Jones leads No. 2 Duke women past No. 16 Purdue
Duke got its toughest challenge of the season for about 30
minutes in its Big Ten/ACC Challenge game with Purdue.
And then the second-ranked Blue Devils’ depth took over.
Alexis Jones scored to lead Duke in a 99-78 victory over No. 16
Blue Devils coach Joanne P. McCallie moved one win away from
reaching 500 for her career, improving to 499-183. Duke (9-0)
visits No. 17 Oklahoma on Sunday.
Chelsea Gray added 16 points for the Blue Devils. Haley Peters,
who had sat out four games with a knee injury, and Elizabeth
Williams had 14 points each, Tricia Liston scored 13 and Richa
”From a team perspective, the second half was more what we were
looking for defensively, rebounding-wise and also scoring-wise and
attacking,” McCallie said. ”I loved the fact that we had 27
free-throw (attempts, hitting 18) and were so aggressive.
”And we went to the rack very hard. Chelsea (six rebounds) did
it, Alexis (seven rebounds) did it and Elizabeth (six) did it,
really kind of pushing through. I thought that was excellent.”
K.K. Houser scored 20 points to lead Purdue (5-2). April Wilson
had 14 and Whitney Bays 11.
Duke, which leads the series 6-3, is 6-1 overall in Big Ten/ACC
Challenge games while Purdue is 1-6.
Duke shot 56 percent to Purdue’s 39 percent and won the
rebounding matchup 46-33.
”I thought our first half we played the best basketball we’ve
played all year,” Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said. ”Then in the
second half when we were down by four we went and missed three
layups in a row and they got a 12-point lead.
”And then our shooting percentage in the second half (28.1) was
very poor, and that allowed them to kill us by 13 rebounds.”
The Blue Devils trailed 44-41 at halftime, their first deficit
at the break this season. The Boilermakers gave Duke its largest
deficit of the season at 26-17 on a three-point play from Bays with
11:07 to go in the half.
Jones had 10 points at halftime.
”I’m more confident about myself than last season and just more
aggressive,” said Jones, who as a freshman was MVP of the ACC
Tournament in March. ”I thought Chelsea’s injury last year (out
after Feb. 14 with a knee injury) brought out my personality,
because I had to get out of my comfort zone.”
Gray was once again a stat-sheet stuffer for Duke with nine
”In the first half we couldn’t stop them at all,” Gray said.
”Rebounding-wise, we weren’t even on the boards, and those things
were hurting us. We don’t really focus too much on scoring because
that’s just got to come.”
Purdue led 57-56 after Bays’ layup with 14:47 to go. But the
fresher Blue Devils took the lead at 14:23 on a three-point play
from Jones, extending the run to 18-5 with two 3s from Peters and
one from Gray.
”The knee felt really good during the game,” said Peters, who
resumed full workouts on Tuesday after suffering the injury Nov. 21
against Vanderbilt. ”Once it warmed up I didn’t really feel it at
all. I think it might have affected my shooting mentally a little
bit, but it didn’t hurt.”