DURHAM, N.C. -- Minus Chelsea Gray, No. 5 Duke came out scrapping -- with its opponent, and with each other.
Playing their first game since the Atlantic Coast Conference leader in assists and steals sustained a season-ending knee injury, the Blue Devils pulled away in the second half to beat No. 19 Florida State 61-50 Friday night.
The victory was punctuated by a shouting match on the Duke bench between coach Joanne P. McCallie and forward Haley Peters.
"The kids on the floor really missed a show," McCallie said. "The kids on the bench at the time were like, 'Whoa.' But that's what it's like. These games are intense and a lot of conflict."
Elizabeth Williams had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Duke used a 26-4 run to take control.
"It was a nice battle for our team," McCallie said. "We certainly can play a lot better. But I loved our grit and I loved our fight."
Chloe Wells added 15 points off the bench for Duke (25-1, 15-0). The Blue Devils won their 37th consecutive home game against ACC competition.
"When Chelsea went down, that was a big blow for us," Wells said. "We were pressing in the beginning, and I knew that. So I just tried to come in and settle down and just play our game."
Gray was hurt at Wake Forest on Sunday. The Blue Devils had 22 turnovers and shot just 34 percent without her.
Gray's absence, along with several missed layups, contributed to a slow start for the Blue Devils that left McCallie and Peters arguing during the first half.
Peters was pulled after back-to-back turnovers, and she and McCallie had an animated conversation as play continued. Right after, Gray moved from her seat on the bench so that she could sit next to Peters.
Peters finished 2 of 11 from the floor, but grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds.
"But Haley is a pretty special cat. I don't know too many people who would get 14 rebounds when offensively her game wasn't where she wanted it to be. That is one mean lady," McCallie said.
Duke trailed 24-20 early in the second half but took charge with its big run over the next 9 minutes.
Wells hit a jumper from the foul line to give the Blue Devils a 28-26 lead with 15:36 remaining, and they never trailed again.
Wells added a pair of 3-pointers, the second of which gave her team a 43-28 cushion.
Alexa Deluzio scored 16 points to lead Florida State (20-6, 10-5), which lost for the sixth straight time to Duke. Natasha Howard added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Seminoles.
Florida State, which had not scored fewer than 62 points in a game all season, shot a season-low 29 percent from the floor. The Seminoles also committed 21 turnovers, giving the ball away on five consecutive possessions during Duke's decisive spurt.
"Duke is known for their defensive pressure, and it's tough to go against," Deluzio said. "But I thought we handled it fine. We didn't make plays down the stretch in the last two minutes when we needed to."
The Blue Devils stretched their lead to as many as 20 points, going ahead 52-32 on a layup by Williams with 6:40 remaining.
The Seminoles responded with an 11-0 run to cut the margin to 52-43 with 3:30 to play, and they moved within 55-48 with 1:28 remaining. Tricia Liston, however, made a pair of free throws with 1:12 left to restore Duke's lead to 10 points.
Duke led 20-18 at halftime following a defensive struggle between two of the best offensive teams in the country.
The Seminoles and Blue Devils both entered in the nation's top 10 in scoring and field goal percentage, but they combined for 26 percent shooting and 25 turnovers in the first half.
"We were feeling each other out," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. "It was extremely physical. I don't know. It just happens sometimes. It doesn't make for a very pretty game when both teams are missing, but certainly it was an exciting game."
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