Duke just had too many weapons for Wake Forest in Friday’s opener of the quarterfinals of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Kendall Cooper had a career-high 21 points, leading four players in double figures, as the Blue Devils ended Wake Forest’s unlikely tournament run with a 77-68 win at Greensboro Coliseum.
Rebecca Greenwell, playing in her first ACC tournament game, added 17 points for Duke. Elizabeth Williams added 11 points and 16 rebounds for the senior’s 29th career double-double and 10th of the seasson while Azura Stevens – another freshman – chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season.
The Blue Devils, who have beaten Wake Forest 43 straight times, will play in the semifinals on Saturday at noon against the winner of Friday’s second game between No. 1 seed and defending champion Notre Dame and No. 8 seed Miami.
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Dearica Hamby, like Williams considered to be a first-round WNBA draft pick, scored 26 with 16 rebounds to finish with 44 career double-doubles. Kelila Atkinson added 11 points for the Deacons.
No. 4 seed Duke (21-9), which is ranked 16th in the AP poll – was playing its first game in the tournament after earning a “double-bye” along with the other top seeds.
The 13th-seeded Deacons (13-20) – the only team to win games in this event each of the past seven seasons – had blasted No. 12 seed Boston College 69-53 on Wednesday and shocked No. 5 seed and NCAA-bound Syracuse 85-79 on Thursday.
Duke had won the teams’ two regular-season meetings, 70-63 on Jan. 4 at Cameron Indoor Stadium and 70-53 on Feb. 5 in Winston-Salem.
Duke shot 45.6 percent for the game to Wake’s 33.8. The Deacons won the rebound battle 44-40 and committed 21 turnovers to 20 for Duke.
Duke got the game’s first four points in the paint from Stevens and Williams and never trailed.
The Blue Devils were up 36-21 at halftime behind 11 points from Greenwell. Williams had 12 rebounds and five blocks at the break. Duke outshot the Deacons 46.4 percent to 18.9 and outrebounded them 27-23 before intermission.
The Deacons kept working, slicing the advantage to 45-42 on a Nicole Floyd bucket with 11:41 left.
But Duke used a multiplayer scoring effort down the stretch to complete the win.