Clemson hangs tough in loss to No. 4 Duke women
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Itoro Coleman knows all too well you can't win games in the Atlantic Coast Conference with the mistakes her team made against No. 4 Duke.
Tricia Liston came off the bench to score 22 points and the Blue Devils bounced back from a blowout loss earlier in the week with their 17th straight victory over Clemson, 60-46, on Thursday night.
Coleman was a star guard with the Lady Tigers who helped them to a pair of ACC championships in 1996 and 1999. She's trying to build a similarly strong team as coach, yet watched her players commit 31 turnovers and give up 21 steals in the latest loss to Duke.
Clemson held a 26-23 with about 11 minutes left, but Duke toughened up with the game on the line during a 26-9 run to take control.
"I think that was the tale of the game," Coleman said. "We take care of the ball, we get more possessions at the basket and who knows."
Instead, Coleman heads back to the chalk board. The Lady Tigers won their first ACC game of the season last time out at Wake Forest and had hoped to build on that effort against Duke.
Coleman liked what she saw most of the way and sees her players closing in on learning how to close out such upset chances.
"We need to recognize that when we play these teams, the margin of error is very slim," she said. "So the little things matter. We need to grow from this."
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie thinks her players will grow from this victory, too.
Liston led a second-half rally as Duke (17-1, 7-0) bounced back from a 79-49 loss at No. 3 Connecticut on Monday night.
Liston said the illness wasn't serious and she wasn't going to let it slow her down at Littlejohn Coliseum.
"I think I was just focused on coming in and being aggressive," Liston said. "Trying to impact and bring more energy from the bench."
Liston did that, especially in the second half when she scored 14 of her points and led a 26-9 run midway through the final period that gave Duke control for good.
McCallie acknowledged this group took a little bit longer than others she's coached to get past what happened at Connecticut earlier in the week. The Blue Devils had been the last remaining undefeated team — men's or women's — in Division I and had hoped to make a statement against the powerhouse Huskies.
Instead, Duke fell apart in the second half, outscored 47-19 and eager to get back to playing the kind of basketball it had much of this season. There were plenty of glaring problems in this one for the Blue Devils.
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