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Sportswrap: Duke men's basketball grabs two wins, women's tennis kicks off season

Big man Mark Williams posted 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks against N.C. State.
Big man Mark Williams posted 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks against N.C. State.

Sportswrap is your one-stop shop for everything Duke athletics, where we’ll recap how each of Duke’s sports currently in competition performed over the last week and give a brief look ahead. Here’s our recap for the week of Jan. 10-16.

Men's basketball

Two words: bounced back. No. 8 Duke picked up a pair of victories over in-state rivals this week, knocking off Wake Forest and N.C. State. In the 76-64 win against the Demon Deacons, AJ Griffin’s insertion into the starting lineup provided a spark on both ends—Griffin showed a knack for shot creation and sturdy perimeter defense. Then, in Saturday’s 88-73 conquest against the Wolfpack, Mark Williams’ 19 points, 11 boards and eight rejections were the story. Plus, Paolo Banchero averaged 22.5 on 56% for the week, which shows how many different ways the Blue Devils (14-2, 4-1 in the ACC). can beat you. Will the recent trends continue against Florida State Tuesday night? -Max Rego

Women’s basketball

This was a week Duke women’s basketball fans will likely want to forget. Despite a 74-65 win against Syracuse last Sunday, the 16th-ranked Blue Devils (11-4, 2-3) dropped two consecutive contests by double digits in their 65-54 and 84-60 losses to Virginia Tech and N.C. State, respectively. The loss of star junior Celeste Taylor to an undisclosed shoulder injury against Syracuse certainly hasn’t helped, and head coach Kara Lawson will be hoping for a rebound this Tuesday as her team travels to Coral Gables, Fla. for a date with Miami. -Andrew Long

Fencing

Duke fencing opened its season Sunday at the Penn State Duals in State College, Pa. The No. 10 men’s group finished the day with a 3-1 slate, defeating Haverford 20-7, No. 5 Penn State 16-11 and No. 7 Penn 16-11, and falling to No. 2 Columbia 17-10. The No. 12 women’s group only defeated Haverford, impressively 26-1, but fell to No. 2 Columbia 18-9, No. 7 Penn State 14-13, No. 8 Temple 14-13 and No. 10 Penn 15-12. The men’s saber group finished the strongest performance of Duke’s teams, going 4-0 on the day. The Blue Devils will return to Pennsylvania again this weekend for their next competition at the Philadelphia Invitational Jan. 22. -Ana Young

Swimming and Diving

Unfortunately, the second meet after winter break for Duke swim and dive marked its second straight loss, as both men and women fell to N.C. State in Raleigh. However, given both of the Wolfpack teams are top five nationwide and undefeated, the result can hardly be a surprise, and featured strong individual performances from Blue Devils. Duke swept the entire top four of the women’s one-meter diving, and sophomore Sarah Foley went a 4:08.97 in the women’s 400 IM, setting her second school record of the season. Look for the Blue Devils to bounce back on Jan. 28 against North Carolina at home. -Babu Chatterjee

Women’s tennis

The Blue Devils kicked off their season this weekend in Ann Arbor at the Michigan Invitational. Duke started the weekend Friday with singles play against No. 10 Ohio State and picked up four wins. That afternoon, the team dropped three doubles matches against Notre Dame. However, the next day the Devils got their revenge with seven straight singles wins against the Fighting Irish. The new Blue Devil pairing of graduate student Kelly Chen and freshman Emma Jackson was able to pick up a doubles win against host Michigan, while the other two pairings lost their respective matches. On Sunday, Duke picked up two doubles victories and finished the invitational against Michigan with ranked singles wins by junior Chloe Beck and senior Georgia Drummy. -Campbell Lawson

Track and field

Duke track and field returned from a long holiday hiatus at the Virginia Tech Invitational in Blacksburg, Va. The Blue Devils impressed with 16 top-five placements and sweeps in both the men’s and women’s 4x400 meter relays, but the story of the weekend was no doubt junior Kinsie Huggins breaking her previous shot put record and moving into fourth place on Duke’s all-time list. The Blue Devils return to Blacksburg next weekend for the Hokie Invitational to begin the meat of their season. -Long

Wrestling

After nearly a month off the mats in contest, the Blue Devils made their return to duals competition this week, hosting at Card Gym Thursday night against Appalachian State. Though they recorded some victories, Duke (6-5) fell to the Mountaineers 22-12. The Blue Devils remained firm on the heavyweight side, taking the 174-pound bracket and all of the brackets above. Matt Finesilver, Vincent Baker, Kaden Russell and Jonah Niesenbaum all registered triumphs to give Duke 12 points. Josh Finesilver, who has a 21-2 record after the duals match, fell to Jonathan Millner in the 149-pound bracket. The group will return to competition Jan. 21 for another local contest against North Carolina. -Young

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