No. 8 Duke 61, BYU 55
Spurred on by its boisterous home crowd, BYU gave visiting Duke
all it could handle.
The young Cougars fell just short of pulling off an upset of the
eighth-ranked Blue Devils.
Chelsea Gray scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half and
added a career-high six steals to lead Duke to a 61-55 win over BYU
on Friday night.
”We had some unforced turnovers at crucial times,” BYU coach
Jeff Judkins said. ”But we had a lot of young kids out there.
We’re going to learn from this game as a team. Hopefully we can
just get better.”
The Cougars outrebounded the Blue Devils 41-36 and forced 17
turnovers. Unfortunately they had 22 turnovers of their own.
Gray made several huge plays to help the Blue Devils (1-0) stay
one step ahead of the Cougars (0-1) down the stretch. She scored a
pair of baskets, assisted on another and made 3-of-4 free throws
during the final 4 1/2 minutes of the game.
”That’s what it’s going to be like every time on the road,”
Haley Peters added 12 points and Chloe Wells chipped in 10 for
Duke, who will face Auburn in the team’s home opener next
Duke used intense defensive pressure to escape with a victory.
The Blue Devils pressured the ball early and often to set up
multiple baskets in transition. As a team, Duke scored a total of
24 points off the BYU turnovers.
”We like to attack,” Duke coach Joanie McCallie said. ”We
like to be aggressive. Broken plays are a lot of fun.”
It offset a strong effort senior point guard Haley Steed
produced for the Cougars. Steed finished with 12 points and 15
rebounds, although she also had 10 turnovers. Kim Parker added 14
points and six rebounds for BYU.
”I’m proud of my team,” Judkins said. ”Duke is a very well
coached, experienced, athletic team. I thought this year’s team was
better than last year’s team. They’re athletic in every position
and deep. My team didn’t quit. We’ve really learned as a team what
our future is. If we play with that energy and intensity we can
beat a lot of people.”
The Cougars had 2,553 fans, their biggest crowd since they
hosted UConn in 2008.
The Blue Devils took advantage of poor shooting and turnovers by
BYU to break off extended runs at two different points in the first
half. Each time, the Cougars clawed their way back to keep Duke
from turning it into a blowout.
After BYU took a 7-5 lead on a jumper from Dani Peterson, Wells
hit a 3-pointer and ignited an 11-0 run to put Duke ahead 16-7. BYU
pulled to within four after Stephanie Vermunt and Parker scored
baskets on consecutive possessions.
The Blue Devils responded with a 7-0 run – capped by a fastbreak
layup from Wells after she swiped the ball from Parker – to make it
23-12 in favor of Duke. Once again, BYU had an answer. Freshman
guard Xojian Harry came off the bench and scored eight straight
points – including back-to-back 3-pointers – to pull the Cougars to
within three at 23-20.
It was enough to keep BYU within striking distance of the Blue
Devils. The Cougars continued to chip away at the lead and charged
ahead of Duke at last when Steed buried a 3-pointer to put BYU up
32-29 with 15:43 left in the second half.
Duke never got rattled in those moments when they had plenty of
reasons to question if an upset was truly brewing.
”Each time we had a break, we huddled and – in the huddle –
tried to keep our composure,” Gray said.
It worked. The Blue Devils finally strung together a run that
BYU could not answer when they ran off eight straight points –
punctuated by a 3-pointer from Peters – to take a 42-36 lead with
Just like in the first half, the Cougars tried to rally from the
deficit. BYU’s efforts fell short because Gray came up with one big
play after another.
After BYU twice pulled to within three points, the sophomore
guard produced baskets on the other end to give Duke some extra
breathing room. Gray fed the ball to Peters for a driving layup and
made three free throws in the final minute to prevent any last
second upset from materializing.
One mark in the win column feels nice to start off the season.
McCallie knows it will take an improved effort in the weeks ahead
to keep the momentum going.
”We’re definitely a work in progress,” McCallie said.