Death, taxes and a double-digit scoring performance from Haley Gorecki.
If founding father Benjamin Franklin was still alive, he surely would have to make this addition to his iconic quote on the certainties of life.
Gorecki exceeded her already lofty standards Thursday night, with her career-best 30 points boosting Duke to an 85-66 win against Idaho State at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The 6-foot guard stole the spotlight with her dominant performance, but the Blue Devils' team basketball, most notably on the defensive side of the court, stood out as well.
“Everybody did a little something….I could go on and on but 34 free throws is excellent, 11 turnovers is excellent, and winning all five categories is great. We got better,” said Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie.
Gorecki did exactly what anyone would expect a top-tier player to do. With a physical finish for an and-one to start the game and a cold-blooded 3-pointer in the face of a Bengal defender soon after, Gorecki was grooving from the tip. Finishing a highly effective 7-of-11 from the field and 13-of-15 from the free throw line, she added to her campaign for a number of the country’s top awards.
Her performance tonight was special, even for a player of her caliber. 30 points and 13 made free throws marked new career-highs for the Palatine, Ill., native, as she continued to boost her already loaded resume.
“Getting to the free throw line like that is a sign of a great player," McCallie said. "When you get fouled and you get to the line 15 times, that is a separator and it is very important for our team for that to happen.”
Despite Gorecki shining, the Blue Devils (3-2) spread the wealth. This same narrative has been prevalent all season, with new players stepping up to aid Gorecki on a nightly basis.
Right by Gorecki’s side was the uber-athletic Leaonna Odom, who showed off her pull-up jumper, having no problem creating shots for herself off the dribble. None of her moments were more notable than when there was an audible gasp from the Cameron crowd as Odom converted on a fadeaway at full-speed with ease.
Duke guard Miela Goodchild did not give the friendliest of welcomes to her fellow Australian, Callie Bourne, playing hard-nosed defense on her countrywoman and opponent all night. Though she had a poor night shooting the ball with her 33.3 percent mark from the field, Goodchild has shown new elements to her play, slowly creating a name for herself as a better perimeter defender and rebounder.
“Definitely credit to the coaches. They’ve been really focusing on having the hands up as well as just anticipating the passes,” said Goodchild. “Rebounding is a crucial part to winning games so it is a job that we need to get done.”
Duke’s full-court press stymied the offense of the Bengals (2-2) all night long. Though the Bengals attempted to claw their way back in via their 50 percent mark on 3-pointers, everything was clicking for the Blue Devils, making the Idaho State comeback effort futile.
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Duke will have a quick turn around as they will play host to a fast-paced Troy team Sunday. The Blue Devils will look to carry their momentum into Sunday and through the rest of the home stand.