Duke 83, Austin Peay 42, FINAL: And that's the ballgame. Black led all scorers (as I predicted) with 14 points. In fact, 11 players scored for Duke, and all had at least 12 minutes of playing time.
The Blue Devils shot 49.2 percent from the floor, compared to Austin Peay's 24.1 percent. They had 39 rebounds to the Governors' 28. It was a beatdown on all terms.
Now Duke plays Michigan State...in East Lansing. This amounts to a home game for the No. 9 seed, for reasons beyond me, or any other rational thinking human being. Apparently, women's March Madness includes madness in the thinking of tournament planners.
Duke 76, Austin Peay 34, 2:47: This has been a fairly quiet 13-0 run for Duke, but there is literally no one to watch it in East Lansing. Even the Michigan State team has had enough and just walked out. I'll be back after the game with stats and quotes to put the win in perspective.
Duke 63, Austin Peay 34, 7:54: Well, one of the benefits of a 19 point lead is that you get to see those who don't get to play that much. And, thank God for that, because we were just blessed with a vicious block on a fast break by Selby. Hopkins has also shown her skills, tallying several impressive assists.
Duke 50, Austin Peay, 21, 15:28: Cheek's back in, proving once again, that I know nothing. She has a compression sleeve on and doesn't appear to be in any pain.
It was just brought to my attention that the leading scorer for Austin Peay hasn't even scored yet. Duke's defense has been suffocating and absolutely dominant-- the Governors are shooting 20% for the game.
Duke 44, Austin Peay 19, 18:23: As Duke comes out of the half strong (how bout that tip that led to a fast break and layup by Christmas?), here's a stat that underscores just how deep this team is: 11 Blue Devils played in the first half. One of those who played was Cheek, who had eight points and left with an apparent injury to her left elbow. It turns out it was just a bruise, and, while she probably won't return for the rest of this blowout, it doesn't sound too serious.
Also, Pitt and Oklahoma State are tied at the half. So, you know, you might want to flip back and forth between commercials.
Duke 40, Austin Peay, 19, HALFTIME: Karima Christmas showed impressive bounce-back ability to close the half-- after missing a wide-open layup on the break, she hit a 3-pointer to put the Blue Devils up by 21. The announcer made a joke about it being a present for Christmas, so we have a new winner for the horrible joke of the day award.
The defining storyline of the game so far has been injuries-- the loss of Waner before the game, and, now, the loss of Joy Cheek. With 1:16 left in the half, Cheek collided with Nicole Jamen and went down hard on her elbow. She left the game, and, so far, we haven't heard what the extent of the injury is.
Besides Cheek being forced to leave the game, Duke has to be happy with the results of the first half. Running an impressive 9-man rotation, and exploiting every hole in the Governors' defense, the Blue Devils now find themselves with a formidable lead, and, possibly, their eyes on Tuesday's matchup with Michigan State.
Duke 28, Austin Peay 14, 3:33: If Chante Black doesn't lead this game in scoring, then it will be because McCallie took her out with 15 minutes left in the second half. She has size that simply nobody on Austin Peay has. For evidence: the easy, basically un-defendable, lay-up to end the series.
Michigan State fans haven't lost their enthusiasm- they're chanting "Let's Go Peay!" Gotta admire their optimism.
Duke 23, Austin Peay 8, 7:39: Well, the Governors gave it a good run, but it looks like this game may have gotten away from them. A 14-2 run was capped by a Shay Selby shot (who doesn't get much PT unless its a blowout), and Austin Peay coach Carrie Daniels was forced to call a timeout. Austin Peay has never won a tournament game and has, to quote the male announcer covering the game, quite the uphill climb.
Duke 12, Austin Peay 6, 11:21: Austin Peay's defense really isn't that bad-- Duke is not getting the shots that it normally gets in transition and Jasmine Thomas was forced to take a 30 foot shot to avoid a shot clock violation. However that hasn't really mattered- the Governors' offense is pretty atrocious. They're about 3-of-12 from the floor right now, and can't seem to get any quality shots off. Duke's defense was called "infamous" by the female commentator, and its kind of showing right now.
On a side note, I was curious as to the origins of Austin Peay's name. A quick Wikipedia search told me that the Governors (which should have given me a clue) are named after Governor of Tennessee Austin Peay, who died four years into his term in 1927. He was governor of Tennessee during the Scopes Trial, so hopefully there will be no "monkeying" around in this game!
I'm sorry for that horrible pun.
Duke 8, Austin Peay 4, 15:43 (roughly): Well, that start is probably not what Joanne P. McCallie expected in her return to East Lansing. Duke has given up two fairly easy buckets to the Governors, both of which came by players breaking the press and finding themselves wide open. Carrem Gay has the first two baskets for the Blue Devils.
PREGAME: We're coming out you live from East Lansing, Michigan! Well, 301 Flowers, but, although we're in Durham, we're with the Blue Devils in spirit. Duke today should have it fairly easy against the Austin Peay Governors, a 17-15 team that managed to win the Ohio Valley Championship two weeks ago.
The big news though doesn't really concern the game- it concerns the condition of one Abby Waner, who not only is the heart of this team, but who has been playing very well lately. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, she is out with a right knee sprain, and according to the somewhat reliable source of Trey Wingo, may be out for the second round matchup with Michigan State. We'll keep you updated on her condition, but its fairly safe to say that if the injury proves debilitating, Duke's path to St. Louis will not be easy.
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