- Associated Press - Thursday, December 19, 2019

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Dawn Staley sees a lot in common between her college team in Virginia and her current group at South Carolina.

Both lock in on defense, each has multiple ways to score - and now the two programs have 40-plus point wins over Duke.

Zia Cooke and LeLe Grissett had 12 points each and No. 5 South Carolina took control in the second quarter in an 89-46 victory over Duke on Thursday night.

That was the largest margin of defeat for the Blue Devils (7-4) since Staley’s Cavaliers had a 93-48 win over Duke during Staley’s senior season in 1992.

“It’s very similar. I just hope it doesn’t end the same way,” Staley said with a smile, remembering her team’s 66-65 loss to eventual national champ Stanford in the Final Four.



The Gamecocks (11-1) could go quite far if they keep playing like this.

They forced 30 turnovers off 15 steals. They held Duke to 30.9 percent (17 of 55) shooting and Haley Gorecki finished with four points, 14 fewer than her average.

“Our defense is what got us going,” said Cooke, a freshman.

Tyasha Harris added 11 points for South Carolina while Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, Aliyah Boston and Brea Beal had 10 points apiece.

For Duke (7-4), it was the most lopsided loss in coach Joanne P. McCallie’s 12 seasons.

After a ragged first quarter, South Carolina got locked in defensively to take control.

Duke went 1 of 8 from the field and had 10 of its 15 first-half turnovers in the second quarter. Laeticia Amihere got a 13-4 run started with a putback bucket before Grissett followed with a steal and a basket.

Grissett added a block and then a three-point play. Amihere had another bucket and when Victaria Saxton hit an inside shot, the Gamecocks were up 31-18 and cruising.

Grissett finished a perfect performance, going 4 of 4 from the field and hitting her four foul shots.

The Blue Devils looked ready to hang with South Carolina, trailing just 16-14 after the first 10 minutes. But things fell apart the rest of the half was Duke could not find good looks or hold onto the basketball.

Miela Goodchild had 11 points to lead the Blue Devils.

Duke’s Kyra Lambert thought that when her team began playing more like individuals instead of a team, “our turnovers went through the roof,” she said.

THE BIG PICTURE

Duke: This is not a good stretch for the Blue Devils, who finished with 30 turnovers at South Carolina. They’ve committed 55 miscues in their last two games.

South Carolina: When the Gamecocks are playing this kind of defense, they’re hard to stop. South Carolina picked up 15 steals and held Duke to under 31 percent shooting from the floor.

PERFECT NIGHT

Grissett didn’t miss a shot against Duke - and also wasn’t aware of that. She made all four of her shots from the field and went 4-of-4 from the foul line. When it was pointed out, she looked at that stat sheet for comfirmation. “That’s 100 percent,” she said with a grin.

“That’s pretty cool,” her teammate, Cooke, added.

STUFFED ANIMAL TOSS

Staley had asked fans to bring a stuffed toy to throw onto the court at halftime with the various plush animals getting collected and donated to charities in the Columbia and Durham, North Carolina regions for the holidays. The effort collected 2,046 toys of all varieties.

UP NEXT

Duke: At Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 29.

South Carolina: Hosts No. 25 South Dakota on Sunday.

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