by Mike Potter
CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke takes on outside opposition for the first time this season, and the opponent will be the best team from NCAA Division II last season.
Shaw lost seven seniors off last season’s club and seniors Sequoyah Griffin and Crystal Harris are out with injuries, and it definitely shows.
Despite missing Elizabeth Williams and Chloe Wells with stress fractures in their lower legs, Richa Jackson still recovering from an ACL tear and Amber Henson out recovering from knee surgery, the Blue Devils are dominant from the start in a 138-32 blowout.
The Blue Devils score the game’s first 30 points before Isayra Diaz gets the Bears on the board with 11:21 left in the half.
Duke leads 72-18 at the break, then makes it 100-26 on Alexis Jones’ layup from Chelsea Gray with 10:13 to play.
Tricia Liston outscores the Bears with 36 points and 12 rebounds, one of four Duke double-doubles as everyone who plays except walk-on Jenna Frush scores at least 15.
Chelsea Gray has 20 points and 10 assists while freshmen Sierra Moore and Alexis Jones score 17 and 16, respectively. Ka'lia Johnson scores 16 points while Haley Peters adds 15 points and 18 rebounds and Allison Vernerey chips in 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Crystal Wilson leads Shaw with 15 points while Diamond Mitchell chips in 10.
Duke shoots 57 percent to 20.6 for Shaw, finishes with 72 rebounds to the Bears’ 26 and commits 11 turnovers to Shaw’s 30.
They said it …
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie: “I was happy to see a nice, intense 40 minutes. I know it’s an exhibition, and I know we had outmanned them, but we’re still getting the rebounds and doing the things you need to do as a team. Once you create those habits in an exhibition, you can duplicate them in a game. If you never get 18 rebounds like Haley did, then you have no idea what it’s like to pull down 18 rebounds. By having those experiences, whether it is Tricia having 36 points or Haley’s rebounds, you get used to productivity and I think that is very important.”
Shaw coach Jacques Curtis: “It was a tough game that we put on the schedule early. We didn’t feel like we would have the type of injuries we have, and we wanted to have a better showing than we had tonight. The young ladies we were able to put out there had to play a lot of minutes, and they did a pretty decent job trying to defend.”
Liston: “Ball movement helped me get those looks. We were pushing it a lot in transition, and there were times when it would swing all the way around the perimeter and I had a wide-open shot. I think my teammates were looking for me and finding me in good spots.”
Peters: “We need to work on that intensity all year. That is, just being mature enough to realize we’re not playing just to win this game, we’re playing to become a better team and we’re playing to become a team that plays for 40 minutes. We did a good job of it tonight.”
What does it all mean?
That even a shorthanded Duke team looks very, very solid. And that Shaw might have bit off more than it can chew with its exhibition schedule.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Jones’ 4-point play with 45 seconds left in the first half.
Duke vs. Queens (exh.), Sunday, 2 p.m.
Shaw at Baylor (exh.), Monday, 7 p.m.