No. 3 Duke women beat Syracuse 86-53
Tricia Liston had 20 points and eight rebounds as No. 3 Duke beat Syracuse 86-53 on Thursday night, spoiling the Orange's first home game in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Elizabeth Williams added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Duke (15-1, 2-0), whose only loss was to top-ranked UConn 83-61 in December.
The Blue Devils have beaten four ranked opponents this season— California, Purdue, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. Syracuse (11-4, 0-2) dropped out of the poll this week after consecutive losses to No. 23 Arizona State and North Carolina State, now ranked No. 20. The highest-ranked team a Syracuse women's squad has beaten was No. 2 Connecticut, 62-59 in January 1996.
Duke won the only previous meeting between the teams, 84-40, in the Big Four Classic in Greensboro, N.C., in December 1995.
Alexis Jones had 13 points and seven assists for the Blue Devils. Williams blocked four shots, extending her streak of at least one block in 85 straight games.
Chelsea Gray, who leads the ACC with 7.5 assists per game, finished with seven assists and four steals.
Brianna Butler led Syracuse with 14 points, going 4 of 12 on 3-pointers. Shakeya Leary had eight points and 11 rebounds.
La'Shay Taft finished 1 of 13 on 3-pointers as the Orange finished 8 of 38 (21.1 percent) from beyond the arc.
Syracuse was holding opponents to 29.9 percent shooting on 3s, but the Blue Devils hit 4 of 6 in the opening half and finished 6 of 12.
The Orange entered the game 7-0 this season in the Carrier Dome and seeking a signature win to vault them back into the national rankings. Syracuse made it clear it would try to win the game from the perimeter and started well, hitting four of their first six 3s. Butler made two and Rachel Coffey and Isabella Slim each had one.
Butler's second 3-pointer gave Syracuse a 19-12 lead less than 5 minutes in. But the Orange missed seven of their next eight from behind the arc and the Blue Devils capitalized with a 15-2 spurt to zoom to a lead they never relinquished.
Liston made a pair of 3s from the left side, Richa Jackson added a three-point play, and a shot off the glass by Oderah Chidom tied it at 21 at 12:45.
A reverse layup by Williams and a driving layup by Jones completed the Duke run and gave the Blue Devils a 27-21 lead midway through the period.
Ka'lia Jackson's foul-line jumper after a steal by Williams gave Duke a 38-30 lead with 3:53 to go.
Brittney Sykes, who finished with eight points, rallied the Orange, converting a baseline drive and a layup to bring Syracuse within four. Liston hit her fourth 3 of the half and Jones followed with a shot off the glass in the final minute to send the Blue Devils into the locker room with a 43-34 lead.
The Blue Devils took command in the second with an 18-7 run keyed by a 3-pointer from Jones and Liston's three-point play. A basket by Jones at 11:49 put the Blue Devils up 61-43 midway through the period.