DURHAM, N.C. – Junior Tricia Liston scored 36 points as the third-ranked Duke women’s basketball team cruised past Shaw, 138-32, on Tuesday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium. On a night when Duke’s stifling defense tallied 30 takeaways from the Bears, the Blue Devils were able to capitalize scoring 41 points off turnovers.
“Happy to see a nice, intense 40 minutes,” said Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie. “I know it is an exhibition and I know that we had outmanned them, but we are still getting the rebounds and doing the things that you need to do as a team. Once you create those habits in an exhibition, you can duplicate them in a game.”
Duke cracked open the game from the opening whistle when senior Allison Vernerey put away a layup just five seconds into the game. The Blue Devils pressured the Lady Bears causing four turnovers in the opening three minutes and continued the onslaught, scoring 30 unanswered points in the opening 10 minutes of play.
Shaw struggled with the aggressive Duke defense in the first half giving up 14 first half turnovers leading to 21 Blue Devils points. Liston, a native of River Forest, Ill., went eight of nine from the field in the first half including hitting five of six from beyond the three-point arc. Junior Haley Peters tallied a double-double in the first half with 11 points and 10 rebounds and junior Chelsea Gray dished out seven assists as Duke pressed on to earn a 72-18 lead at the halftime break.
According to Peters, the Blue Devils were focused on rebounding and defense entering the game.
“We watched the film of our Blue/White scrimmage and we talked about that,” said Peters. “We wanted to correct things we didn’t like from that film. Defense and rebounding were two of those things. Being more physical and dictating the tempo, pushing the ball, not walking the ball up the floor, I think we did a better job of that tonight. Just generally communicating, talking more with each other.”
Duke opened the second half with a 17-8 run behind a trio of three pointers from Liston to put the Blue Devils up, 89-26. Liston continued her hot shooting in the second half and finished the game 13-of-15 from the floor and hitting seven of eight from long distance for 36 points.
“We were pushing it a lot in transition,” said Liston. “There were times when it would swing all the way around the perimeter and I had a wide open shot. I think my teammates were looking for me and finding me in good spots. A couple of times, I had a trail three which coach was talking about, me playing the four, so that had me coming up from behind and getting good looks from there.”
The Blue Devils continued to use their length to an advantage on the glass, out-rebounding the Lady Bears, 30-11, in the second half to give them a 72-26 edge in the game. With this rebounding edge, Duke was able to earn 34 second-chance points in the game.
Four Blue Devils finished the game with double-doubles including Liston who finished with 36 points and 12 rebounds, Allison Vernerey (15 points, 11 rebounds), Gray (20 points, 10 assists) and Peters (15 points, 18 rebounds).
“If you never get 18 rebounds like Haley did, then you have no idea what it is like to pull down 18 rebounds,” said McCallie. “By having those experiences whether it is Tricia having 36 points, whether it is Tricia rebounds or Haley points, you just get used to productivity and I think that is very important. Again, it is an exhibition, pretty strong 40 minutes, some good things on film for us as well, and we’ll get ready for Sunday.”
On the game, the Blue Devils shot 57% from the floor and 57.9% from beyond the arc.
The No. 3 Blue Devils will next take the court on Nov. 4 against Queens in Cameron Indoor Stadium at 2:00 p.m. The match-up will be Duke’s final exhibition before beginning the regular season on Nov. 17 against Presbyterian.