Duke routs Purdue, leads ACC women past Big Ten in Challenge
The start wasn’t anything like No. 2 Duke wanted on Thursday night.
The finish, though, was a sight to behold.
After trailing No. 16 Purdue by three points at halftime, the Blue Devils blistered the Boilermakers with 61 percent second-half shooting to run away and win 99-78 in the women’s basketball ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Duke win clinched at least a tie for the Challenge title and N.C. State's subsequent win Thursday night gave the ACC the clinching seventh overall win in the 12-game showdown.
Purdue (5-2) posted more points (44) in the first half against Duke than any team had so far this season. The Boilermakers led by as many as nine points in the first half, the largest deficit Duke (7-0) has faced this season, and the game marked the first time this season the Blue Devils trailed at halftime.
“In the first half we played the best basketball we have played,” Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said.
Duke’s take was, predictably, different.
“We were just playing in the first half,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “It was like a playground game. And that’s fine in the summer. But it’s not fine if you’re trying to be a special team. That’s what it was – a playground game.”
Duke tightened its defense over the final 20 minutes, moving in front of Purdue’s quick guards to slow their drives toward the basket. After Purdue shot 48.6 percent, making five 3-pointers, in the first half, the Boilermakers struggled to 28.1 percent shooting after halftime.
“We weren’t playing good transition defense (in the first half),” Duke forward Haley Peters said. “We weren’t focused on No. 22 (KK Houser) and she killed us. We just weren’t intense. It was just one-on-one stops and we weren’t doing a good job of it.”
That changed in the second half. Houser led Purdue with 20 points. But she made only 1 of 11 shots over the final 20 minutes.
“They adjusted and we didn’t adjust to how they adjusted,” Houser said.
With the defense cleaned up, Duke used its transition offense to roll.
Playing her first game since suffering a hyper-extended right knee on Nov. 21, Peters scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half. Alexis Jones, Duke’s leading scorer with 22 points, scored 14 points in the second half.
Duke made 16 of its first 27 shots after halftime, obliterating that three-point deficit and building an 80-68 lead with 6:58 to play.
Purdue didn’t have enough firepower left to threaten the Blue Devils again.
“We only played 30 minutes in this game and we have to play the whole 40,” Purdue sophomore guard April Wilson said. “(Duke’s depth) played a big factor.”
The Blue Devils also focused more on rebounding after halftime. The teams were tied 19-19 in rebounds at intermission. But Duke finished with a 46-33 edge for the game.
Peters led Duke with nine rebounds while junior center Elizabeth Williams had six rebounds to go with her 14 points.
Williams played only eight minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls. McCallie said that, along with her team not being intense enough on that end, played a role in Duke’s defensive struggles as well.
“That’s always going to hurt us when Elizabeth is on the bench,” McCallie said. “That was part of the problem. We had some freshmen post players in the game They were making some wrong decisions defensively that hurt us. Our guards were getting beat and they were putting pressure on those freshmen to make the right decisions.”
As it turned out, Duke’s balanced offense overwhelmed Purdue. All five starters reached double-figures in scoring for the third time this season.
“We do have depth,” McCallie said. “But it depends upon what standard we are going for, because we can win ball games and play a lot of people and wear people out and play a half. Or we can be an elite, special team that plays two halves and people can’t deal with us. I think that would be the kind of team we want to create – both halves counting significantly there.”
|No. 2 DUKE 99, No. 16 PURDUE 78|
Percentages: FG .391, FT .800.
3-Point Goals: 8-24, .333 (Wilson 4-7, Houser 3-8, Hamby 1-1, Perry 0-1, Bays 0-1, Moses 0-6).
Team Rebounds: 4.
Blocked Shots: 4 (Redmon 3, Clemons).
Turnovers: 20 (Wilson 6, Williams 3, Bays 2, Thornton 2, Houser 2, Morrissette, Hamby, Perry, Moses, Redmon).
Steals: 10 (Houser 5, Williams 2, Hamby, Wilson, Redmon).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .559, FT .667.
3-Point Goals: 5-10, .500 (Peters 2-3, Jackson 1-1, Gray 1-2, Jones 1-3, Liston 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 2.
Blocked Shots: 6 (McCravey-Cooper 2, Peters, Chidom, Gray, Williams).
Turnovers: 20 (Peters 4, Liston 4, Williams 3, Jones 2, McCravey-Cooper 2, Wells 2, Jackson, Johnson, Gray).
Steals: 15 (Peters 3, Jones 3, Liston 2, Williams 2, Jackson 2, Gray 2, McCravey-Cooper).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_Billy Smith, Dee Kantner, Joseph Vaszily.