No. 10 Duke women roll past NC A&T, 87-36
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) The freshman led the way again for Duke.
Rebecca Greenwell scored 20 points and Azura Stevens finished with a career-high 19 as the No. 10 Blue Devils cruised to an 87-36 victory over North Carolina A&T on Friday night.
''This was a big step for us,'' Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. ''It was a building game for us. We were working on certain things and we're looking forward to applying that to our next game.''
Duke rebounded from its worst loss of the season, an 83-52 setback at No. 2 Connecticut on Monday, to post its largest margin of victory of the season.
The Blue Devils put together an all-around victory that included their best field goal percentage (57.9), their most assists (26) and most blocked shots (11). Defensively, Duke held North Carolina A&T to 21.3 percent from the field, the lowest by a Blue Devil opponent this season.
After allowing North Carolina A&T to hit a 3-pointer to open the game, the Blue Devils scored the next 10 points for a 10-3 lead with 16 minutes left in the first half. From there, Duke overpowered the Aggies and took a 40-20 halftime lead.
''We weren't quite as urgent as I liked in the first half,'' McCallie said. ''I preferred the second half more. That was kind of a good thing because oftentimes we're a first-half team. Today we were OK in the first half and I thought we were much better in the second half.
The Blue Devils continued their dominance in the second half as they built a 84-28 lead, their largest of the game, after two free throws by Ka'lia Johnson with 3:31 remaining.
Stevens, who finished 8 of 12 from the floor and 3 of 3 from the free-throw line, also had four steals, three assists and two blocks. She said Duke played better in the second half, holding the Aggies to only 16 points in the final 20 minutes.
''I guess we came out more focused on defense and our defensive energy, which is helpful to us, let the scoring come to us,'' Stevens said.
The Aggies (7-7), who were led by Dana Brown with 14 points, lost their third straight game and for the fifth time in six games.
''Duke is definitely one of the top 10 programs in the country,'' third-year North Carolina A&T coach Tarrell Robinson said. ''Their talent - Elizabeth Williams and Azura Stevens - was a little overwhelming for us. We didn't match them inside and our post players were not a factor. It was a great experience to play a nationally-ranked team. We'll use this for the future.''
Duke: Senior center Elizabeth Williams did her damage against North Carolina A&T in unusal ways. Instead of leading the way in points and rebounds, Williams finished with four blocked shots and a career-high seven assists to go with her eight points and five rebounds.
North Carolina A&T: The Aggies fell to 2-27 all-time against ACC teams, including two losses to Duke. The teams last played in 1984 when Duke also won 78-39.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Duke sophomore center Kendall Cooper got her first career start against North Carolina A&T. The 6-foot-4 center played a career-high 21 minutes, grabbing seven rebounds, scoring five points and making three steals.
HOT SHOTS: Few of North Carolina A&T's shots fell but the Aggies did have some success from beyond the arc where they made 7 of 25, including 5 of 12 in the first half. Seven 3s matched a season-high, which the Aggies accomplished in two other games.
North Carolina A&T: Hosts Guilford College on Monday.
Duke: Hosts Wake Forest on Sunday.