Durham, NC — The Clemson Tigers couldn’t take the heat at the Cameron Indoor Stadium against the Duke Blue Devils on Thursday night. The Blue Devils commanded a 65-37 victory.
The Tigers struggled to get points on the board as the game commenced against the No. 15 Blue Devils. The layup from Alivah Collier, rebounding leader for Clemson, was the only two points for the Tigers for the majority of the first quarter.
As Clemson struggled offensively, Duke cleaned up the court in the first minutes of the game with Rebecca Greenwell and Lexie Brown both finishing with a three-pointer. The Blue Devils defense also dominated with four steals in the first quarter, compared to zero from the Tigers.
However, Clemson’s offense warmed up as the first quarter ticked down with Jaia Alexander ending the scoring drought for the Tigers by draining a three-pointer. The Tigers finished the first period hanging onto the Blue Devils lead 17-9.
“We switched off some things, we tried to put as much pressure on Lexie Brown as we could, and [Rebecca] Greenwell and we said ‘We don’t want them taking a lot of shots’ and we can make other players take shots then we are good,” head coach for Clemson Audra Smith said.
Clemson’s plan seemed to be working as the Tigers were shooting a better percentage from the field with an accuracy of 36% from the field, while Duke was at 35%. Other players outside of the Blue Devil’s leading scorers had to take shots that were not falling.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, that defensive plan wouldn’t last long, as Greenwell and Brown found a way to score and expanded the lead for the Blue Devils. By the end of the second quarter, Greenwell had scored 13 points, and Brown had scored nine points.
The leading scorers for the Tigers were Aliyah Collier with six points, and Alexander with seven points.
The low scoring half ended with a Blue Devil lead, 34-20.
As the third quarter started, the Tigers consistently matched the Blue Devils in completed field goals, working hard to erase their first half deficit. Victoria Cardaci completed her second three-pointer of the night, putting the first points on the board for the Tigers.
“I think we got that lead and we just wanted to keep it instead of extend it,” Brown said. “We just had to fix that mentality, and we did in the second half.”
However, the Blue Devils went on an 8-0 run in the middle of the third quarter to yet again, separate Duke and Clemson. Nelly Perry, the leading scorer for Clemson, ended the run with a lay-up to stop the bleeding.
Kyra Lambert stole the ball from the Tigers with four minutes left in the third stanza, taking it down the court for her first points of the night. The lay-up would be the only two points of the game for Lambert, who is one of the leading scorers for the Blue Devils.
Despite the Blue Devils falling into a scoring drought with Clemson, the Blue Devils still held an 18-point lead going into the final 10 minute of the contest, 46-28.
After a quiet third period, Greenwell got going again as the Tigers could not find a way to stop her. She knocked down shot after shot, bringing her game total to 21 points by the conclusion of the contest.
Alongside Greenwell carrying the offense, the Blue Devils maintained a defense heavy strategy for the remainder of the quarter, with Chidom stealing the ball and taking it down the court for a lay-up late. At the end of the night, Duke had come away with 13 steals, as compared to Clemson’s seven.
The final four minutes of the competition came to a halt for both teams, as neither connected on a field goal. Regardless of both teams struggling to connect from the field, the Blue Devils reigned supreme with a 65-37 win, continuing their 12 game winning streak at home in the Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Up next, the Blue Devils will travel to face Virginia on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST. The Tigers will face North Carolina at home on Sunday at 2 p.m. EST.