FINAL: Duke 72 - Hampton 37, WBB First Round

FINAL, Duke 72 - Hampton 37:

Joanne P. McCallie will be pleased with her team's performance today, especially on the defensive end. In the first half, the Blue Devils were suffocating on defense, often times for the full 90 feet of the court. Duke's starters were able to spend most of the second half resting on the bench, as the reserves led Duke for the majority of the final 20 minutes. Duke will certainly face a tougher test in LSU on Monday, but for now, the Blue Devils can rest easy.

Duke 63 - Hampton 27, 7:25:

This game has long been decided, but Duke reserves Chelsea Hopkins and Kathleen Scheer have put in solid performances today in relief. For what it's worth, the Hampton band has also been top class.

Duke 55 - Hampton 25, 11:35:

Duke's press has been very effective tonight, as it should be against a team like Hampton, but even when the Lady Pirates have thrown over the top of the press, Duke's defender in the post has usually kept the Hampton press at bay. Allison Vernerey has done an especially good job tonight of sealing players out of the post, and when necessary, taking charges.

Duke 49 - Hampton 23, 15:15:

Hampton has come out of the locker room calm and looking to execute on offense, and thanks to a lapse in defensive intensity by the Blue Devils, the Lady Pirates have made the score look a bit more respectable. Melanie Warner scored a quick five points , and leading scorer Quanneisha Perry slashed to the hoop for a layup -- all in all, you can tell the Lady Pirates are likely very tough to beat within their league.

AT THE HALF: Duke 40 - Hampton 14:

Duke is making it look easy against an increasingly dejected-looking Hampton squad. In the final 10 minutes and 13 seconds of action, the Lady Pirates were only able to score three points -- a testament to the level of defensive intensity McCallie expects out of her team. The second half looks to be an opportunity for McCallie to empty the bench, and get her starters some rest before the second round game on Monday. Perhaps more important for Duke long-term has been the resurgence of Jasmine Thomas. After struggling a bit in the latter half of the season, the star point guard has looked phenomenal tonight. After Christmas's  stunning and-one, Thomas snapped off seven consecutive points of her own, highlighted by an incisive spin move into the lane that allowed her to bury a one-handed floater over the defense. If Jasmine Thomas can maintain this form throughout the Tournament, Duke will prove a very tough out.

Duke 29 - Hampton 11, 3:55:

There's a reason Hampton is a 15-seed, and we're seeing it right now. The Lady Pirates just simply don't have the personnel to keep up with Duke, and the Blue Devils are looking focused on the defensive end. Karima Christmas just had a Sportscenter worthy finish at the hoop -- the junior double-clutched to avoid having her shot blocked, absorbed the contact AND hung in the air long enough to get up the shot.

Duke 23 - Hampton 11, 7:55:

While Duke still doesn't quite look itself offensively, the Blue Devils have been playing some hard-nosed defensive basketball, and the No. 2 seed is slowly but surely separating itself from the Lady Pirates, who look completely out-of-sorts offensively-- Hampton hasn't scored from the field in just under four minutes.

Duke 17 - Hampton 10, 10:13:

Duke came roaring out of the first television timeout looking to push the ball and apply pressure, and went on a quick 5-0 run in the first minute or so. The Blue Devils ran a full court press against the Lady Pirates, looking to take advantage of Duke's superior athleticism, and forced a few turnovers that shifted momentum in the game. In the offensive halfcourt, Duke still hasn't found its rhythm, and is without a cutting edge at the moment. The Blue Devils have had success pounding the ball into the post, but the finishing around the rim has been less than stellar.

Hampton 8 - Duke 7, 15:23 left in the first half:

Hampton has come out swinging in the first couple of minutes, and a fairly divided crowd has gotten behind the underdog. Duke has struggled from the field, and if the Blue Devils weren't getting to the line the way they have been, the game wouldn't be as close. The Lady Pirates have been torching Duke in the post, especially Melanie Warner. Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie has countered by bringing Allison Vernerey off the bench, hoping the size differential will curb the Lady Pirates success in the post.

Pregame: This afternoon in Cameron Indoor Stadium, the No. 2 seed Duke (27-5) will look to take its first step towards San Antonio against No. 15 seed Hampton (20-11). This is the second game of the day at Cameron, and the winner will take on No. 7 LSU, who earlier today clobbered No. 10 Hartford, 60-39. The Lady Pirates are led by junior forward Quanneisha Perry, who averages 13 points and 9.3 rebounds a game for Hampton. Though not nearly full, there is a good atmosphere in Cameron, and fans of both teams are ready for a first-round battle.

Starting lineups for the Lady Pirates: Warner, Perry, Fortune, Lewis,  Jackson.

Starting lineups for Duke: Christmas, Cheek, K. Thomas, J. Thomas, Jenkins.


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