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Duke women's basketball earns first ACC win after taking down Wake Forest

<p>Leaonna Odom led Duke to its first win of 2019 with a 20-point performance.</p>

Leaonna Odom led Duke to its first win of 2019 with a 20-point performance.

One team was going to walk away with their first ACC victory of the season, the other would fall to 0-6. Although she said she didn’t shoot well earlier in the day, one Duke sophomore was almost perfect from behind the arc when it mattered most.

Duke extended a narrow four-point halftime lead to take the in-state rivalry matchup 66-52 against Wake Forest Thursday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. In her first career start, sophomore Jayda Adams knocked down four 3-pointers and registered a career-high 12 points—four more than her previous high mark. The Irvine, Calif., native shot 4-of-5 from long range, brought down four rebounds and had three assists in 27 minutes.

“Actually, I was missing a lot during shoot-around this morning,” Adams said. “I got some extra shots up and when it went in, it just felt right. After that, no hesitation.”

Junior Leaonna Odom led all scorers will 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field. Odom’s 20 points was three points short of her season-high mark achieved earlier this season against Elon. The Lompoc, Calif., native registered three rebounds and assisted on two baskets to go along with a pair of steals and a block.

“I didn’t think we did a very good job contesting her shots, I thought we let her get a little too deep. We wanted her to be a catch-and-shoot, not get into the gut of the defense,” Wake Forest head coach Jen Hoover said of Odom. “She’s just so long and she can elevate and get her shot off over top of you.”

Adams opened up the scoring with an open corner 3-pointer and freshman Miela Goodchild, the first Blue Devil off the bench, knocked down a triple to give her team the 6-5 advantage. Goodchild finished the game with 11 points and five rebounds in 31 minutes.

From then on, Duke (9-9, 1-5 in the ACC) controlled most of the rest of the contest, and only relinquished the lead for less than a minute midway a few minutes before the halftime break. The low-scoring opening quarter came to a close as Duke held a 13-9 lead.

“I’m really proud of the team’s defensive discipline because obviously Wake wasn’t moving fast. They were trying to slow down,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “It takes a lot of defensive discipline to pressure the ball, keep your player in front, and keep playing off each other.”

Duke started the second quarter with two consecutive turnovers, the team’s six and seventh of the game, before Odom drained back-to-back mid-range jump shots. But after Odom scored in transition and Haley Gorecki converted a 3-point play to put Duke up 22-15, Wake Forest went on a 7-0 run to even the score. Duke then regained the lead after Odom stole the ball and took it all the way for a fast break layup and the Blue Devils took a 28-24 advantage into the locker room.

At the half, Odom, Adams and Gorecki paced Duke with 10, six and five points, respectively. Odom’s five baskets came from only six shots from the field and the team shot an even 50 percent. But after draining a trio of 3-pointers in the first quarter, Duke missed all three of its second-quarter attempts.

Adams started the second half the same way as she opened the first—with a corner 3-pointer. Soon after in the same exact spot in front of her bench, it was Adams again with the triple to extend the Blue Devil’s lead to double-digits midway through the third quarter. Before Wake Forest  (9-10, 0-6) went on a 6-0 run of their own, the Blue Devils used a 12-0 run to take a commanding 45-31 lead.

“Jayda just hustled all over the floor and really gave us some great defense,” McCallie said. “Offense as well, and that’s a very important thing, but her defensive energy and ability to play the whole floor is very important to us.”

In the fourth quarter, Gorecki knocked down a 3-pointer with just over five minutes remaining in the game for her only triple of the game. She finished the game with 14 points and six assists. Freshman Onome Akinbode-James scored five points while sophomore Jade Williams contributed four points and a pair of boards.

In their second game since Duke announced that redshirt-freshman Mikayla Boykin, the Blue Devils continued to mix up who is running the offense, which is primarily led by Odom.

“We have a lot of sous chefs. If Neah is the chef now, because she is, we have sous chefs,” McCallie said. “There’s one cook in the kitchen and there’s lots of people that can add a lot, chopping up vegetables and all that good stuff.”

Duke will look to make it two wins in a row against No. 13 Syracuse Sunday afternoon to close out the two-game homestand.

“That will be a great test for us; it will be a different tempo game. There’s a lot of quick shots and up and down in that game. I would like us to be more effective on the press break,” McCallie said. “I’d really like to see us, obviously, rebound the ball so much better…. I’d love to see us really attack pressure in a way of good ball fakes and really just take the wind out of any kind of press.”