No. 7 Duke forces 32 turnovers, stomps Virginia Tech
DURHAM, N.C. -- Jasmine Thomas wanted her team to come out aggressively in the aftermath of a rare defeat.
She set the tone from the start, scoring a season-high 27 points to help No. 7 Duke beat Virginia Tech 90-40 Sunday.
Thomas was 10 for 16 from the field and made all five of her 3-point attempts for the Blue Devils (24-3, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who bounced back from a 69-47 loss at Maryland on Thursday.
"Having that time to practice, to let it settle in, to realize that your team is so much better than your last performance, you get so anxious for the next game," Thomas said. "That's what you see out of us after a loss. We need to be like that all the time."
Tricia Liston scored a career-high 19 points and Karima Christmas had 12 points as Duke picked up its 22nd consecutive home win.
Brittany Gordon scored 10 points to lead the Hokies (11-16, 1-11 ACC), who had a season-high 32 turnovers en route to their most lopsided loss of the season.
"They did exactly what we thought they would do," Virginia Tech coach Beth Dunkenberger said. "I'm probably most disappointed with our energy and our poise."
Duke led 45-19 at halftime, pulling away with a 22-0 spurt that spanned eight minutes.
Thomas made three 3-pointers during that stretch. She started and ended the run with 3s to give her team a 29-7 lead with eight minutes left in the half.
Virginia Tech missed all eight of its shots from the field and committed 10 of its 18 first-half turnovers during the drought.
The Hokies finally scored on a baseline jumper by Elizabeth Basham with 7:21 remaining in the half, beginning a stretch in which they produced points on five of six possessions. But Duke scored on five consecutive possessions during that time, preventing Virginia Tech from cutting into the lead.
The onslaught continued in the second half. Thomas, who had not reached 20 points since Jan. 14, scored Duke's first nine points of a 25-3 run that lasted the game's final 10 minutes. She departed with 5:19 remaining and the Blue Devils ahead 78-37.
"I told our team that they were leaving her out there to try to pad her stats, and she did just that," Dunkenberger said. "Really, we were trying to focus and key in on her because it was obvious that she was going to shoot every time she touched it. But again, when a good player is trying to get their points and we're struggling, she did exactly what she should do."
The Blue Devils beat Virginia Tech for the 15th consecutive time, a stretch that includes 13 double-digit victories.
The outcome of this one was decided shortly after Duke lost a key player. Starting guard Chelsea Gray, who sat out the Maryland loss with the flu, suffered a sprained left ankle when she fell to the floor on defense less than three minutes into the game.
With the assistance of two trainers, Gray hopped off the court on her right foot toward the Duke locker room. She returned to the bench on crutches early in the second half and did not re-enter the game.
"It's a bad sprain right now," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "We're just hopeful it stays in that category. She's still got to get it looked at further, but it appears that it's a bad sprain."
The Blue Devils outrebounded Virginia Tech 49-24, getting eight points and a career-high 17 rebounds from Krystal Thomas. She had as many offensive rebounds (10) as the Hokies.
"We got outrebounded tremendously last game," Krystal Thomas said. "It was important to come back and put on a dominating performance this game."
2022-23 Atlantic Coast Conference Standings