Duke continued its scorching hot start to the season with an emphatic 91-75 win at home against Troy to push the team to 6-0. This was an evening to remember for both freshman Shayeann Day-Wilson and junior Celeste Taylor. The former of which scored a career-high 26 points on 8-of-10 shooting from three, marking a new career-high and tying a Duke single-game record for 3-pointers made. Taylor, on the other hand, recorded season-highs in points, 3-pointers, rebounds and steals, dropping 24 points and 11 rebounds and six steals. To put it simply, Duke’s stars shined bright.
It was in the second quarter that Duke played its best basketball and really started to separate itself, forging a double-digit lead that it would continue to hover around for most of the game. Troy prides itself in its ability to play fast, so it’s no surprise that the Trojans were able to put together patches of runs throughout the game. However, Day-Wilson’s outstanding shooting and Taylor’s terrific defense would always kill their momentum and keep them at bay, not allowing Troy to ever really get in striking range to take full control of the game.
Taylor’s six steals is only a glimpse of the defensive intensity she showcased Sunday, as her hustle was unmatched—diving for loose balls and saving possessions.
“A lot of it is just being in the right spot at the right time...I always pride myself on defense, getting boards, and doing what I can to help my team win," Taylor said when asked about her effort.
Lawson pointed out freshman point guard Day-Wilson’s high confidence and competitiveness. Despite turning the ball over six times, she was able to keep herself and her team composed with her shooting and leadership.
“It’s the other team’s job to get me rattled,” Day-Wilson said. “I got to lead the team, If I’m under pressure and they see me getting rattled they’ll get rattled too.”
The Blue Devils' performance wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as they struggled mightily from the line. They earned an impressive 25 attempts, but were only able to cash in 10, keeping the game closer than it needed to be at times.
“One of the things I said to them before the game is make sure we attack and get to the free-throw line, so as a coach I’m very pleased that we got there 25 times,” said head coach Kara Lawson. “Now the next step for them would be to not only get there but to make it.”
From the tip-off, it was apparent that this would be an up-tempo and fast-paced affair as both teams showcased their speed and exchanged runs. Although Troy (3-3) was playing aggressively in the interior, it was Duke’s quick hot start from three that kept it a step ahead. Especially once Day-Wilson checked in and her impact was immediately felt.
The Blue Devils (6-0) have taken care of business up to this point but now their biggest test yet looms near as they face No. 8 Iowa at Cameron Indoor Stadium Thursday. This will be an opportunity for them to truly see how they stack against the country’s best before ACC play begins.
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