Liston, Duke women pull away from Hampton, 67-51

Mar. 24, 2013 @ 02:35 PM

Tricia Liston scored 13 of her 20 points in the second half and Duke pulled away to beat Hampton 67-51 on Sunday in the first round of the Norfolk Regional.

Elizabeth Williams added 18 points and Haley Peters finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the second-seeded Blue Devils (31-2).

They watched Hampton trim their 19-point lead to six before recovering with a 23-8 run that gave them their 20th straight NCAA tournament-opening victory.

Keiara Avant had 18 points to lead 15th-seeded Hampton (28-6), and her jumper with just over 10 minutes left capped a furious 27-14 rally that pulled the Pirates to 46-40.

But Duke locked down defensively — forcing Hampton to miss 12 of its next 15 shots — and scored on five straight trips to regain some separation and end the Pirates' 19-game winning streak.

Williams hit back-to-back layups before Liston's scoop shot made it 52-42 and put Duke up by double figures for good.

Freshman Alexis Jones had 11 points in her NCAA tournament debut for the Blue Devils. Duke won its 17th straight tournament game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and 19th in a row overall at home while improving to 7-1 since losing do-it-all point guard Chelsea Gray to a season-ending knee injury.

Duke — which overcame some early struggles on the boards and eventually outrebounded Hampton by eight — has made it to the second round in each of the 20 NCAA tournaments in which it has appeared.

Olivia Allen finished with 15 points for the Pirates, but Nicole Hampton — who averages 12 points — finished with two on 1-of-15 shooting.

Hampton came in leading the nation by allowing an average of 47.2 points, and Duke became just the third opponent to score more than 60 against the Pirates.

Neither team believed the Pirates — who have wins over three opponents from major conferences — deserved such a poor seed, with Blue Devils coach Joanne P. McCallie calling them "the greatest No. 15 seed I have ever seen in my life."

Hampton eventually proved her right — but not before a tough first half. The Blue Devils used a Williams-fueled 16-2 run to open up a 19-point lead and seemingly break the game open.

The Virginia Beach, Va., native scored eight points during the burst before Liston's layup with just under 2 minutes left made it 32-13. Three of the Pirates' previous five opponents failed to crack 30 in an entire game.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.