Duke fans came to Cameron Indoor Stadium Sunday afternoon to watch the Haley Gorecki show and were treated to a dominant performance not just from Gorecki, but from the Blue Devils as a whole.
In a game destined for celebration with Gorecki nearing the 1,000-point mark for her career, Duke delivered further cause for celebration, beating Boston College 85-73. Gorecki broke the 1,000-point barrier with a smooth jumper in the second quarter, but it was business as usual for the graduate guard, who committed a foul on a shot block attempt on the next possession, getting dirty in the paint. The Blue Devils followed her example, fighting to make the lives of the Eagles very difficult on every possession, with Gorecki's 27 points, seven assists, five steals and leadership pushing Duke to the comfortable victory.
"Haley's aggression, her steals, her anticipation, her assists, and of course her scoring [were good to see]," said Blue Devil head coach Joanne P. McCallie.
Gorecki followed up her 12-point first half performance with a strong drive on Duke's first possession in the third quarter, converting an and-one, and she had no intention of stopping there. Her 27 points were a game high and she had Eagle defenders dizzy trying to follow her. Freshman guard Azana Baines also caught fire for the Blue Devils, scoring six of her 15 points in the third quarter, helping Duke to a 62-49 advantage at the end of the period.
Staunch defense won the day for Duke (7-3, 1-0 in the ACC), which consistently out-rebounded the Eagles and contested every shot taken. The Blue Devils' efforts on defense translated quickly to offense, with steals setting up fast breaks at every turn. Boston College (5-5, 0-1) shot only 35.7 percent on the day, finishing a poor 25-of-70 from the field and 7-of-32 from beyond the arc, not nearly enough to beat a Duke team that hit 50 percent of its shots, including a 10-of-20 mark on 3-pointers.
Duke has its head coach to thank for the rebounding explosion, with Leaonna Odom, who finished with 14 rebounds, pointing to McCallie as motivation for her performance on the glass..
"[McCallie] basically told me that [she] could out-rebound me even if she's a lot older than me, so that ignited the fuel right there," said Odom, eliciting laughter and more than a little vindication on the part of Odom.
To Duke's credit, the entire team seemed to take this to heart, attacking the glass with poise and might.
The scoring for the Blue Devils was evenly distributed despite Gorecki's utter dominance, with three other players getting into double-digits, necessary buckets being provided by a different player every time. Duke locked the game down in the fourth quarter, holding the lead with timely makes and a couple of blocks on the defensive end. The Blue Devils finished with 13 steals, forcing Boston College into 19 total turnovers.
The only time Duke seemed to falter was about midway through the second quarter, when Boston College brought the game to 28-26 with a few quick threes and a layup. The 8-0 run by the Eagles was followed directly by a timeout by McCallie, who looked irate talking to her squad.
The timeout seemed to work, as the Blue Devils put in a quick bucket and slowed the pace of the game. The lockdown defense resumed, and the Blue Devils finished the half up 40-34.
"They've got nothing to lose, they're just trying to come back," said McCallie of the message coming out of the timeout. "[Our] response was good."
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The Blue Devils will take a break for exams after notching their seventh win of the season, but will be back in action Dec. 19 against South Carolina before another break for Christmas.