DURHAM — Tricia Liston led No. 4 Duke through an impressive first half against its toughest challenge of the young season.
Although No. 10 California kept fighting to the end, the Golden Bears could never get back within striking distance.
Liston led four Blue Devils in double figures, scoring 22 points with eight rebounds in a 77-63 victory on Sunday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Liston had 12 first-half points, including both of her 3-pointers, to help put Duke up 34-20 at the break.
She led a balanced scoring effort from the starting lineup. Californian Chelsea Gray finished with 13 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, and Elizabeth Williams added 12 points in 24 minutes. Freshman Alexis Jones chipped in 11 points and Haley Peters had nine.
It was a real good, physical game, and obviously in a lot of ways that was really good for us, Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. I really liked Chelsea Grays leadership. I thought she dictated the aggressiveness on the floor, and thats very important to us.
And from Tricias perspective anytime she gets eight rebounds in a game like that, that tells her she can get rebounds anywhere. I really do like our overall grit, savvy and toughness.
Brittany Boyd led Cal with 28 points, 23 of them in the second half. Layshia Clarendon added 13.
Duke outshot the Bears 46.9 percent to 35.9, holding them to 21.9 percent in the first half. The Blue Devils won the rebound battle 41-37 and committed 19 turnovers to the Bears 22.
We scheduled this game at Duke with a lot of intent and a lot of purpose, Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. Duke is really, really good. Theyre such a complete team. They showed that when Elizabeth Williams got into some foul trouble (two in the first seven minutes) and they were just as dangerous.
Duke led 22-15 when Liston really caught fire, scoring 10 straight points including the two 3-pointers in a span of three minutes to get her team its permanent working margin.
I think we just kept fighting and battling and (Cal) got a little tired, Liston said. We had some transition buckets right in a row, and I think they kind of got down a little bit after that. We tried to push the tempo a little bit and run our stats, and we were getting good shots.
Gray had nine of her 11 points, including 7-for-7 from the free-throw line, after halftime.
We knew it was going to be physical out there, said Gray, who had two blocked shots. We just had to focus more on rebounding and getting stops when we needed them, and being protective of the ball a little bit more.
Cals closest approach in the second half was 10 points back, the last time at 62-52 on an Eliza Pierre 3-pointer with 4 minutes, 13 seconds to play.
Duke guard Chloe Wells, who has been recovering from a leg injury, played for the first time this season and had four minutes of floor time.