FREEPORT, Bahamas-Tricia Liston is starting to find her shooting touch.
After beginning the season with back-to-back scoreless games, the sophomore guard has now put up consecutive 20-point efforts.
Liston scored a career-high 23 points to help Duke (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) rout Gardner-Webb 97-31 in the Junkanoo Jam on Friday night. "I think I'm just more comfortable and being more aggressive on the court," she said. "The first two games were obviously a little rough for me. I had to bounce back and come out strong, which is what I've been trying to do." "It was frustrating, definitely (going scoreless her first two games). At the same time, shooters keep shooting. I was bound to make one eventually. You can't make it if you don't shoot it. You have to keep shooting."
Duke will face Notre Dame (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today, No. 4 AP) for the championship Saturday night.
"Tricia is just a fabulous guard," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "She's a terrific shooter, but she can also play off the bounce and rebound and do other things. I just love it when she's in attack mode. There were no concerns about her. She's just a great all-around player."
The Blue Devils jumped all over Gardner Webb in the first half, scoring 25 of the game's first 31 points and never looked back. Duke led 50-18 at the break as Liston had 12 points in the first half. Duke shot 51 percent from the field in the first half and tied a season high with seven 3-pointers.
Duke extended its advantage to as many as 67 points in the second half.
"They're like a machine," Gardner-Webb coach Rick Reeves said. "What we really had problems with was when they went to multiple posts. Sometimes they had three post players, and really technically, they had four post players at times. Their size and their experience hurt us."
Catrina Green scored 10 points to lead Gardner-Webb (0-5).
"We've been pretty good the last two years. We won 50 some games in the last two years. But this year, we're young and trying to get better (in the) conference," Reeves added. "Their experience is unsettling. They make you have a lot of turnovers. They like to keep the game in chaos. They have the type of talent, they could win the national championship. They remind me a lot of Texas A&M."
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