The offense was spotty Thursday night, but Duke can always count on its defense this season.
The No. 15 Blue Devils shut down Clemson, the ACC’s last-place team, by holding the Tigers to 27.7 percent shooting in a 65-37 Duke women’s basketball win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
While returning to the nation’s top 15 teams this season, Duke (19-4, 7-3 ACC) has shown consistency on the defensive end. Clemson became the seventh consecutive team that has failed to shoot 40 percent or better against the Blue Devils. Duke has only allowed three teams to shoot 40 percent this season.
Clemson’s 37 points were the fewest Duke has allowed in an ACC game this season.
“Obviously, a great defensive game,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “We had to play a lot of defense today and that’s the nature of things sometimes.”
Though the Tigers (12-11, 1-9) have struggled in league play all season, Duke certainly contributed to Clemson’s offensive woes.
The Blue Devils blocked eight shots with Leaonna Odom, Kendall Cooper and Oderah Chidom each collecting two.
The Blue Devils also had 13 steals, leading to Clemson turning the ball over 19 times. Nine of the 10 Duke players who saw playing time had at least one steal with Odom leading Duke with three.
“We just really tried to focus on our ball pressure, and we did a better job of that in the second half,” Duke guard Rebecca Greenwell said.
Duke could have posted an even more comfortable win, but it only scored 13 points off those 19 Clemson turnovers.
Offensively, the Blue Devils shot 48 percent after a cold start where they hit just 6 of 17 shots (35 percent) in the first quarter.
Greenwell scored 21 points and Lexie Brown added 13 to represent the lone Duke players in double figures.
“Lexie, I liked her game,” McCallie said. “She was attacking. Becca was attacking too.”
Despite the Blue Devils shooting so poorly in the first quarter, they held a 17-9 lead because Clemson made just 4 of 11 shots.
Duke built on its lead in the second quarter with Greenwell scoring eight points in the period. The Blue Devils’ lead was just 26-19 with 3:12 to play in the first half, but they scored eight consecutive points on a Chidom basket inside, a Brown 3-pointer and Greenwell’s conventional 3-point play and led 34-20 at intermission.
Duke slowly built the lead from there beyond 20 points as Clemson was never able to get comfortable in its offensive sets.
That’s becoming a regular occurrence against Duke this season.
“I thought Becca and Lexie, Crystal (Primm), Faith (Suggs), everybody pressuring the ball,” McCallie said. “We’ve got to do that. That’s got to be a constant and a consistent for us and it was. Overall a great defensive effort.”