After a tough win Thursday against Pittsburgh, the Blue Devils returned to Cameron Indoor Stadium seeking a resounding win to build back their confidence after a tough losing streak.
But from the get-go, it seemed like it would be a rough night for the Blue Devils. The Demon Deacons came out strong, with the team managing five scores by four different players on their first nine possessions of the game. Duke, by contrast, struggled with offensive chemistry: sloppy passes led to three Duke turnovers within the first four minutes of the game, and the enormous lack of offensive rebounds cut each possession short.
Duke came out roaring in the second quarter, though, and it was as if the team had flipped the switch. Electrifying consecutive threes by Goodchild and Taylor gave the team’s offense the jolt it desperately needed– and their first lead of the game. Day-Wilson’s trey and quick pull-up jumper less than 30 seconds later added fuel to the fire, and graduate transfer Amaya Finklea-Guity’s relentless fight for a defensive rebound had the bench erupting into cheers—and the Blue Devils were back on track. They went into the locker room with a four-point lead.
“I think it’s just who we are as a team, we are going to compete with you no matter what, no matter how much we’re up, we’re going to make sure you feel us,” said combo forward Lexi Gordon. “We fought back, we hit first, we clawed back…whatever it took to get a win tonight.”
When the offense exploded, it became a game of threes. In the third quarter alone, the two teams combined for an impressive seven treys, Duke’s Day-Wilson and Gordon responsible for three of them. With just under five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Gordon’s third 3-pointer of the night pushed Duke’s 3-point count to nine, surpassing their total against Pittsburgh a couple days ago. The Blue Devils (15-7, 6-6 in the ACC) closed out the game with a high 10 threes, shooting 55.6% from beyond the arc, a significant improvement from their 32% mark against Pittsburgh. A more focused offense, limited turnovers and explosive scoring plays gave Duke the victory in a high scoring game.
“We just made shots. And we made threes…. We were able to get ourselves to the free-throw line and we made the free throws,” said Lawson. “[In] all of those areas of scoring, I think we were just more efficient in, and more confident in.”
Day-Wilson made her presence known in the game tonight, battling it out against sophomore guard Jewel Spear, both achieving impressively high score totals of 22 and 27, respectively. Coming into the game, Day-Wilson had a 12.7 point per game average– a stat she nearly doubled. But while the two young guards excelled, the game’s difference-maker ended up being Gordon. The graduate student led the Blue Devils once again in points with 23, shooting a stellar 100% from within the arc and 67.6% from beyond it.
“My teammates just found me, and I happened to be open and I knocked up the shots when I got them…and kinda just played with the flow of the game, ” said Gordon.
After their second straight win, the Blue Devils’ confidence is building once again after a tough losing streak. The team will look to keep the offensive chemistry going as it hosts Florida State in Cameron Thursday.
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