As people recovered from their hearty Thanksgiving meals, Duke continued to feast against Penn Friday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Two days after a rout of Davidson, the Blue Devils took care of business against Penn thanks to a dominant performance from Leonna Odom. The Quakers, who hadn't allowed more than 51 points all season, gave up 66 to Duke, as the Blue Devils won 66-50.
“I loved that game," Duke head coach Joanne McCallie said. "It was an excellent game against a great opponent."
The game started out tight, as the two teams went back-and-forth for the first five minutes. As both teams kept pulling at the wishbone, Duke finally wrested the larger piece and began pulling away thanks to three triples from Miela Goodchild.
The Blue Devils (6-2) would finish the first up 20-11. The second quarter followed nearly identically to the first, with Penn (4-1) scoring another 11 and Duke pouring in 18 to finish the half up 38-22.
But after feasting in the first half, Duke looked a little sluggish in the third quarter. Penn started off with a 7-1 start in an ugly opening four minutes of the half. The Blue Devils responded by attacking the paint, securing a quick five points thanks to Odom free throws and an and-one layup from Jade Williams.
Penn kept pushing the pace though, capitalizing on turnovers and missed baskets to generate fast break opportunities while also applying a full court press. By the end of the third, the Quakers had cut a 16-point Blue Devil advantage to five.
"I honestly think we just weren’t moving the ball," Blue Devil guard Haley Gorecki said on Penn's press. "I think we just kind of held it for too long. We've seen presses before."
Duke didn't quake in the fourth, despite Penn pressing even harder in the backcourt. With seven minutes to go, Goodchild grabbed a missed 3-pointer by Kayla Padilla and found Odom sprinting toward the basket, who converted a layup to energize the Blue Devils. Duke then held Penn to a shot clock violation.
The team carried that momentum for the rest of the fourth, finishing strong to win comfortably.
"I’m really proud of our fourth quarter," McCallie said. "A 17-6 fourth quarter is definitely a habit that we look to get into as a team."
Odom led the way for the Blue Devils, finishing with 23 points and 16 rebounds. Gorecki's three-game streak of 20-plus points came to an end, but she spread the ball around generously with 10 assists. Goodchild didn't score after the first quarter, but still finished with 11 points, and Onome Akinbode-James had 10 in her return to the starting line-up.
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Turnovers plagued the Blue Devils all afternoon, as Penn picked off pass after pass. They didn't hurt the Blue Devils too much in the first half, despite doubling the Quakers' number of turnovers in the first half, but they played a role in Duke nearly losing the lead later in the game. Duke would finish with 19 turnovers compared to Penn's 12.
"They had 12 turnovers and, 12, 11, 10, those are the numbers that you’re looking for," McCallie said. "It’s not easy. As we grow, we’re looking to take care of the ball better and be more effective and more efficient. The efficiency in the fourth quarter was absolutely outstanding."
Duke will get a few days off before traveling to Lincoln, Neb., to play Nebraska Wednesday.