Women's basketball team steps up effort in 2nd win

The Blue Devils that stepped on to the court to face Marist Friday night were not the same squad that came to play against Houston Sunday afternoon in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

After a sluggish 71-50 win over the Red Foxes-with an effort head coach Gail Goestenkors said was "disappointing"-No. 6Duke came out with more passion and energy in its 81-35 drubbing of the Lady Cougars.

"I was more pleased with our effort," Goestenkors said. "The energy was better today."

Against Marist, the Blue Devils (3-0) looked impatient offensively and slow defensively, allowing the Red Foxes (1-1) to hang around until midway through the second half.

Against Houston, though, the Blue Devils got ahead early and never let their opponent creep back into the game.

Duke raced out to 7-0 lead within the first three minutes against Houston and kept up the offensive intensity throughout the half. Another 7-0 run concluding with Bridgette Mitchell's layup with six minutes left in the first half put the Blue Devils up 26-6. Soon after, Duke buried the Lady Cougars with a 9-0 run over a minute and a half on consecutive three pointers by Abby Waner, Wanisha Smith and Waner again, ballooning the lead to 26.

Unlike the Marist game, the defense did not let up. Houston could not reach double figures until there was 4:17 left in the first half, and the Cougars shot less than 24 percent from the field. The Blue Devils forced 24 turnovers and converted them into 29 points.

The amount of energy Duke played with on defense was especially evident in the second half. With 2:40 left in the game and the outcome a foregone conclusion, the Cougars looked to convert an easy two-on-one fast break. Out of nowhere, Brittany Mitch ran the length of the court, partially blocked the layup and sent Houston's Maya Onikute catapulting out of bounds with the ball.

Another freshman, Mitchell, a forward, stood out with 16 points and 12 rebounds in the game. On Friday, sophomore forward Carrem Gay recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in her second collegiate start.

Despite the two victories, Duke knows it has a lot to work on, especially offensively. The Blue Devils turned the ball over a total of 32 times this weekend and missed several easy chances near the basket.

"We're getting good looks-we just need to put them down," Goestenkors said. "It's a process, though, because this is a young and new team."

Nevertheless, Duke played more actively in its second game of the weekend. Houston, which only came to Cameron with eight players, was quickly overwhelmed by the Blue Devils' depth and athleticism.

"We have no excuses at all," Houston head coach Joe Curl said. "They were bigger, stronger and faster."


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