Duke defense leads the way minus Waner, Smith

New head coach Joanne P. McCallie got her career at Cameron Indoor Stadium off to a good start.

After opening her Duke tenure with a pair of road wins, "Coach P" notched a victory in the home opener Sunday afternoon as her No. 10 Blue Devils defeated an overmatched UNC Greensboro squad 84-39.

"It's just a great atmosphere, I love the enthusiasm of the crowd," McCallie said of her first regular season game at Cameron. "It didn't feel like a first game because of the other exhibitions, but it feels kind of natural and very exciting."

Duke (3-0) struggled on the offensive end of the court in the opening minutes and held a modest 10-7 lead over the Spartans (0-3) with 12:18 on the clock. The Blue Devils then went on a 10-0 run and headed into the locker room with a commanding 28-point advantage, sending the crowd of 5,534 that came to see McCallie's Cameron debut into a frenzy.

In the second half, Duke continued to pull away from the Spartans. The Blue Devils' fast-paced play proved to be too much for UNC-G as McCallie's team scored 44 points off turnovers compared to just two for the Spartans.

"It was a little bit of a slow tempo, so we started pressing and running, and it opened things up for our team," McCallie said. "The tempo of the game wasn't for us [in the opening minutes]. We've got to be able to dictate the tempo regardless of how anybody plays against us."

Freshman Krystal Thomas led the way for Duke, scoring 12 points and pulling down seven rebounds in the first half and finishing the game with a team-best 20 points and 10 rebounds. Thomas' neighbor in the post, center Chante Black, was 5-for-9 from the field and 7-for-8 from the charity stripe to finish the game with 17 points.

"Being a freshman is just about learning," Thomas said. "In each game, it's about getting better and better and, as the season goes on, just learning and understanding the game more at this higher intensity level. It's just about the opponents to come-it's not so much about what we did tonight, but it's about applying that to the greater games and the greater opponents throughout the season."

With experienced guards Abby Waner and Wanisha Smith sidelined by injuries, sophomore Keturah Jackson got her second start of the season and notched two assists and two of the team's school-record 28 steals.

Waner injured her ankle in practice and Smith suffered a small fracture in her wrist in the Blue Devils' win over South Florida. McCallie said both players are listed as day-to-day and will possibly be available for the team's game Thursday against Purdue in the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.

Even without two of their best players, the Blue Devils showed off their incredible depth Sunday. McCallie used a total of 10 players in the contest, and all 10 recorded at least one point, rebound and steal.

Sophomore Brittany Mitch and senior Emily Waner ran the point for Duke for much of the game. Waner dished out a career-high seven assists and was 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Mitch set career highs in steals with seven and points with 11.

"To lose two scorers like Wanisha and Abby and still come up with 84 points is pretty good," McCallie said. "At no point can it ever stop-even as we add in Wanisha and Abby back, we need to continue to throttle forward and know what everyone can do and how people can contribute."

Charlie Ogburn and James McMahon contributed to this story.


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