No. 5 Duke 67, Virginia Tech 45

Duke got another win while losing another player as well.

Tricia Liston scored 17 points to help the No. 5 Blue Devils

beat Virginia Tech 67-45 on Wednesday night.

Chelsea Gray added 15 points for the Blue Devils (22-3, 13-0

Atlantic Coast Conference), who lost starting forward Richa Jackson

to a left knee injury in the first half.

”I really thought we grew as a team,” Duke coach Joanne P.

McCallie said. ”I think you can’t underestimate losing a player to

an injury and that effect. You have to really defy human instincts

because unfortunately what that does, empathy is what comes

out.

”You don’t want empathy when you’re competing, and I thought it

was extraordinary what our team did to overcome that. They defied

human nature, really.”

Jackson fell to the floor under Duke’s offensive basket as she

was fouled by Virginia Tech’s Alyssa Fenyn with 9:21 to play in the

first half. Jackson remained on the floor for a few minutes,

clutching her knee as McCallie and trainers attended to her.

Two members of Duke’s training staff helped Jackson limp toward

the locker room as she struggled to put any weight on her injured

leg. Jackson is scheduled for an MRI exam Thursday, a Duke

spokesman said.

”I can’t give you anything more, but she’s hurt,” McCallie

said. ”That’s all I can give you. I’m not a doctor.”

After a long pause, McCallie added, ”She’s out.”

Jackson came into the game averaging 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds

per game.

The Blue Devils already were without starting point guard Chloe

Wells and reserve post player Amber Henson, who have both been out

since late December. Wells is not enrolled for the spring semester

due to a violation of university policy, and Henson had

season-ending knee surgery.

”We’ve got to play because they can’t,” Liston said. ”We just

have to take that in mind. Coach said something in the locker room

that nothing is guaranteed. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of

us, and that’s the way that we need to start playing now until the

end of the season.”

Liston made two 3-pointers and a steal during a 14-2 run in the

second half as Duke pulled away for its 29th consecutive home win

against conference foes.

Elizabeth Williams added 12 points and Haley Peters had 11 for

the Blue Devils, who shot 35 percent from the floor.

Aerial Wilson scored 15 of her 19 points in the first half to

lead Virginia Tech (7-19, 3-10). The Hokies suffered their 10th

loss in the last 11 games and their 17th consecutive defeat against

Duke.

Virginia Tech went scoreless for the final 5:30 of the game as

the Blue Devils closed with an 11-0 run.

The Hokies finished with 18 turnovers and shot 31 percent from

the floor for the game.

”Absolutely no complaints with the effort,” Virginia Tech

coach Dennis Wolff said. ”I’d like a little bit better execution,

but every coach would.”

Wilson started the game 4 of 6 from the floor, including 3 for 3

on 3-pointers, but was 4 for 21 the rest of the way. She scored her

team’s first 11 points, helping the Hokies run out to a 13-9 lead

less than six minutes into the game.

Duke answered with a 14-3 run, led by a 3-pointer from Liston to

take control of the game.

The Blue Devils led 35-26 at halftime after making 14 of 20 free

throws. Duke attempted at least one free throw after each of

Virginia Tech’s 11 fouls in the half, but the Hokies had no

attempts on Duke’s five fouls.

Duke finished 25 of 34 on free throws, while the Hokies were 3

of 4.

”I love that we were aggressive and got to the line a lot,”

McCallie said. ”That’s important to us.”

Both teams wore pink to raise awareness for breast cancer. The

Blue Devils sported pink trim on their white uniforms and wore pink

headbands and pink shoelaces. The Hokies wore pink warmup shirts to

go with pink shoes, socks and headbands.