Peters leads No. 2 Duke women over Albany 80-51

Haley Peters and No. 2 Duke got into a bit of trouble in a

tricky little game between a pair of high-profile showdowns.

Once the Blue Devils shook off a slow start, they were just too

much for Albany to handle.

Peters scored 17 points to help the Blue Devils beat the Great

Danes 80-51 on Thursday night.

Chelsea Gray and Richa Jackson had 12 points apiece 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.

The Blue Devils, who play at No. 5 Kentucky on Sunday afternoon,

looked as if they were still thinking about the Huskies or looking

forward to the Wildcats at the start of their game against

Albany.

”I think we just weren’t focused,” Gray said. ”We had to pick

it up defensively.”

Albany (8-2) 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.

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.

Albany coach Katie 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.”

Shereesha Richards scored 20 of her 24 points in the first half

for the Great Danes.

Richards, who scored her team’s first 14 points, 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.”

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.