MISSING THE POINT
No. 7 Duke sent its graduating seniors off with one final regular-season home win 71-56 over Wake Forest at Cameron Indoor Stadium Thursday.
The quartet of Chelsea Gray, Tricia Liston, Haley Peters, and Richa Jackson was honored before the game for their contributions at Duke that included earning three ACC regular season titles, two ACC Tournament Championships, and three Elite Eight NCAA Tournament appearances while compiling an overall record of 116-17 entering the game against Wake Forest.
Playing without one-time starting point guards Gray and Alexis Jones, both out with season-ending knee injuries, the Blue Devils took to the floor with a revamped and taller lineup that finished with a 56 percent shooting performance.
”They’re a very good basketball team that’s faced a lot of adversity, and every time they face it, they’ve got to pull together,” Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover said.
“It’s obvious some seniors did that today, particularly Haley Peters.”
Peters finished with a game-high and season-high 22 points along with eight rebounds while establishing career highs in free throw attempts and completions, ending up 7 of 8 from the line.
Jackson and Liston scored 15 and 10 points respectively and Elizabeth Williams added 10 to complete the quartet of starters finishing in double digits.
When asked what message the seniors’ contributions made in completing the 15-point win, Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said, “I think it says a tremendous amount.”
“They’ve all grown. They’re all just getting better every day and seeing the things that they can do. Their games are stepping up to a level that will help them in the future.”
The victory secured the No. 2 seed for the Blue Devils in the ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum next week and highlighted a defensive dominance over the Demon Deacons that included 40 total rebounds, 10 blocks and seven steals.
Leading 33-28 at the half, Duke never relinquished the lead for the remainder of game, even when Wake Forest pulled to within three points 40-37 with 14:26 left.
A critical scoring contribution courtesy of Ka’lia Johnson, a layup and free throw that combined with a Williams layup, put the Blue Devils back up by eight quickly afterwards.
Even while the Demon Deacons’ inside-outside threats of Dearica Hamby (20 points, nine rebounds) and Chelsea Douglas (19 points, 2 rebounds) did all they could to keep the score close, it wasn’t enough.
Finishing with 42 points in the paint, Duke utilized more size at both ends of the floor as Oderah Chidom posted nine points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks in 27 minutes.
“I think throughout the game we were finding out more about who we are now,” Peters said.
“By the end of it, we played to a little bit of how good we could be…We know that there’s so much more there for us to do.”
|No. 7 DUKE 71, WAKE FOREST 56|
Percentages: FG .333, FT .750.
3-Point Goals: 7-24, .292 (Douglas 5-11, Hamby 1-2, Calicott 1-7, Atkinson 0-1, Jones 0-3).
Team Rebounds: 4.
Blocked Shots: 2 (Quinn, Atkinson).
Turnovers: 12 (Brunori 3, Calicott 2, Taylor 2, Atkinson 2, Douglas, Ball).
Steals: 8 (Brunori 3, Atkinson 2, Quinn, Jones, Douglas).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .560, FT .750.
3-Point Goals: 3-12, .250 (Liston 2-5, Peters 1-6, Jackson 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 6.
Blocked Shots: 10 (Chidom 3, Williams 3, Henson 2, McCravey-Cooper, Liston).
Turnovers: 17 (Jackson 4, Chidom 3, Peters 2, Liston 2, Williams 2, Henson, McCravey-Cooper, Johnson).
Steals: 7 (Peters 4, Henson, Chidom, Williams).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_Joanne Aldrich, Tom Danaher, Rachelle Jones.