DURHAM, N.C. – The third-ranked Duke Blue Devils returned from a 10-day holiday break and continued where they left off with an 87-63 victory over the Old Dominion Monarchs at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday.
Guard Tricia Liston led the Blue Devils (13-1) with 17 points while center Elizabeth Williams finished with her first double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds) performance of the season and forward Oderah Chidom recorded her first double-digit performance (13 points) in Cameron to power the Duke offense.
Coming off an important 69-61 win over then fifth-ranked Kentucky back on Dec. 22, Liston continued to lead Duke’s scoring with her hot hands, shooting 6-of-11 from the field, while guard Alexis Jones posted 12 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Using all 12 players, Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie saw some important contributions from various players that helped her team push ahead of the Monarchs (6-7) who tried to stay close with double-digit performances from Tiffany Minor (20 points) and Laquanda Younger (15 points).
Even as ODU took a 12-11 lead at the 15:18 mark of the opening half, Williams, Chidom and Liston put together a clean 8-0 run that put Duke ahead 19-12 just over three minutes later.
By halftime the Blue Devils led 45-32, and continued to add to their lead during the second half which swelled to as many as 27 points, leading 82-55 with 2:19 remaining.
“Our team showed a lot of toughness today against an unbelievable Duke basketball team,” Old Dominion head coach Karen Barefoot said.
“They’re well-coached, they play hard, they’ve got great players, great coaching staff. But I thought we did a really good job of battling today and being us.”
Forward Haley Peters contributed eight points, five rebounds and a career-high five assists which helped the Blue Devils move the ball around with limited play from guard Chelsea Gray who got into foul trouble and posted only five points and three assists in 19 minutes of court time.
Utility forward Khalia Johnson saw substantial playing time and tallied three season highs – seven points, six rebounds, and two steals – to effectively contribute to Duke’s work off the bench.
“When I get my chance, I always focus on defensive rebounding,” Johnson said.
“If I have an open shot I’m going to take it, but I’m more worried with getting that stop and getting that key rebound to give us the momentum on defense and then turn that defense into offense.”
As the Blue Devils prepare to head on the road to open up Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play against Georgia Tech (Sun.) and No. 20 Syracuse (Thurs.), Williams and her teammates know what they have to focus on while consistently working to improve their defensive play.
“Just be smart, especially defensively,” she said.
“We’ve been talking about gaps today – just being able to cut those gaps off and locate shooters.”