Albany loses 80-51 at No. 2 Duke
Shereesha Richards carried Albany for a while. When she slowed down, so did the Great Danes.
Richards scored 20 of her 24 points in the first half of the Great Danes' 80-51 loss at No. 2 Duke on Thursday night.
Richards scored her team's first 14 points and was the primary reason Albany (8-2) led for the first part of the game.
''I wanted her to see herself play against the best players,'' Albany coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. ''This young lady was fun out there to watch against their players, and she needs to know that.''
Richards made 10 of 15 shots from the floor in the first half. Her teammates made 1 of 15 during that span.
''It wasn't easy because there's like two people, and they're going to come and double team,'' Richards said. ''But I just found a way to score. If my guards pass it in to me, I've just got to find a way.''
Haley Peters scored 17 points for Duke (11-1), which shot 59 percent from the floor in its first game since an 83-61 home loss to No. 1 Connecticut on Tuesday. Chelsea Gray and Richa Jackson had 12 points apiece.
Albany led 20-13 with 7:53 remaining in the first half, but Duke answered with a 15-2 run en route to a 34-26 lead at halftime.
Elizabeth Williams started the spurt with a free throw and a layup, and Tricia Liston added a bank shot and a 3-pointer to tie it at 22 with 4:56 left in the half.
''I think we just weren't focused,'' Gray said. ''We had to pick it up defensively.''
Oderah Chidom made a pair of free throws to give the Blue Devils their first lead, and Peters added two layups to extend the cushion to six.
The Great Danes cut the lead to 28-24 but never got closer.
''The team picked it up,'' Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. ''They got focused and got more aggressive.''
The Blue Devils opened the second half with a 17-2 spurt and scored on their first 10 possessions of the half.
Peters started the streak with a layup and capped it with a short jumper on a feed from Gray.
McCallie kept Liston on the bench at the start of the second half after she grabbed no rebounds in the first half. Duke turned an 18-13 rebounding deficit at halftime into a 35-24 advantage for the game.
Abrahamson-Henderson, who worked as an assistant under McCallie at Maine and Michigan State, expected the surge in Duke's intensity.
''I kind of knew what she would say in the locker room, so I knew they were going to come out really hard,'' Abrahamson-Henderson said. ''We just didn't handle that very well.''
Megan Craig, Albany's 6-foot-9 center, returned after a two-game absence due to an undisclosed injury, but Duke outscored the Great Danes 42-22 inside.
Albany had won 16 consecutive road games dating to a loss at Michigan State last season.