Duke stays perfect with Harding's 21

Associated Press
Duke's Alison Bales gets tangled up with Virginia's Abbey Robertson (left) and Monica Wright during the Blue Devils' win.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Lindsey Harding scored 21 points and No. 1 Duke kept rolling toward a showdown with No. 2 North Carolina next week by withstanding a challenge from Virginia in the second half of a 76-61 victory Friday night.


Alison Bales added 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Blue Devils (23-0, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who are off to the best start in program history and won their 68th game in a row against unranked foes. It was their 12th consecutive victory against the Cavaliers.

Lyndra Littles scored a career-high 28 for Virginia (12-10, 2-6), which closed to 63-56 with 3:57 left. The Cavaliers got no closer and lost their fifth league game in a row, one shy of the program record they set last season.

Duke plays at home Monday against Clemson before going to Chapel Hill, N.C., to play the archrival Tar Heels (24-0) Thursday night.

The Cavaliers made a run early in the second half with Littles scoring twice and Siedah Williams getting her first basket to make it 46-38 with 15 minutes left.

But with the crowd trying to spur the Cavaliers on, they instead turned the ball over without a shot on three consecutive possessions and Duke rebuilt its lead. Abby Waner hit a 3-pointer, Harding scored on a drive and Bales capped the 7-0 burst.

That made it 53-38, and while Virginia got it back under seven with just under 4 minutes to play, the Blue Devils settled down, converted their chances and held on.

Wanisha Smith added 13 points and Waner 12 for the Blue Devils.

Monica Wright had 12 points for Virginia before fouling out.

The Blue Devils used a 16-4 run to open a 22-10 lead and never let the Cavaliers closer than nine before halftime. Waner's 18-footer at the buzzer made it 42-31.