Women win in Texas-sized fashion

In each of Duke's first eight games-in which they outscored their opponents by an average of nearly 40 points per game-the Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.

Two minutes into the game Sunday afternoon in Cameron Indoor Stadium, they found themselves in unfamiliar territory.

But a dismal shooting performance and an early 7-0 deficit did not stop No. 4 Duke (9-0) from cruising to a 28-point victory over No. 22 Texas (7-2), defeating the visiting Longhorns in a 80-52 blowout.

"Duke is really good," Texas head coach Jody Conradt said. "Even though we jumped out early and did some really positive things, they just kept on doing what they do. They were relentless on both ends of the floor."

After Texas' early run, the Blue Devils responded with three baskets of their own to tie the game at seven. The lead alternated until a pair of Alison Bales free throws put Duke ahead 17-15, giving it an advantage that the Blue Devils would never relinquish.

Bales' two points marked the beginning of a 23-12 Duke run in the half's final eight minutes. The Blue Devils' pressure defense forced Texas to turn over the ball, creating easy transition scoring opportunities.

"Our defense really sustained us through a tough shooting night," Goestenkors said. "It obviously wasn't one of our better shooting nights, but I thought we did a great job creating some points by getting to the free throw line. "

The strong Duke performance in the first half was keyed by the efforts of junior guard Wanisha Smith, who scored 11 of her season-high 18 points in the period. When Smith could not get to the hoop, she was able to earn trips to the free-throw line, where she was 7-for-10.

"I wanted to attack the basket, but I knew from previous games that they probably were scouting that and said I would be out of control, so I was trying to be under control when I was going to the hoop," Smith said. "I was just lucky enough to find openings in the defense and get to the free throw line."

Smith was not alone in her penchant for getting to the charity stripe, as Duke's 30 free throw attempts helped the team cement its lead despite going 27-for-70 from the floor and 3-for-13 from three-point range. In particular, Duke's starting guard trio of Smith, Abby Waner and Lindsey Harding was successful in penetrating when the shots were not falling. The three accounted for 45 of Duke's points.

"Their guards scored 50 points and that tells you that they were taking it to us aggressively," Conradt said. "Dribble penetration with a team as good as Duke is going to be hard for anyone to contend with."

The win over Texas marked Duke's third consecutive victory over a ranked opponent, joining their previous wins over No. 19 Rutgers and No. 11 Vanderbilt. With the Blue Devils winning these three games by an average margin of just less than 30 points, Goestenkors said that she is very pleased with her team's performance headed into ACC play.

"I think the team has proven over this little three-game stretch that they're able to get good teams down and keep them down," Goestenkors said. "We've seen a lot of different things, and I think we've responded to everything we've seen."


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