ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women still haven't come up with a way to handle Duke.
Although the Yellow Jackets have beaten national powers like North Carolina and Maryland over the last two seasons, they can't get over the hurdle that Duke presents. On Sunday, Georgia Tech lost its 36th straight game to the Blue Devils, 64-47 in the ACC opener for both teams.
"We've got eight sophomores and freshman and for most of them it was the first time facing Duke," Georgia Tech coach Machelle Joseph said. "As we grow and get better, the defense will get where it needs to be, the rebounding will get where it needs to be and we just need to make those shots."
Georgia Tech shot only 26 percent from the floor and lost the game, despite limiting the Blue Devils to only 39.7 percent shooting and outrebounding Duke 51-47. Georgia Tech hasn't beaten Duke since Feb. 27, 1994.
This time it was Duke center Elizabeth Williams who was the difference. The 6-foot-3 junior was 8-for-10 from the field, including 6-for-6 in the first half, with 11 rebounds. It was the second consecutive double-double for Williams and third career double-double against Tech. She also extended her streak of consecutive games with a blocked shot to 84.
"I was really excited to get started in ACC play," said Williams, who is averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds in three games against Georgia Tech.
Joseph expected Williams to present problems. "She's so agile and nimble for someone her size," Joseph said. "And she works hard on both ends of the court. There's no question she's one of the elite players in the league."
Duke also got a double-double from Haley Peters, who had 11 points and 15 rebounds. Tricia Liston added 16 points, 11 in the second half, and point guard Chelsea Gray had nine points and nine assists.
Georgia Tech (10-4) was led by Tyaunna Marshall's 18 points and season-high 15 rebounds. Marshall passed Karen Lounsbury (1989-92) moved into second place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,744 points. She was the only Georgia Tech player in double figures.
"This was a great defensive effort for us," Duke coach Joanne McCallie said. "We had everything to do with their shots being missed because of the timing of the shots and where they came from.
"We're working toward a 40-minute game. The whole thing is to push through and keep that grit and fight regardless of the score, to keep charging forward."
Duke took command midway in the first half when Williams scored on a layup with 6:51 remaining to cap a 19-7 run and give the Devils a 26-14 lead. Georgia Tech shot only 21.6 percent (8 of 37) in the first half and Duke held a 34-20 lead at halftime.
"They did a good job making us take the tough shot with a hand in our face," Machelle Joseph said.
Georgia Tech tried to mount a comeback in the second half. The Yellow Jackets trailed by 19 points with 13:45 and outscored the Blue Devils 13-0 over the next 5:04. Georgia Tech cut the lead to 49-43 on a putback by Katarina Vuckovic with 9:03 left, but failed to score for four minutes, allowing Duke to quickly regain a double-digit lead.
"We missed a lot of layups and free throws," Joseph said. "You've got to make every layup and free throw against a team like Duke."
Georgia Tech freshman Kaela Davis, who entered the game averaging 18.5 points, was 2-for-14 from the floor and only 1-for-9 on 3-pointers to score seven points, her lowest output of the season.
"We knew she could shoot the ball," Williams said. "But we also knew she was a freshman playing her first ACC game. We tried to call her name and get in her head a little bit."