Strong second half carries No. 2/2 Duke past Vanderbilt

Nov. 21, 2013

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DURHAM, N.C. -- For more than 30 minutes, Vanderbilt hung tight with the No. 2/2 Duke Blue Devils on their home floor.

But down the stretch, the Blue Devils -- and Tricia Liston, in particular -- proved to be too much.

Liston went 5-of-6 from 3-point range while scoring 15 of her team-high 18 points in the second half, and Duke pulled away for an 88-69 victory over the Commodores on Thursday night. The Blue Devils improved to 4-0; Vanderbilt fell to 3-2.

Vanderbilt was down only 36-34 at the half and was still within striking distance at the midway mark of the second half, trailing 61-54.

But the Commodores then endured a cold snap, missing seven straight shots from the floor, and Duke begin to extend its advantage.

A basket by Duke's Alexis Jones, followed by a 3-pointer by Liston, pushed the lead to 66-54, and the Blue Devils maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Jasmine Lister scored a game-high 23 points for Vanderbilt, including going 4-of-7 from 3-point range, but that wasn't enough to offset the Commodores' 28 turnovers in the loss.

Christina Foggie added 18 for Vanderbilt, and freshman Kylee Smith pulled down a team-high seven rebounds in the first road game of her college career.

The Commodores showed plenty of fight in the opening half, when they essentially traded baskets with Duke and also won the rebounding battle, 18-16. But the Devils flipped the game around in the second half, outscoring Vanderbilt 52-35 and out-rebounding the Commodores, 16-11.

Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb said her team got a little impatient in the second half when the tempo picked up.

"I think we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit by taking really quick shots," she said. "Once they got hot, and hit shots, I felt like we hit the panic button. And instead of executing and getting the ball inside and out ... we took quick shots to try to stay with them."

For Duke, Liston finished 6-of-8 shots from 3-point range to account for all 18 of her points, and was one of six Duke players in double figures. Chelsea Gray also had a huge game, scoring 14 points with 12 assists and eight rebounds. Alexis Jones had 17 points, and Elizabeth Williams had 13. Haley Peters, who left the game with an apparent knee injury in the first half but returned to the floor in the second half, finished with 11 points, as did Chloe Wells.

The Blue Devils, who went 11-of-19 from 3-point range, have now won 125 straight games against unranked opponents on their home floor.

For Vanderbilt, Lister provided a series of key baskets in the first half to help keep Vanderbilt close. She led all scorers in the first 20 minutes with 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

"I think (Lister) was great," said Balcomb. "I think she played very calm, never lost control. When it got crazy, she didn't get crazy, so I really just liked how her demeanor never changed, and we've been working on that and I was just really proud of how she handled herself." The Commodores were scrappy on the boards in the first half, out-rebounding Duke, 18-16. Bowe led the way with four rebounds, and Smith added three.

Freshman Marqu'es Webb scored two quick baskets to give Vanderbilt an early 4-0 lead, but Duke quickly reeled off seven straight to move ahead, 7-4. The Commodores and Devils then traded baskets for much of the half, with five lead changes and three ties in the opening 20 minutes.

Vanderbilt returns home on Sunday to play Dayton.



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