DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Tricia Liston and Duke did quite well in their first game since Chelsea Gray’s season-ending knee injury.
Liston scored 21 points and tied her career high with 12 rebounds, leading the third-ranked Blue Devils to a 90-55 victory over Virginia on Thursday night.
The Blue Devils (17-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) had five players score in double figures in their biggest rout in the history of the series. They shot 56 percent from the field, compared to 31 percent for Virginia, and also outrebounded the Cavaliers 50-36.
Elizabeth Williams had 17 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots for Duke, which beat Virginia for the 21st straight time. Richa Jackson - Gray’s replacement in the starting lineup - finished with 16 points, freshman Oderah Chidom had 11 and Alexis Jones scored 10.
Gray broke her right kneecap Sunday against Boston College, sidelining the senior guard for the rest of the season. She dislocated the same kneecap last season, keeping her out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments.
“I thought it was a great team, aggressive effort,” said Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie, whose team won its 41st straight conference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. “Everybody contributed and everybody attacked.
“We tried to keep pace and push the tempo and I thought we did a better job of doing that, Tricia hitting the boards like she did and competing like she did. And Richa was dead on and very balanced. We talked as a group (about Gray), but I didn’t have to emphasize anything. What are you going to say? We all took it to heart and we’ll continue to take it to heart. We miss her a lot, but she’s a great coach on the sideline.”
Lexie Gerson and Faith Randolph had 13 points apiece for Virginia (8-9, 1-3). Sarah Imovbioh added nine points and 12 rebounds.
“Duke is really good,” said Virginia coach Joanne Boyle, a Duke alumna and former Blue Devil assistant coach. “I thought this was one of our worst performances in terms of effort. I don’t think we played hard at all.
“We practice harder than we played here tonight. We came out flat and let our offense affect our defense. We got run on transition all night long and got ourselves in a hole, and against a great team it’s hard to come back.”
Jackson was 8 for 9 from the floor and had five rebounds and three assists. She scored the game’s first four points and finished the first half with a 360-degree layup that put the Blue Devils up 47-23.
“I just wanted to remain focused and play with a lot of energy,” Jackson said. “With Chelsea being hurt that was really sad for me. I took it pretty hard. So I just wanted to come in and try to bring energy and lift up the team.”
Liston collected her second double-double of the season and fifth of her career. All of her rebounds were defensive, with 10 of them coming in the first half.
“With Chelsea out it just gives you a little more motivation and something else to play for, but it’s also a sign of the team coming together,” Liston said. “Rebounds have been a big focus of mine all year, but I have to give credit to my posts for keeping (Virginia’s posts) off the boards. I was just running in and trying to go after it.”
The Blue Devils shot 55.9 percent from the floor to Virginia’s 31.0 and won the rebound battle 50-36.
Duke never trailed. It opened a 20-4 lead on a Haley Peters 3-pointer with 15:08 left in the first half.