the last meeting, upsetting the top-seeded Blue Devils in the ACC tournament quarterfinals in March for the program's first win against Duke in five years.