After an impressive 70-58 victory over #9 Cal to open the season, the #2 Duke Blue Devils made sure to save some fireworks for their fans in Durham, obliterating USC-Upstate, 123-40, in their home opener.
The game was never close, as Duke raced out to a 9-2 lead in the first two minutes of the game. Eight minutes later, the Blue Devils had already pushed their advantage to 34-13, and they would never look back, scoring 60 points in the first half and 63 in the second half.
Haley Peters led the way–finishing with 17 points, 20 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals–for a Duke team that saw all five starters score in the double digits. Eight players scored at least seven points.
For the Spartans, it was a constant struggle, as their starters managed just 12 total points, with 10 of those coming from guard Maddie Herr. The bench provided a stronger effort, but overall the team shot just 20.7% (12-58) from the field. They did shoot 90.9% (10-11) from the free throw line, though, so there’s that.
To the bullet points:
- The Blue Devils shot 56.8% (46-81) from the field, 55.6% (10-18) from beyond the arc, and 70.0% (21-30) from the stripe. It was a wonderfully dominant effort that showed why this might be the best team Duke has had in year. It didn’t show as much in the Cal game, but everyone in the starting lineup is capable of contributing on the offensive end.
- Another superb game for Chelsea Gray in her second game back from last year’s knee injury. The senior finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and 6 steals. She did have 3 turnovers, but I won’t hold it against her for not being totally sharp in a game where Duke was up by 42 at halftime.
- Tricia Liston also turned in her second brilliant effort, tallying 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists in just 24 minutes. She, along with Gray, has been the model of efficiency so far this year.
- Duke had a 63-24 advantage on the boards. It was a refreshing change of pace after watching the men’s team struggle to out-rebound anyone on a game-to-game basis.
- The Blue Devils came within six points of breaking their all-time single-game scoring record (128 vs Howard, 12/6/02).
Duke (2-0) returns to action on Sunday, as they’ll host Alabama (0-2) at 2pm ET. USC Upstate (2-2) will also be in action Sunday when they host Charleston (1-2) at 3pm ET.