BLACKSBURG, Va. – Allison Vernerey had 15 points and seven rebounds Sunday and No. 3 Duke cruised past Virginia Tech for the 14th consecutive time, 57-43.
The Blue Devils (17-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), coming off three consecutive victories against ranked teams, used an early 16-2 run to open a 20-6 lead. Jasmine Thomas started it with a foul line jumper and added a 3-pointer, and Tricia Liston also scored five.
Duke led 34-21 at halftime, but missed its first eight shots after halftime while Virginia Tech (9-9, 0-4) scored six straight points to get within seven. Thomas ended the dry spell with a 15-footer, sparking a 9-0 run, and the Hokies never got closer than 10 again.
Shanel Harrison led the Hokies with 10 points.
The Blue Devils remained one of two unbeaten teams left in Division I, along with Florida Gulf Coast.
Other than Jasmine Thomas, Duke coach Joanne McCallie rested her best players for much of the second half, opting to allow her younger players to gain experience in conference play.
Liston added 13 points and Thomas had 12 for Duke, which used 11 players.
After Thomas' jumper got them on the scoreboard after halftime, Liston hit a pair of free throws, fellow freshman Haley Peters scored inside and Liston hit a 3-pointer, capping the 9-0 run that gave Duke a 43-27 advantage. The Hokies closed to 45-35 on Harrison's 3 from the top of the key with 9:20 left, but Vernerey scored inside and the Blue Devils pulled away.
The victory continued the best start to a season in McCallie's 19 years as a head coach, including the last four with the Blue Devils. The Hokies have lost five straight.