ATLANTA -- Duke center Elizabeth Williams seems to come alive against Georgia Tech.
On Sunday she posted her third career double-double against the Yellow Jackets and the No. 3 Blue Devils prevailed 64-47 in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Williams was 8-for-10 from the field, including 6-for-6 in the first half, as the Blue Devils (14-1, 1-0 ACC) defeated Georgia Tech for the 36th consecutive time. It was the second consecutive double-double for Williams, who also extended her streak of consecutive games with a blocked shot to 84.
"I was really excited to get started in ACC play," said Williams, who is averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds in three games against Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech coach Machelle Joseph knew it wouldn't be easy to contain Williams.
"She's so agile and nimble for someone her size," Joseph said. "And she works hard on both ends of the court. There's no question she's one of the elite players in the league."
Duke also got a double-double from Haley Peters, who had 11 points and 15 rebounds. Tricia Liston added 16 points, 11 in the second half, and point guard Chelsea Gray had nine points and nine assists.
Georgia Tech (10-4, 0-1), which hasn't beaten Duke since 1995, was led by Tyaunna Marshall's 18 points and season-high 15 rebounds. Marshall passed Karen Lounsbury (1989-92) moved into second place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,744 points. She was the only Georgia Tech player in double figures.
"This was a great defensive effort for us," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "We had everything to do with their shots being missed because of the timing of the shots and where they came from.
"We're working toward a 40-minute game. The whole thing is to push through and keep that grit and fight regardless of the score, to keep charging forward."
Duke took command midway in the first half when Williams scored on a layup with 6:51 remaining to cap a 19-7 run and give the Devils a 26-14 lead. Georgia Tech shot only 21.6 percent (8-of-37) in the first half and Duke held a 34-20 lead at halftime.
"They did a good job making us take the tough shot with a hand in our face," Joseph said.
Georgia Tech tried to mount a comeback in the second half. The Yellow Jackets trailed by 19 points with 13:45 and outscored the Blue Devils 13-0 over the next 5:04. Georgia Tech cut the lead to 49-43 on a putback by Katarina Vuckovic with 9:03 left, but failed to score for four minutes, allowing Duke to quickly regain a double-digit lead.
"We missed a lot of layups and free throws," Joseph said. "You've got to make every layup and free throw against a team like Duke."
Duke built its lead on poor floor play by Georgia Tech. The Blue Devils score 11 points off turnovers in the first half and wound up with 18 points off 20 turnovers. Georgia Tech shot only 26 percent from the field and made only 1 of its 17 3-point attempts. Duke shot 39.7 percent from the floor and was outrebounded (51-47) for only the third time this season.
"I'm proud of our team's defensive effort," Joseph said. "I'm just disappointed we didn't make more shots."
Duke's experience definitely showed. The Blue Devils have played five ranked teams and won four of those games, while Georgia Tech had eight sophomores and freshman. Georgia Tech freshman Kaela Davis, who entered the game averaging 18.5 points, had just seven points. She was 2-for-14 from the floor, missing eight of her nine 3-point attempts.
"We knew she could shoot the ball," Williams said. "But we also knew she was a freshman playing her first ACC game. We tried to call her name and get in her head a little bit."
Duke plays next at Syracuse on Thursday. Georgia Tech is at Clemson on Wednesday.
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