by Mike Potter
CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke returns home for the first time in 10 days after surviving for a week on the road.
In their first two road games since losing Chelsea Gray for the second straight season with a knee injury, the Blue Devils had to scratch and claw for victories.
Last Sunday the No. 3 Blue Devils held on for a 74-70 win at much-improved Virginia Tech, and then Thursday night they survived an 85-77 overtime battle with No. 24 Florida State.
Today’s opponent is Pittsburgh, making its first visit to Durham as a member of the ACC. Pitt is 1-4 in the conference under new coach Suzie McConnell-Serio, and the Blue Devils will be heavy favorites.
Duke will play for the second straight game without senior guard Chloe Wells, who is out with a bruised shin.
This one is never close, as the Blue Devils roll to a 111-67 victory, with Tricia Liston breaking Abby Waner’s school 3-point shooting record along the way.
The Blue Devils shoot 65.5 percent in the first half to Pitt’s 21.6 to lead 55-29 at the break.
Duke’s biggest lead of the game is 47 points, at 111-64 on Jenna Frush’s 3-pointer with 33 seconds left.
Liston scores 23 to lead six Blue Devils in double figures. Elizabeth Williams adds 20 points while Haley Peters chips in 16 with 12 rebounds. Amber Henson finishes with a career-high 13 points, followed by Oderah Chidom with 12 and Alexis Jones 11.
Brianna Kiesel leads Pitt with 19 points followed by 17 from Asia Logan and 12 from Loliya Briggs.
Duke shoots 59.7 percent from the floor to 30.4 for the Panthers and wins the rebound battle 50-35.
They said it …
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie: “This was a good, strong team game for us. A lot of people stepped up and played well, and our defense got more intense in the second half, which was important. I really liked the fact that we had three turnovers in the second half. … Huge congratulations to Tricia. We’re just really, really proud.”
Liston: “I had people tweeting at me (about the record) and stuff like that, but I didn’t really worry about that. Once you get on the court it all goes away, you’re not really thinking about it. When I’m shooting it’s not like, ‘Oh, this is the one that is going to break the record.’ But off the court it’s a great accomplishment and something I’m very proud of.”
Henson: “This is the best I’ve ever felt playing. Obviously there are some things I can work on in terms of mechanics and movement, but as far as my (chronically injured knee) goes, it feels great. Conditioning will come, but I’ve been working on it and I think eventually that will come too.”
What does it all mean?
That Duke has its 17th straight 20-win season, and that Pitt continues its first-year ACC baptism by fire.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Duke: Won 10.
Pitt: Lost 4.
Duke leads 5-0.
Duke at Miami, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Pitt vs. Boston College, Thursday, 7 p.m.