SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — When Syracuse hit four 3-pointers in the first few minutes against Duke and gained a seven-point lead, the third-ranked Blue Devils weren't fazed.
"Sometimes teams will do that," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "They'll come out real hot, but it's a long game. You've got to keep your composure. I got real mad about it, though."
So did the Blue Devils, who demonstrated why they're one of the top teams in the nation.
Tricia Liston had 20 points and eight rebounds to lead six players in double figures as Duke beat Syracuse 86-53 on Thursday night, spoiling the Orange's first home game in the Atlantic Coast Conference
Duke (15-1, 2-0) has beaten four ranked opponents this season— California, Purdue, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. Syracuse (11-4, 0-2), ranked as high as 20th this season, dropped out of the poll this week after consecutive losses to No. 23 Arizona State and North Carolina State, now ranked No. 20.
The highest-ranked team a Syracuse women's squad has beaten was No. 2 Connecticut, 62-59 in January 1996, long before Orange coach Quentin Hillsman took over. He was dismayed the Orange didn't nab another big win.
"They did a phenomenal job tonight of being who they are, an elite program and No. 3 in the country," said Hillsman, in his eighth season. "We've got to find a way when we have a chance to play great teams to play hard, be competitive and win these basketball games. Games like this are program-changing wins. We had a big opportunity tonight and we didn't take advantage of it. It's my responsibility. It's all on me."
Elizabeth Williams added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Duke, which has only lost to top-ranked UConn 83-61 in December.
Alexis Jones had 13 points and seven assists for the Blue Devils. Williams blocked four shots, extending her streak of at least one block in 85 straight games.
Brianna Butler led Syracuse with 14 points, going 4 of 12 on 3-pointers. Shakeya Leary had eight points and 11 rebounds. But La'Shay Taft, who entered the game with 21 3-pointers on the season, finished 1 of 13 from behind the arc as the Orange went 8 of 38 (21.1 percent) for the game.
"The players just adjusted a little bit," McCallie said.
Syracuse was holding opponents to 29.9 percent shooting on 3s, but the Blue Devils hit 4 of 6 in the opening half and finished 6 of 12.