No. 2 Duke women beat No. 17 Oklahoma 94-85

When the men’s coach at your school is pushing 1,000 career

wins, 500 wins might seem like a small accomplishment, but Duke

women’s coach Joanne P. McCallie said she eventually will take time

to appreciate it.

Right now, though, she’s focused on guiding the Blue Devils

through a brutal December schedule and they took another step

toward that goal on Sunday.

Tricia Liston scored a season-high 23 points and No. 2 Duke gave

McCallie her 500th victory, beating No. 17 Oklahoma 94-85.

McCallie, who previously coached at Maine and Michigan State,

became the 30th active NCAA Division I coach to reach the 500-win

mark. The win was her 175th in seven seasons at Duke.

Of course, her men’s counterpart at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski, has

964 career wins, which McCallie uses to put her achievement into

perspective.

”People talk about 1,000 wins a lot at Duke and it makes you

feel very humble,” she said. ”I don’t know what to say, but what

I will say is that I’ve had some great, great players and great

staff while I’ve been here. It’s been great people to work with and

great players to coach. It takes everybody.”

Alexis Jones added 20 points and six assists and Haley Peters

scored 18 points for Duke, which is 10-0 for the third time in the

last four seasons and the seventh time in the program’s

history.

Before the end of the month, the Blue Devils – who are unbeaten

in three games this season against ranked foes – will face No. 1

Connecticut and No. 5 Kentucky, sandwiched around a game against

Albany. The Blue Devils opened the month with a win over No. 18

Purdue and now a road win over Oklahoma (6-3).

”It kind of lined up nicely, but we like to have it lined up,

because of the experience of our team,” McCallie said. ”When we

get this thing really together, we’re going to be really good. When

we get thing a little bit more cohesive, a little bit sharper,

we’ll hit another level and that will be fun.”

Aaryn Ellenberg scored a season-high 28 points and Morgan Hook

added a season-high 24 points for Oklahoma (6-3), which lost to a

top-five team for the second time this season. The Sooners fell in

overtime to No. 5 Louisville on Nov. 17.

Liston made only one 3-pointer in Duke’s previous two games –

wins against Kansas and No. 16 Purdue – but had three before

halftime and finished the game 5 of 10 from behind the arc, helping

her team finish 9 of 21 (42.9 percent).

The game was the first between Duke and Oklahoma since the 2002

national semifinals, which Oklahoma won before falling to

Connecticut in the title game. Duke was the highest-ranked

nonconference foe for the Sooners since No. 1 Connecticut on Feb.

15, 2010.

Duke, the nation’s fourth-best 3-point shooting team at 43.6

percent, didn’t hit a 3-pointer during the first 12 minutes of

Sunday’s game, allowing the Sooners to hang close. After a basket

by Hook with 9:40 left in the half, the Sooners trailed only

18-17.

The Blue Devils then went on a 14-2 run, fueled by a pair of

3-pointers by Liston and another by Chloe Wells. Wells’ basket put

Duke ahead 32-19.

”I think we were really focused on defense, especially

transition defense, and we were matching up with the shooters a lot

better than we were in the second half,” Liston said. ”We were

making them work for all of their first-half-points and I think

that kind of frustrated them a little bit.”

Oklahoma, which committed 15 first-half turnovers and 21 in the

game, came no closer than seven points the rest of the way. The

Blue Devils had an 11-0 spurt just before halftime to extend their

lead to 46-27.

”That little spell in the first half, where we turned it over

and kicked it out of bounds and threw it out of bounds and threw it

to them, was really the difference in the game,” Oklahoma coach

Sherri Coale said.

Duke now is 18-3 all-time against Big 12 schools, having lost

only to Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas.

Gray finished with 17 points, five assists and five steals for

Duke while Sharane Campbell added 16 points and Nicole Griffin

scored 15 for Oklahoma.