If a trio of 20-plus-point outbursts already were not enough to remind Blue Devil fans why Lexie Brown was an All-American at Maryland just two years ago, the 5-foot-9 guard made sure they remembered Tuesday night.
Brown started the night a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, finishing 4-of-7 on 3-pointers as Duke roared to a 92-64 win against Old Dominion at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The junior racked up a career-high 32 points and sparked a dominant Blue Devil offense, hitting fromlong range and getting to the rim with ease. Redshirt junior Rebecca Greenwell added 24 points and five 3-pointers in the win.
The Monarchs sliced the Duke lead to just six midway through the second quarter, but Brown jumped in front of Old Dominion passes on consecutive possessions, leading to a pair of easy lay-ups that gave the Blue Devils a double-digit lead for good after their first loss of the year Sunday at Vanderbilt.
“I like to get after it on the defensive end because you can always control your effort,” Brown said. “I like to have a lot of energy and let that trickle down to the rest of the team. So when we start off well defensively, I know that we’re all going to have a pretty solid game.”
For the third time in as many contests, Duke (5-1) failed to take control early—even though the Blue Devils shot an efficient 48.6 percent from the field in the first half, the Monarchs hung around.
Old Dominion guard Jennie Simms, who finished with 33 points to lead the Monarchs (1-2), banked in a long triple to end the first period, The redshirt senior’s outburst was not a career-high, but tied a record for the most by an opponent at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“We were honing in on [Simms] and trying to stop her and I think that’s a great lesson for us,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “We did things better later against her—had we done those things earlier, she might have had less points. But once you let a player like her get started, that’s a little bit of trouble.”
Although Old Dominion remained with striking distance in the second quarter, a 10-0 Blue Devil run to close the half put the Monarchs away, something Duke was not able to do when it got the upper hand on the Commodores just two days ago.
“It was a great game for us to be in attack mode,” McCallie said. “I thought we grew as a team…. We got better and got to apply some things.”
After leading by 18 at the break, the Blue Devils opened the third quarter with a quick six-point outburst thanks to a gritty defensive performance—one that forced 23 Old Dominion turnovers on the night. Duke turned the Monarchs' miscues into 34 points on the other end.
As Simms carried the Old Dominion offense, Brown and Greenwell dominated the scoring for the Blue Devils. Although no other Duke player put scored in double figures, the Blue Devils were a near-perfect 19-of-21 from the charity stripe and took advantage of 16 steals.
Sophomore guard Kyra Lambert—despite managing just six points—chipped in six boards and tallied eight assists. The performance gave the Cibolo, Texas, native 15 helpers in the last two games and earned praise from McCallie, who called Lambert “steady as steady can be.”
“Our guard play was just very attacking and very good tonight,” McCallie said. “The benefit of having great guard play is that everybody can do a little something and that you know who should have the ball at what time. That’s a critical element and I think we grew into that a little more.”
Duke will now head to California for a pair of weekend contests. The Blue Devils battle Long Beach State Friday night then face off against Pepperdine Sunday afternoon. The 49ers (3-1) knocked off the Waves (0-3) in a defensive slugfest earlier this month 44-41.
Long Beach State boasts a pair of talented and experienced weapons in senior guards Jewelyn Sawyer and Raven Benton, but Pepperdine, on the other hand, has yet to find its footing this season. The Waves are shooting less than 35 percent from the field and are averaging 17.0 turnovers through their first three games.
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A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak."