CLEMSON, S.C. (AP)-Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said her team found a way to get better despite another runaway over Clemson.
McCallie thought the fifth-ranked Blue Devils gave up way too many points in their 80-72 showdown victory over No. 8 Maryland last Monday, so she was especially pleased that her players' defense never wavered in an 81-37 victory over the Tigers on Friday night.
"I think they were listening to the points we gave up against Maryland,"McCallie said. "Maryland's a very good team, don't misunderstand me, but 72 points at home, that's a lot of baskets going in."
The Blue Devils will put their 34-game home winning streak on the line Monday when they host No. 3 Connecticut. The Huskies were the last team to beat Duke at home two seasons ago.
Duke (17-2, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) made sure most shots by the Tigers didn't go in. Clemson finished 14 of 51 from the floor for 27.5 percent shooting, its second poorest performance this season. The Blue Devils had 12 steals and nine blocks, five of them by Williams.
Clemson didn't have a field goal over the last 13 minutes and didn't have a point in the final eight as Duke won its 15th straight over the Tigers (5-13, 1-6) and 11th straight this season.
"When they work really, really hard to get certain things done, then you feel pretty good about what you're doing out there," McCallie said. "I think that was exactly the case tonight."
Duke used a 15-2 run the last five minutes of the opening half to gain control and continued the surge after the break. It was the eighth straight game they've defeated Clemson by 24 points or more.
Williams, the 6-foot-3 freshman, said the Blue Devils' surge got the team going and possibly shook Clemson out of rhythm. "That's when we started playing our game," she said.
Quinyotta Pettaway had 12 points to lead the Tigers, who scored just 13 points in the second half.
The Tigers succumbed to Duke's defense in the second half. They didn't hit a field goal in the final 13:09 of the game and didn't have a point the last 7:51.
Clemson coach Itoro Coleman thought her players lost composure, particularly in the second half against Duke's relentlessness play on offense and defense."Basketball is a game of runs," she said. "We have to learn to withstand the storm and bounce back."
Duke came in the only undefeated team in ACC play this season. Clemson, though, did what it could to make Littlejohn as crazy Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tigers called it "Pack The House" night, offering $1 tickets and giving away bobble-head dolls of second-year coach Itoro Coleman, who won five games against Duke when she was a star guard for the Tigers from 1996-1999.
Duke's only lost once to Clemson in the 13 seasons since.
Clemson's pep band and students wore red and yellow flashing glasses. Yet, as you might expect from a program that won its 300th game all-time in the ACC over No. 8 Maryland on Monday, the Blue Devils weren't fazed by any of it.
Duke, which had made more than 55 percent of its shots the previous two games, kept up the hot shooting against Clemson in the opening half. The Blue Devils finished the period 18 of 32 from floor (56.2 percent) and made seven of their final nine shots as they closed the half on 15-2 run and continually beat the Tigers back on defense for several easy layups.
Williams led the way for Duke on offense and defense. She made 5 of 7 shots for 11 points and added five blocks in the opening half, surpassing her average of 4.7 blocks per game during ACC play.
Clemson tried to make a game of it early on with a 9-4 spurt at the start that had the few thousand fans on their feet. The Tigers were still in the thick of it, down just 25-22 on Chancie Dunn's bucket with 5:22 to go.
That's when Duke got going on its run at the end of the half to take control for good.
Williams fed Peters for a layup, then Williams had a driving layup of her own. After Jackson's inside basket, Peters got free for two straight layups and Williams had another.
Jackson closed the half with a three-point play and Duke was up 40-24.
Clemson struggled to find offense, going 1 of 5 with two turnovers during the Blue Devils run.
The Tigers were just 1 of 13 from behind the arc for the contest.