CHESTNUT HILL, Mass.—Today was a day of tying records for Duke women's basketball.
In a 90-53 victory against Boston College, the Blue Devils made 23-of-29 first half field goals, matching the all-time school record for a half of 79.3 percent set in 2001 against Davidson. With 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, junior Chelsea Gray notched her second career triple-double, tying former Virginia star and current South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley for the ACC record with two triple-doubles.
“It feels good,” Gray said. “It’s exciting to hear that. Coach [Joanne P. McCallie] looked at me and said, “Get one more assist!”
Coming off a poor shooting performance against a middling N.C. State squad Thursday, the No. 3 Blue Devils looked to reassert themselves as one of the most efficient teams in the country. They reached that goal Sunday afternoon against the Eagles.
“Against N.C. State we did not play together,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “We didn’t move the ball, we were impatient, the shots went up very quickly and we didn’t establish our game. Today [we] did a good job of establishing our presence.”
The Blue Devils (13-0, 3-0 in the ACC) dominated an overmatched Boston College (6-7, 0-2) squad from the opening whistle, jumping out to a 12-2 lead in the first 3:06. Duke never relinquished that lead, extending it to 55-20 by the end of the first half.
Five Blue Devils scored at least eight points in the opening period, led by juniors Haley Peters and Tricia Liston, who added 12 apiece.
“I felt like Duke made every single shot in that first half, whether it was transition, whether it was a three-point shot, whether it was a tough-driving layup,” Eagle head coach Erik Johnson said. “Tricia Liston hit a shot with a hand in her face, coming off the screen, going away from the basket. That’s what great teams do.”
The Blue Devils’ tight defense limited Boston College’s open looks at basket in the first half. The Eagles, who entered the matchup hitting 41.7 percent of their field goals and 35.5 percent from 3-point range, made just 7-of-24 first half field goals and 2-of-10 3-pointers.
“Duke is as solid a defensive team as you’re going to see individually and collectively,” Johnson said. “They can stop you one-on-one, and their helps are excellent. They mix defenses, so as soon as we became successful attacking a defense in a particular way, they switched.”
With Duke holding a comfortable lead, however, the second half was a different story.
Boston College came out to play, and the result upset McCallie, even though the Blue Devils had the game in hand.
“I was very mad,” McCallie said. “We didn’t come out sharp. Our defense in the second half really needs to pick up.”
Scoring 13 more points than they did in the first half on 9-of-21 shooting, the Eagles capitalized on the Blue Devils’ second-half defensive slide.
“When we controlled what we could control, we were successful even against one of the best defensive teams in the country,” Johnson said.
On the offensive end, Duke made half of its second-half field-goal attempts, finishing the game making 36-of-55 shots, good for a 65.5 percent clip.
Duke hopes to continue its offensive domination and work out its second-half defensive woes when it takes the court Thursday against Clemson. As for Chelsea Gray, McCallie believes that it is only a matter of time before the talented point guard breaks the ACC triple-double record.
“She’ll be getting more of those I’m quite sure because she’s not afraid to get physical,” McCallie said. “Chelsea, to me, is the very best at that, which makes her a very special point guard in all senses of the word.”