PHILADELPHIA -- Coming off a long layoff, Duke coach Joanne
P. McCallie wanted to challenge her team before starting conference
play, so she scheduled a game at Temple.
After running out to a 17-point halftime lead, the Blue
Devils (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) had to hold off the Owls in a 65-54 victory on Friday night.
"Playing them was by design, a lot of people play lesser teams
coming back from Christmas," McCallie said. "We had one full
practice as a team since the holiday."
Duke (9-2) wasn't together much before the holiday either,
playing just twice in the last 19 days. The Blue Devils showed no
early rust against Temple, jumping out to a 17-point halftime lead
before allowing the Owls to climb back in the game.
"We were excited to play, when we go through a long streak of
practice," said Duke guard Tricia Liston, who led the Blue Devils
with 20 points. "We were ready to have a game, ready for the ACC.
We were excited to play more than anything else."
Trailing 37-20, Temple rallied behind Brittany Lewis to get
within five. After Elizabeth Williams scored two baskets to make it
57-47 with 5:01 left, Lewis answered with consecutive layups to
make it a six-point game again with 2:11 left.
Chelsea Gray just beat the shot clock with a jumper from the top
of the key that bounced off the front of the rim and in to make it
59-51 and Temple could only get within five the rest of the way.
"I really like our punch at the end,"
McCallie said. "We did a great job in the first half dictating,
you want to keep up that kind of game. We didn't tackle it in the
first five minutes in the second half as we would have liked, but I
loved our team's resolve. We learned a great lesson in making stops
and taking over the game at a critical time."
The game saw the return of Blue Devils senior Shay Selby, who
had been suspended the previous five games by McCallie for
violating team rules. Though Selby was back, she didn't play and
the Blue Devils were without Chloe Wells. The sophomore guard, who
was averaging 10.4 points, will be out indefinitely while resolving
an academic matter, according to the school.
"For Shay, I thought our team showed great leadership in that
process of having Shay back. It was their decision made jointly
with me," McCallie said. "We welcome Shay back. Chloe, I don't
feel comfortable right now about it on the record. There's a
process there that we need to respect."
Lewis and Shey Peddy scored 13 each to lead Temple (5-7).
"It's another disappointing loss," Temple coach Tonya Cardoza
said. "We dug ourselves in a hole, we were a little intimidated
and in the second half we played how I thought we would. We made it
a game and ran out of gas and didn't take advantage of them. We
only had 21 rebounds in the game. You can't win games like that."
With the game tied 4-4, Duke scored 14 of the next 17 points,
including two 3-pointers by Liston. Kathleen Scheer's putback made
it 18-7 with 10:10 left in the first half. Temple cut its deficit
to 26-18 with 4:36 left before Duke scored the next 11 points to
take control of the game.
Williams had five points during the spurt, including finishing
off a fastbreak with a lay-in after Gray had stopped a 3-on-1 break
on the other end. The Blue Devils led 37-20 at the half.
Temple scored the first six points of the second half and after
Liston hit back-to-back baskets to restore a 15-point lead, the
Owls went on a 15-8 run behind Lewis. The junior forward started
the spurt with a jump hook in the lane then added a three-point
play that made it 45-35. Kristen McCauley's lay-in capped the burst
and cut Temple's deficit to 51-45 with 7:17 left.
Williams finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, while Gray
had 12 points and seven assists.
The Blue Devils will open Atlantic Coast Conference play Monday
night at home against Virginia, which is coached by Duke grad and
former assistant coach Joanne Boyle.
The loss capped a five-game homestand for the Owls, who will
travel to Western Michigan on Monday before opening Atlantic 10
play against Richmond on Jan. 7.
"It doesn't matter that the competition now isn't Top 25,"
Cardoza said. "If we don't do it against guys in our conference,
we're going to lose games too."
This was the seventh meeting between the schools, with Duke
having won all of them. It was also the Blue Devils' third straight
season playing in Philadelphia. They beat Temple two years ago and
then lost to Connecticut in the NCAA tournament East regional final