No. 10 Duke outpaces Wake Forest 70-63 in ACC opener

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

DURHAM, N.C. – The 10th-ranked Duke Blue Devils topped the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and posted a 70-63 victory to open Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday.

Duke (10-4, 1-0) came back from being down early by as many as 16 to eventually lead 34-33 at halftime, and would not let Wake Forest (9-6, 0-1) get any closer for the rest of the game.

Four Blue Devils recorded double-digit scoring totals, while as a team Duke totaled a season-high 15 blocked shots.

“I was really proud of our team for their focus and concentration,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.

“Obviously we’d like to come out stronger than we did, but the key was how we responded to that. I thought the team responded very well.”

Elizabeth Williams led Duke with 18 points, eight rebounds, six blocks and a career-high five steals, while Ka’lia Johnson (15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists), Rebecca Greenwell (15 points, 6 rebounds), and Oderah Chidom (10 points, 5 rebounds) supported a 46-percent shooting performance from the field.

Dearica Hamby, Nicole Floyd, and Ataijah Taylor led Wake Forest’s offense with 11 points apiece in the losing effort.

Saddled with foul trouble in the first half, Duke freshman forward Azura Stevens finished with six points, six rebounds and two blocks.

Duke struggled offensively at times and turned the ball over 23 times, but defensively managed to force 19 Demon Deacon turnovers.

The Blue Devils played without freshman guard/forward Sierra Calhoun, who recently decided to leave Duke.

Calhoun’s departure from the program was announced by the team earlier in the day via press release.

“I think it was important for us to emotionally have everyone on the same page,” Williams said.

“It’s definitely tough losing a player and Sierra [Calhoun]’s great, we love her and I think it was important for us as seniors to make sure the team focuses on each other and what we have with us today.”