RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Celeste Taylor helped Duke to its most significant victory in coach Kara Lawson’s three seasons.
Taylor scored 23 points, including a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, and the Blue Devils beat No. 6 North Carolina State 72-58 on Thursday night.
“We kept our composure when they went on runs,” Lawson said. “We just stayed focused and stayed locked in and didn’t allow the emotions of the game to take over our execution.”
Elizabeth Balogun had 16 points for the Blue Devils. Shayeann Day-Wilson and Kennedy Brown each scored 10 points.
Duke (12-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) went 9 for 14 on 3-pointers in its seventh straight victory. Reigan Richardson’s 3 stretched the lead to 66-56.
“To see it all work out for us is pretty good,” Taylor said. “Conference play starts and you have to get after it. You have to fight harder.”
N.C. State had won 19 straight ACC games at Reynolds Coliseum. The last conference school to win on the Wolfpack’s court was Duke on Feb. 24, 2020.
Saniya Rivers had 17 points for N.C. State (11-2, 1-1), which had won seven straight games this season. Jakia Brown-Turner scored 12 points and Aziaha James had 10.
“They came in here and just, in simple terms, kicked our butts,” N.C. State coach Wes Moore said. “They took us out of anything we wanted to do offensively. ... Duke just came in here and took it.”
N.C. State trimmed Duke’s 14-point lead to 50-44 by the end of the third quarter.
Taylor’s 3 pushed the Blue Devils in front 59-50 near the midway mark of the fourth. She was 5 of 6 on 3s and had a game-high eight rebounds.
Duke finished 15 for 15 on free throws, including 10 attempts in the fourth quarter.
“You’ve got to get those free ones,” Lawson said.
Duke outscored North Carolina State 24-4 across the final seven minutes of the first half for a 35-23 edge. The Blue Devils were 6 for 9 in the first half on 3-pointers.
“We had a chance to guard them,” Moore said. “It wasn’t like we were playing ‘Horse.’”
N.C. State used a 13-0 stretch spanning the first and second quarters for a 19-10 lead.
Duke: The Blue Devils overcame early shooting woes and had the Wolfpack’s defense off balance by the end because of their perimeter shooting. The Blue Devils were rarely rattled despite a difficult road atmosphere, improving to 5-0 in true road games this season.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack had spans when the offense didn’t flow well and that was costly when trying to keep up with Duke’s timely shooting. N.C. State’s 18 turnovers also prevented a comeback and the full-court press didn’t do much to disrupt the Blue Devils. The Wolfpack managed only five assists.
N.C. State played its third full game in a row without scoring leader Diamond Johnson (13.9 points per game), who sustained an ankle injury Dec. 11 vs. South Florida. ... Duke also beat a top-10 N.C. State team on the road in February 2020 for its last win against the Wolfpack. ... The lone losses for both teams this season entering the game came against Connecticut.
Duke: Hosts Louisville on Sunday.
N.C. State: Sunday at Syracuse.