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Courtesy: Duke Photography
No. 7 Duke Surges Past NC State 83-59
Sunday 01/08/2012  -  Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. (AP)-  Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie saw her players maintaining an attacking mentality throughout Sunday's game, even when North Carolina State cut into the seventh-ranked Blue Devils' big second-half lead. She also saw signs that her players are getting angry, not down, when things don't go their way.

Both elements helped the Blue Devils put away the Wolfpack, with Duke using a 9-0 run to regain control before dominating the final minutes for an 83-59 win.

Richa Jackson scored a career-high 21 points for the Blue Devils (12-2, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who placed five players in double figures. Tricia Liston added 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, including a 3-pointer in the game-turning run after the Wolfpack pulled within six with 7 1/2 minutes left.

''I just felt that they would (respond) because they're learning how to quickly go to the next thing,'' McCallie said. ''They're going to next thing and I think they get irritated. They're starting to get more irritated than down.

''Once upon a time, when you've got a younger team, things don't go your way, you get sort of down. Now I think they're starting to change and get sort of ticked off. It might be at themselves, at anybody, at anything.''

That ''healthy response,'' as McCallie called it, helped Duke win its 32nd straight game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and 24th straight ACC home game. Duke shot 47 percent and scored 37 points off 24 turnovers by the Wolfpack (10-6, 0-3), with 19 of those turnovers coming after halftime against increased defensive intensity.

Duke led by 17 points in the first half and 16 midway through the second, only to see N.C. State put together runs each time to cut into the lead. The Wolfpack made its best push with 10 straight points, starting with a 3-pointer from Kody Burke followed by a stickback from Lakeesa Daniel and another 3 from Myisha Goodwin-Coleman.

When Daniel took a feed from Bonae Holston and scored inside, N.C. State trailed just 60-54 with 7:31 left.

But the Wolfpack got no closer. Allison Vernerey flipped in a short shot over Daniel, then scored on a short hook over Holston. Liston followed with a straightaway 3 off a feed from Chelsea Gray to cap the 9-0 spurt, which pushed the lead back up to 69-54 with 4:46 to play.

''I think more than the shot, it was just the action itself,'' Vernerey said of her shot that started the run. ''We had been moving the ball. I think we were in a good rhythm. ... That just kind of got it started again.''

N.C. State never threatened again, with the Blue Devils answering a basket from Holston with an 11-0 flurry that pushed the lead to 80-56 with 2:12 left.

Vernerey, a reserve, finished with 13 points, while Gray and Haley Peters each had 12. Freshman Elizabeth Williams, coming off a triple-double in Friday's win at Wake Forest, had nine despite being limited by foul trouble.

Holston and Marissa Kastanek each scored 12 points for N.C. State, which capped a tough stretch of six games in 12 days. The Wolfpack played three games in a post-Christmas tournament in Hawaii, then returned home to face Georgia Tech and traveled to No. 12 Miami on Thursday night.

The frustration bubbled over for Wolfpack coach Kellie Harper during the Blue Devils' 9-0 run. Incensed by a no-call when Vernerey stripped Holston to set up Liston's 3, Harper called timeout then practically stalked referee Joseph Vaszily behind her huddled players, screaming at one point, ''Are you blind?''

''Unfortunately, if you give up 83 points to this team, you're not going to win,'' Harper said. ''They're just too tough on the defensive end. Obviously we're disappointed that we weren't in it going down the stretch closer, but hopefully our mental state will be OK out of this tough stretch for us and we'll move ahead in the season.''

The Wolfpack played without freshman Krystal Barrett, who suffered a concussion in the second half of the loss to the Hurricanes. The reserve scored all 14 of her points in the second half of that game and was averaging about eight points.

 


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