For the third straight game, the Blue Devils blew their opponent off the court.
Duke took down East Carolina 72-47 Saturday afternoon in Cameron Indoor Stadium for the team’s seventh straight win against the Pirates. It was a whole team offensive effort, but the star of the show was junior wing Miela Goodchild, who put together an offensive masterpiece with 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 6-of-10 from deep.
"In this game, Miela, her shots were falling," senior point guard Mikayla Boykin said. "We feed off each other and if we see one person getting going, we're going to feed them the ball; see another person get going, we're gonna feed each other the ball.”
From the beginning, the outcome of this game was never really in question. The Blue Devils (3-0) got off to a blazing start, going up 15-0 less than six minutes into the contest, and never looked back.
“Something that that you hope as a coach is that your team is ready to play every game, that you come out focused,” Duke head coach Kara Lawson said. “And I thought our group did come out focused. They were locked in. We talked about focus, how from explanation to application, you've got to be able to do that as a basketball player. And so I thought the carryover for us, the carryover from our practices leading into the game, and then from the shootaround, it was good to see our players focus in that way.”
After missing the first two games of the season with a sore knee, Boykin made her season debut in the first quarter of the match, and it was clear that she came to play. She made her mark in almost every aspect of the box score, finishing with 10 points, two assists, eight rebounds and four steals.
Boykin only played 16 minutes Saturday, but between her and freshman Vanessa de Jesus, the Blue Devils are in good hands at the point guard spot.
“It's great to have Mikayla on the floor for the first time,” Lawson said. “She gives us another option at the guard position, somebody that's a veteran, somebody that's highly skilled, somebody that's a two-way player and gives us a little more depth, which we don't have a ton of. So that helps us all the way around.”
Duke led 24-4 after the first quarter alone, shooting 64% in the period and outrebounding East Carolina 16-2. The Pirates’ four points matched the lowest total that the Blue Devils have allowed in a first quarter in program history.
But it wasn’t all good news for Duke. After limiting its turnovers to just nine against Western Carolina, the Blue Devils had seven in the first quarter alone Saturday, finishing with 23 turnovers overall. While that number may be able to fly when Duke shoots as well as it did in this game, once ACC play comes around, the turnovers will have to be curbed if the team hopes to stay competitive.
The second quarter was much of the same for the Blue Devils, with Goodchild hitting back-to-back threes to begin the quarter, putting Duke up 30-6. The Pirates (1-2) would finally break the double-digit scoring mark with 5:49 to go in the first half, but at that point, it hardly mattered.
When all was said and done, the Blue Devils led 45-17 at the end of the half. In addition to the team’s shooting prowess, Duke’s ball movement was a huge part of its offensive success—the Blue Devils had 13 assists on 17 made buckets through two quarters and finished with 17 assists on 27 total field goals.
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Next up for the Blue Devils is their first game of ACC play, a Wednesday night matchup with Louisville in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“Our team is excited about playing in the ACC” Lawson said. “The key to winning in this conference is to be consistent night in and night out. It's not about one game in the ACC. For us, there's 20 of them this year. And there's a lot of talented teams out there. As the competition rises, it becomes harder to do simple things, so we'll have to rise with it and just look forward to starting the ACC slate.”