Vernerey leads No. 3 Duke past Iona, 100-31

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Associated Press

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 18 at 4:02 PM

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Allison Vernerey scored 20 of her career-high-tying 22 points in the first half of No. 3 Duke's 100-31 rout of Iona on Sunday.

Chelsea Gray had 18 points and Elizabeth Williams added 16 in limited duty for the Blue Devils (2-0).

They shot 48.7 percent, held Iona to 17 percent shooting and outscored the Gaels 53-13 during the final 16½ minutes of the first half while matching their second-most lopsided victory under sixth-year coach Joanne P. McCallie.

Joy Adams had 10 rebounds for Iona (2-2). The Gaels didn't have a double-figure scorer, were held to two field goals during an early 11½-minute stretch when it got out of hand, and fell to 0-13 against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.

The Blue Devils had a 56-37 rebounding advantage and had 26 assists on their 37 field goals.

Tricia Liston scored 12 points and Haley Peters had 11 for Duke, the last Top 25 team to start its season.

The Blue Devils didn't get started until Saturday night, when they thumped Presbyterian 84-45, and the quick turnaround didn't seem to affect them at all — since they claimed their most lopsided victory since an 89-point win over North Carolina Central in 2009.

They didn't need much from one of their stars. Williams, the ACC's reigning rookie and defensive player of the year, has been hampered by a stress fracture in her right leg since the NCAA tournament in March.

She played 18 minutes and didn't enter until the 11-minute mark of the first half — when the Blue Devils already were up by 16.

Forward Richa Jackson (knee), guard Chloe Wells (leg) and forward Amber Henson (knee) sat out for Duke.

Those three could afford to rest and heal, because Vernerey and Gray essentially ended this one well before halftime.

Vernerey hit nine of her first 10 shots — including eight in a row — and needed only 5 minutes to reach double figures.

The 6-foot-5 lefty regularly took pretty feeds from Gray and turned them into layups in the post, making them with both hands while facing little resistance from the smaller Gaels.

She matched the 22 points she scored in a 107-45 rout of UNC Wilmington last December — also the last time Duke hit triple digits.

Meanwhile, when she wasn't scoring, Gray put on quite a show with her passing — connecting on behind-the-back and blind over-the-shoulder passes to Vernerey and Williams. Gray finished the first half with seven assists.

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