The night began with the Blue Devils on the ropes early in the first quarter. Then, graduate student Rebecca Greenwell connected on a 3-pointer to bring Duke within three points. What ensued was a 16-0 run, headlined by classmate Lexie Brown.

But that run that helped pull away from the Eagles was not what most fans will remember about Thursday's game. Nor will fans think about the 25-point win at home after a loss to North Carolina only four days prior. The 3,405 fans in attendance will remember what occurred with just more than two minutes remaining in the first half.

Up 17 with 2:31 remaining in the second quarter, Blue Devil head coach Joanne P. McCallie turned to the bench and decided that the time was right for Sofia Roma’s debut in a Duke uniform. The season and a half wait was over for the redshirt junior, who had to sit out last season per NCAA transfer rules. Roma did not see playing time in the first 20 games of the season.

When the clock hit 2:17, Roma entered the game to the second-loudest applause of the night and to the delight of her teammates. From the second she stepped on the floor, the Richmond Hill, N.Y., native made an impact. In McCallie's 2-3 zone defense, Roma was situated on the side closest to her teammates on the bench. The Wagner transfer grabbed a weak side rebound with no one near her on her first possession.

“It was fun to see the bench," McCallie said. "I didn’t know how the bench would react at all, so it was fun to see the bench be so excited and for her to hit her first shot, her first attempt. That was great.”

That first shot came on the other end of the floor. With only five ticks remaining on the shot clock, Roma set an off-ball screen for freshman Jayda Adams. But Roma ended up with the ball and hit a deep 2-pointer to extend the Duke lead to 20 and elicit the biggest roar of the night from the fans.

“It was awesome. We were so proud of her. She did great while she was out there,” Greenwell said. “She just brings energy to everyone off the court, on the court in practice, so to see her out there, to see her have so much fun and do so well, it really meant a lot to us.”

Back on the defensive end, Roma added a steal to her statline as the stingy defense led to a fast break opportunity for Greenwell, who was fouled on the way up.

At Wagner, Roma averaged 10.0 rebounds and 5.7 points per game as a sophomore in 2015-16. Although her role is different from the one she maintained in her previous stop, Roma did not disappoint on the boards. In only eight minutes on the floor, she grabbed four rebounds, including one on the offensive glass. She did not score after her lone bucket and did miss two free throws.

Unfortunately for the fan favorite, the cheering may not come often. McCallie said she will likely resort back to a seven- or eight-player rotation when the outcome of a game is still in the balance.

“It doesn’t happen all the time. It’s created by everyone playing their role. Lexie getting us started off and being aggressive and doing what she did, it’s all inter-related. If we’re playing hard and playing well together, we’re building on what we’re doing and we can incorporate more people," McCallie said. "You can’t always play 12 people in a game, but in this game, it worked out and I was glad to have everyone kind of get a feel.”

After the much-anticipated debut, Roma could see action again Sunday afternoon as the team travels to Pittsburgh. Like Boston College, the Panthers only have one conference win and are three games under .500 on the season.

Whenever Roma steps onto the court again, she will bring the intangibles and effort to propel Duke forward as the regular season comes to a close in a month.

“She’s one of those neat kinds of players who understands team philosophy, and she’s not afraid to share it and show it. She’s got that heart and I think she’s worked very hard to get back,” McCallie said. “It’s been a really long road for her and I think that what we all appreciate from her is that she’s very team focused and she’s very heart-centered, so she gives a lot.”