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No. 5 Duke Routs No. 22 UNC 96-56
Friday 02/06/2012  -  Associated Press
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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Tricia Liston started hitting 3-pointers, and her Duke teammates quickly got into the act.

They all added up to one of the Blue Devils' biggest beatdowns of their top rival.

No. 5 Duke routed No. 22 North Carolina 96-56 on Monday night after Liston scored 16 of her 23 points during a decisive first-half run in which the Blue Devils seemingly couldn't miss.

''We were knocking down shots like it was nothing,'' sophomore Chelsea Gray said.

Richa Jackson added 17 points for the Blue Devils (19-3, 10-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). They shot 54 percent and led by 41 in claiming their third straight win over their fiercest rivals - and second-most lopsided in series history, surpassed only by Duke's 101-58 romp over UNC in 2000.

''I just kept thinking, 'Well, they've got to miss some shots once in a while,''' North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. ''And they hardly missed any.''

Gray finished with 15 points and Elizabeth Williams had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Duke, which outscored North Carolina 39-12 during a 10 1/2 minute stretch late in the first half.

Liston hit three of the Blue Devils' seven 3-pointers during that run, and they matched a season high with 10 3s while also racking up 23 assists for the second time in four games.

''You've got to move that ball and you've got to find each other,'' Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. ''The reason we shot so well was because there were a lot of easy buckets. There (were) a lot of easy looks with no defense because of the way we were passing the ball.''

Chay Shegog had 19 points to lead the Tar Heels (17-6, 7-3). They managed just four field goals over the last 13 minutes of the half and had their five-game winning streak snapped.

Shay Selby finished with 10 points for Duke, which won its 28th straight ACC game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

While powerhouse Connecticut has won at Cameron twice since 2009 - including a 61-45 victory last week that halted Duke's 34-game winning streak there - none of the Blue Devils' conference rivals have been able to do it just once during that span.

That includes top rival North Carolina, which hasn't won at Cameron since 2008.

And it became clear early on that the Tar Heels weren't going to do it this time, either.

The Blue Devils had 50 points at halftime - their highest-scoring first half against UNC since rolling up 52 on their way to that 43-point romp 12 years ago. They led this one by 30 before they were one minute into the second half.

Liston put the Blue Devils ahead to stay with 11 1/2 minutes left in the half with a 3-pointer, starting the dominating burst that put them in complete control by halftime. The Blue Devils made 15 of 21 shots to close the half.

''Once Chelsea started hitting shots and getting it to me, and I was hitting shots, and giving it back - it was just kind of like everyone was going off of each other,'' Liston said.

Richa Jackson's 3 just inside the 6-minute mark made it 28-16 and pushed Duke's lead into double figures to stay, and Gray made it a 20-point game for good when her deep 3 from the key with just over 2 minutes left stretched it to 42-21.

Liston capped the burst with - what else? - a 3 in the final minute that put Duke up 48-22. Selby's runner just before the buzzer gave the Blue Devils a 50-24 halftime lead, and she made it a 30-point game with a jumper less than a minute after the break, stretching it to 54-24.

Meanwhile, seemingly nothing went right for the Tar Heels after Brittany Rountree's jumper put them up 10-9 with just over 13 minutes left in the half. They missed 15 of 18 shots after that and didn't come closer than 26 in the second half.

''I think it's kind of tough to play solid defense and they're hitting crazy shots,'' junior Krista Gross said. ''You kind of put all that work into something, and they've got a lucky shot - not saying all their shots were lucky, because they were definitely great shots, but they got a couple of buzzer-beaters (before) the shot clock, that kind of stuff. So it does hurt a little bit, and I feel like it might have hurt our confidence a little bit. Certain people, a little bit, taking the wind out of your sails.''

Laura Broomfield finished with 10 rebounds for North Carolina.

 


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