DURHAM, N.C. (AP)—Joanne P. McCallie promised her Duke players a physical game. She didn’t disappoint, and neither did they.
Tricia Liston scored 22 points to help No. 4 Duke beat No. 10 California 77-63 on Sunday.
Chelsea Gray added 13 points for the Blue Devils (6-0), who built a big lead early with a 22-2 run in the first half. Elizabeth Williams had 12 points and Alexis Jones had 11 points as Duke won for the 65th time in its last 67 home games.
“We knew coming into the game that they were going to be physical and it was going to be a blood bath out there,” Gray said. “We just had to focus on rebounding and getting stops when we needed them.”
Brittany Boyd scored 23 of her career-high 28 points in the second half to lead California (6-1). Layshia Clarendon added 13 points for the Golden Bears, who shot a season-worst 36 percent from the field.
California led 13-10 six minutes into the game before Duke’s decisive run.
The Golden Bears cut Duke’s lead to 34-24 early in the second half, but they never got closer. Gray hit a tough bank shot and two free throws as the Blue Devils responded with a 9-0 spurt.
“I liked our overall grit, savvy and toughness,” McCallie said. “That game was very physical.”
Duke led 34-20 at the half in a matchup of teams that entered the game averaging more than 80 points per game.
Holding a 13-10 lead after a driving scoop shot by Clarendon six minutes into the game, the Golden Bears went scoreless for almost six minutes.
Duke got back-to-back baskets by Allison Vernerey, then three buckets by Jones to go ahead 22-13 with 8:30 left in the half.
“We started out pretty hot, and they were hot,” California coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “Then we missed a couple of shots, and I felt that made us tighten up. I thought we started to maybe rush things a little bit, thinking we have to score right now versus locking in defensively.”
The Golden Bears scored after calling timeout to stop Duke’s momentum, but the Blue Devils answered with another run.
Liston scored 10 consecutive points on two 3-pointers, a driving layup and a turnaround jumper to give Duke its biggest lead of the half at 32-15 with 5:26 to play.
“We just kept fighting and kept battling,” Liston said. “I think they got a little tired. We had some transition buckets right in a row, and I think they kind of got down a little bit after that.”
California managed just two field goals on 19 attempts in the final 14 minutes of the first half.
The Blue Devils’ run began when Williams, their second leading scorer, went to the bench with her second foul with 13:47 left in the first half. She sat out the rest of the half as her teammates built the lead.
“Duke is really, really good,” Gottlieb said. “They’re such a complete team. I thought they showed that when Elizabeth Williams got in foul trouble and they were just as dangerous.”
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