Duke routs Wake Forest behind stingy defense

Seven minutes and 17 seconds into Sunday's game, Wake Forest hadn't scored. By the time the Demon Deacons posted their first points Sunday, Duke had already scored plenty.

The Blue Devils were able to keep the opponent off the scoreboard for the first 7:17 and capitalized by running out to a 12-0 lead. From then on, there was no salvation for the Demon Deacons, as No. 11 Duke cruised to a 71-36 victory in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Blue Devils (18-6, 7-2 in the ACC) put on their best statistical defensive performance of the year, allowing season-lows in points total and field-goal percentage, as Wake Forest shot just 22.8 percent from the field. The team's full-court press flustered the Demon Deacons (14-12, 1-10) throughout the game, resulting in 24 Wake Forest turnovers-the 17th time this season that Duke has forced 20 or more turnovers.

"The team worked hard and created a lot of intensity on [defense]," head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "We're trying to get better on when to trap, how hard to trap, where people need to be and also just trying to let go of traps when the opportunity doesn't exist."

Four players recorded three steals for the Blue Devils, who totaled 17 for the game. In one stretch in the second half, Duke had three steals in a 48-second span, forcing the Demon Deacons to call two timeouts because they were unable to inbound the ball. For the contest, Duke scored 16 points off turnovers, helping the team compensate for an otherwise subpar shooting night, particularly in the first half when the Blue Devils shot 32.4 percent from the floor.

Despite the shooting struggles, Duke had reason to celebrate in the opening session when junior Abby Waner reached the 1,000-point mark for her career. She became the 23rd player in school history to hit that milestone.

Even in a moment of great personal success, Waner was quick to defer the praise.

"Really, what it's about is the team, and we played a good game," Waner said. "It's an honor to be added to a list of players that have come through Duke and have gotten their 1,000th point. Again, it's just a number and the numbers that we're concerned with are wins and losses at this point."

And Waner's play continued to factor into the team's winning record. The guard chipped in 12 points for her third straight double-figure output, joining forwards Carrem Gay and Joy Cheek as the Blue Devils' three double-digit scorers.

The strong play of Waner and the frontcourt duo allowed Duke to overcome an off night from leading scorer Chante Black, who struggled throughout the game due to constant double and even triple-teams from the Wake Forest defense. Even though Black only accounted for four points, the Blue Devils still posted a 36-12 advantage in points in the paint, thanks to Gay and Cheek's combined 28 points.

Duke's superior post play was also evidenced by its dominance on the glass. The team outrebounded Wake Forest 50-34, including 16 offensive rebounds that contributed to 15 second-chance points, garnering the praise of McCallie.

The Blue Devil head coach also drew attention to the "Think Pink" theme for the game. In support of the fight against breast cancer, the team wore pink warmup tops and pink shoelaces during the contest.

"It's a great event," McCallie said. "The whole 'Think Pink' is just a great thing. It's just nice to be able to show how athletics get together with the community and do something special for something that's very difficult."

And when asked about the event in conjunction with the team's victory, the coach said, "It's just a great day for Duke."


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