Clemson women lose 15th straight to No. 5 Duke 

Clemson coach Itoro Coleman doesn't expect to endure many more blowouts from No. 5 Duke.

In two seasons, the former Tiger standout guard has watched her program lose 92-37 and, on Friday night, 81-37. She swears better days are coming for Clemson women's basketball.

"We're not going to be this Clemson team forever," Coleman said. "I mean we have a lot of young kids on this team. We're in a unique situation where they're getting experience I don't think most kids around the world get."

The Tigers (5-13, 1-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) still have plenty to learn apparently after getting pounded by Duke (17-2, 8-0).

Clemson, trailing 25-22 with a little over five minutes left in the first half, were outscored 56-15 the rest of way. The Tigers couldn't score and couldn't stop the Blue Devils from scoring on the way to a 15th straight defeat in the series — all but one of Duke's wins coming by fewer than 10 points.

Coleman remembers when she was a freshman for stellar coach Jim Davis on a Clemson team that was a regular contender for ACC titles. She gained her experience in practice against other, older standouts for the Tigers. Coleman's teams won five times against Duke during her four years. The Tigers have won only once since Coleman, then Itoro Umoh, left.

Her players — Coleman starts three freshmen in Nikki Dixon, Chelsea Lindsay and Kelly Gramlich who each played 30 or more minutes — don't have the luxury of watching and waiting. "They're kind of learning on job and that's just the reality of our team," she said. "We've got to continue to grow."

There are signs of improvement. Earlier this month, Clemson defeated North Carolina 52-47 to break a nine-year, 53-game streak of losses to top 25 opponents.

Tricia Liston scored 16 points and Elizabeth Williams 14 to lead Duke.

The Blue Devils will put their 34-game home winning streak on the line Monday when they host No. 3 Connecticut. The Huskies were the last team to beat Duke at home two seasons ago.

Duke made sure most shots by the Tigers didn't go in. Clemson finished 14 of 51 from the floor for 27.5 percent shooting, its second poorest performance this season. The Blue Devils had 12 steals and nine blocks, five of them by Williams.

Clemson didn't have a field goal over the last 13 minutes and didn't have a point in the final eight as Duke won its 15th straight over the Tigers (5-13, 1-6) and 11th straight this season.

"When they work really, really hard to get certain things done, then you feel pretty good about what you're doing out there," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "I think that was exactly the case tonight."

Duke used a 15-2 run the last five minutes of the opening half to gain control and continued the surge after the break. It was the eighth straight game they've defeated Clemson by 24 points or more.

Williams, the 6-foot-3 freshman, said the Blue Devils' surge got the team going and possibly shook Clemson out of rhythm. "That's when we started playing our game," she said.

Quinyotta Pettaway had 12 points to lead the Tigers, who scored just 13 points in the second half.

Richa Jackson finished with 13 points and Haley Peters 12 for Duke, which finished 34 of 65 shooting from the field (52.7 percent) — the third straight game it shot 50 percent or better.

The Tigers succumbed to Duke's defense in the second half. They didn't hit a field goal in the final 13:09 of the game and didn't have a point the last 7:51.

Duke came in the only undefeated team in ACC play this season. Clemson, though, did what it could to make Littlejohn as crazy Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tigers called it "Pack The House" night, offering $1 tickets and giving away bobble-head dolls of second-year coach Itoro Coleman, who won five games against Duke when she was a star guard for the Tigers from 1996-1999.

Duke's only lost once to Clemson in the 13 seasons since.

Clemson's pep band and students wore red and yellow flashing glasses. Yet, as you might expect from a program that won its 300th game all-time in the ACC over No. 8 Maryland, the Blue Devils weren't fazed by any of it.

Duke, which had made more than 55 percent of its shots the previous two games, kept up the hot shooting against Clemson in the opening half. The Blue Devils finished the period 18 of 32 from floor (56.2 percent) and made seven of their final nine shots as they closed the half on 15-2 run and continually beat the Tigers back on defense for several easy layups.

Williams led the way for Duke on offense and defense. She made 5 of 7 shots for 11 points and added five blocks in the opening half, surpassing her average of 4.7 blocks per game during ACC play.

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