If there have been main considerations about how effectively a largely new staff of transfers might play collectively, Duke certain did its finest to place them to relaxation.
The Blue Devils led Winthrop wire-to-wire in a 95-39 win throughout their first sport in Cameron Indoor Stadium since December 2020. Wing Lexi Gordon led the Blue Devils with 17 factors on 6-of-11 taking pictures (5-of-10 from three), with massive Imani Lewis scoring 16 factors on 6-of-7 taking pictures, plus six rebounds and 4 steals. Off-ball guard Celeste Taylor added 11 factors, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals, whereas combo guard Vanessa de Jesus made a run at a triple-double with seven factors, six rebounds and eight assists with zero turnovers.
“Another game where we got contributions from a lot of players,” stated head coach Kara Lawson. “This is gonna be a theme for us all year: we’re gonna have a lot of players lead us in scoring; we’re gonna have a lot of different players lead us in minutes; we’re just going to have a lot of different people contributing… To be able to get a lot of players in the game, and get some continuity, and get some more chemistry built, I think was important.”
The Blue Devils scored on their first possession of the sport, as Taylor ghosted off a bottom stagger, opening the bottom 3-point line for Gordon to come out. A fast catch, flip and shot, and Duke had its first factors of the yr. Gordon took the staff’s subsequent two makes an attempt, each spot-up threes within the Blue Devils’ second time on offense, earlier than de Jesus obtained on the board with a putback—Duke’s third offensive rebound of that possession.
Three offensive rebounds in a single possession is, after all, so much. But Duke did it once more on the finish of the quarter, with Lewis rebounding two missed threes and one other going as a staff rebound, earlier than Miela Goodchild hit a hook shot underneath the rim. In all, the Blue Devils had six offensive rebounds within the first quarter, taking on almost two minutes on simply three possessions.
Duke apparently obtained uninterested in all that offensive rebounding. So they determined to easily make each shot as a substitute.
The Blue Devils went on a 14-0 run over the past half of the primary quarter, kicking off a 30-5 run by means of the two:06 mark of the second. Much of that was keyed by backup level guard Shayeann Day-Wilson, who had 4 assists within the half in simply 11 minutes. De Jesus, who begins at level guard, shared the courtroom with Day-Wilson for 5 minutes within the half; regardless of sliding to a secondary playmaker position for that interval, she completed the half on triple-double watch—5 factors, six rebounds and 5 assists, in opposition to only one missed shot and no turnovers.
Day-Wilson and de Jesus could have been the one Blue Devils with a number of assists, however the staff shared the wealth as a complete, going into halftime with 13 assists on 17 made baskets.
“Well I think the first thing we were able to do was get out and run,” Lawson stated. “And I thought we did a good job moving the ball. I thought we got great looks… So as long as we’re doing that, I’m happy. If we go 0-for-21, but they were good looks, the players know I’ve got full confidence in them. If they’re taking good shots, I want them to keep taking them.”
Despite holding the Eagles underneath 40 factors, Duke’s defensive communication had loads of struggles. Its ball-screen hedges seemed much more dynamic than that they had in its exhibition final Thursday, as did its assist protection and recoveries. But there was nonetheless confusion over the timing of switches and the bottom rotations. And gamers like Day-Wilson, Gordon and Lewis had weaknesses reminiscent of containing dribble-penetration and power laid naked many instances. Had Winthrop been capable of convert bunnies and semi-open pictures, the ultimate rating would’ve seemed totally different.
Duke began the third quarter simply in addition to it ended the second, with the drive-and-kick sport persevering with to seek out open shooters and pressure the Eagles into rotation. But their pictures weren’t falling fairly as effectively, and the lead wasn’t increasing.
So Lawson unveiled a comparatively massive lineup, that includes Nyah Green on the three, Lewis on the 4, and Onome Akinbode-James on the 5, the latter being changed by Amaya Finklea-Guity partway by means of. The experiment labored, as their power proved a more durable problem for Winthrop, who couldn’t deal with that power on the glass and on low drives. The Blue Devils went on a 28-7 run beginning close to the top of the third and going by means of the mid-fourth.
Duke’s lead prolonged previous 50 in that point, permitting Lawson to sub in freshman off-ball guard Lee Volker and senior guard Jiselle Havas. The former first obtained into the field rating with a driving help for a Goodchild layup and her first factors on a pair of free-throws; the latter obtained her first stat line on a kick-out help to a Green three.
The Blue Devils head subsequent to Dayton, Ohio to play the Flyers on Friday at 6 p.m.
“Dayton’s really good. It’s gonna be a really, really tough game for us,” stated Lawson. “It’ll be harder to do what we did tonight defensively against them, it’s gonna be harder to score against them than it was tonight… They’ve got a really good basketball environment up there in Dayton. And so it’ll be fun. I’m anxious to see how we play.”