Blue Devil women stand unbeaten

Wednesday January 16, 2013

DURHAM, N.C. -- There’s only one undefeated basketball team left in Division I -- and it’s the Duke women.

The fourth-ranked Blue Devils (15-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are off to another hot start, winning their first 15 games for the second time in three seasons.

They not only haven’t lost, they haven’t really been tested for a full 40 minutes: Duke hasn’t had a game decided by fewer than 10 points and its average margin of victory is more than 30 points.

Still, the Blue Devils aren’t getting caught up in their hot start.

Next up for the Blue Devils is Virginia Tech on Wednesday night, a game Duke is expected to win. And while they say they’re not looking past the Hokies, looming on the horizon is a visit to No. 3 Connecticut next Monday.

The Huskies have spoiled a perfect start by Duke before. Two years ago, Duke was the last unbeaten women’s team at 20-0 entering its visit to UConn and wound up losing by 36 points.

Nobody’s forgotten about that embarrassment.

"It was one of the roughest film sessions we’ve had," said junior Chelsea Gray. "I never want to walk away from that feeling. I remember that feeling still to this day."

The setback against UConn aside, the Blue Devils have been feeling pretty good about themselves recently.

This is the fifth time they have started the season at least 15-0 since 2002-03. It’s the second time McCallie has taken a perfect start this deep into January, and the juniors on this team were freshmen the last time it happened.

The current team has just one senior -- post player Allison Vernerey -- and is more reliant on its offense than the defense-driven group in 2010-11.

These Blue Devils average nearly 81 points and rank third in both scoring margin and field goal percentage, shooting 49 percent. Duke also leads the nation by making nearly 45 percent of its 3-pointers.

Gray and sophomore post player Elizabeth Williams form one of the top one-two punches in the country.

Gray picked up her second career triple-double earlier this month at Boston College and leads the ACC with 98 assists, while Williams is sixth in the league in scoring (15.5 ppg) and tops with 49 blocked shots -- at least one in every game of her college career.

Haley Peters is a 53 percent shooter while Tricia Liston makes nearly 48 percent of her 3s for a team that leads the ACC in seven key stat categories.

The starting lineup includes three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman. And incoming recruit Rebecca Greenwell made headlines Monday night by setting a national high school record by making 17 3-pointers in a game.


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