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Duke women's basketball easily takes care of Alaska Anchorage in last exhibition

<p>Haley Gorecki starred Sunday.</p>

Haley Gorecki starred Sunday.

Double-doubles in college basketball are not that common. But one Blue Devil took an achievement she recorded eight times last season to another level. 

In the team’s final exhibition before the start of the regular season, Duke defeated Alaska Anchorage 91-59 Sunday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Haley Gorecki finished with 19 points on 4-of-7 shooting from behind the arc and 15 rebounds to accompany a four-assist outing. 

“That’s a nice challenge to get that many rebounds from a guard perspective,” head coach Joanne P. McCallie said of Gorecki’s double double. “I haven’t seen that too much in any game, exhibition or otherwise, so that was fantastic.” 

Reigning in the point guard responsibilities, senior Leaonna Odom matched her teammate with 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting and three assists. The Lompoc, Calif., native also recorded four boards and played well opposite Gorecki.

“You saw Haley look down the court for [Odom]—super-fast and looking for each other,” McCallie said of the chemistry between her top two scorers. 

The Blue Devils got out to a slow start in the opening minutes of the exhibition after Odom drove past her defender to put the Blue Devils up 9-4. After a 4-0 run to bring the Seawolves within a point, sophomore Onome Akinbode-James rebounded her own miss and converted a three-point play to put the team up 12-8 with three minutes to go in the first quarter. 

Sophomore Miela Goodchild then curled around her defender and dished a quick pass to Akinbode-James for an easy layup and soon after hit a floater to give the Blue Devils a six-point lead. Later in the quarter, Odom drained a deep three in front of the Seawolves’ bench to close out the first quarter to give Duke its first double-digit lead, 23-13. 

Duke opened the second frame the same way it concluded the first—with a 3-pointer. After Gorecki hit a triple, the Palatine, Ill., native converted an and-one to put the Blue Devils up 29-14. Duke continued to control the second frame and expanded its lead to 41-19 with about six minutes remaining in the first half. 

The Blue Devils responded to an Alaska Anchorage triple with a 6-3 run to enter the locker room with a 51-34 advantage. Off an inbounds pass, sophomore Uchenna Nwoke missed a shot, but freshman Jada Claude rebounded the miss and scored a layup as the buzzer sounded. 

Claude recorded five offensive rebounds in the second quarter alone to accompany eight points going into the second half. The freshman also completed a double double in a 14-point, 12-rebound outing.  

The Blue Devils and the Seawolves traded baskets in the opening minutes of the third quarter before Akinbode-James helped increase the lead. After blocking an Alaska Anchorage midrange jump shot, the Abeokuta, Nigeria native converted an and-one on the next possession to put Duke up 58-38. She then scored her 14th point from a put back off a miss from freshman Jaida Patrick. 

Akinbode-James finished with 14 points and five rebounds, three of which came on the offensive end. The second-year starter shot 6-for-11 from the field and ended up with a block and a steal. 

To open the regular season, the Blue Devils will take on High Point Tuesday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  

“Excited to have an opener come up quickly, we’re ready for that,” McCallie said. “Not excited that we play at the same time as [the men’s basketball team].” 

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