McBride, No. 2 Notre Dame women claim 1st place in ACC by routing No. 3 Duke 88-67

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By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer

The Associated Press
Notre Dame's Natalie Achonwa (11) and Duke's Oderah Chidom chase the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Kayla McBride had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 2 Notre Dame remained unbeaten by routing No. 3 Duke 88-67 on Sunday, the Blue Devils' first ACC loss at home since 2008.

Jewell Loyd scored 17 points and Lindsay Allen and Natalie Achonwa had 15 apiece for the Fighting Irish (21-0, 8-0), who made it look easy in their first visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium as ACC members.

They never trailed, shot nearly 62 percent, held Duke to 39 percent shooting and turned the realigned conference's anticipated game of the year into yet another blowout.

They claimed sole possession of first place by bringing a decisive end to the Blue Devils' 42-game winning streak in home conference games.

Tricia Liston scored 23 points and single-handedly prevented Duke (21-2, 8-1) from being blown out by halftime.

Notre Dame became the first ACC team to beat the Blue Devils at Cameron since Maryland did it in seventh-year coach Joanne P. McCallie's first season.

The Blue Devils threatened to get back in the game early in the second half, pulling to 49-44 on Richa Jackson's putback with 15½ minutes left.

That's when Notre Dame got hot, scoring on six straight trips downcourt.

With Loyd hitting twice from close range and Michaela Mabrey making two outside jumpers, the Irish reeled off nine straight points during a 13-2 run.

Achonwa's free throw with 12:18 left gave Notre Dame its largest lead to that point, 62-46.

In winning this rematch of a 2013 NCAA tournament regional final, they extended their school-record road winning streak to 31 and joined No. 1 Connecticut as the only teams to beat the Blue Devils at Cameron since 2008.

Jackson and Alexis Jones added 16 points each for Duke, which fell to 46-3 in home conference games under McCallie and have lost 11 straight games to teams ranked either No. 1 or No. 2.

Center Elizabeth Williams, plagued all day by foul trouble, finished with two points on 0-for-4 shooting and failed to block a shot — ending her ACC-record streak of 91 straight games with at least one rejection.

This marquee matchup in the new-look ACC matched the nation's top two shooting teams and the highest-scoring teams in the conference. Notre Dame entered shooting 51.4 percent and averaging 87.3 points while Duke shoots 51.1 percent and scores 84.4 points per game.

The Irish continued to shoot that well in this one.

The Blue Devils didn't.

McBride had 14 points by halftime, and Notre Dame led by 14 in the first half after forcing Duke to miss 19 of its first 29 shots and reeling off 11 straight points to push its lead into double figures for the first time.

Allen capped that burst with a layup that made it 37-23 with just under 5 minutes before the break.

Liston hit six shots in the half — or, one fewer than the rest of her teammates combined.

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