DUKE LIGHTS IT UP
Scoring points wasn’t a problem for Duke’s No. 2-ranked women’s basketball team on Wednesday night.
Less than two minutes into their exhibition game with Division II Glenville (W.Va.) State at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Blue Devils had 13 points on the board thanks to aggressive defense and easy transition baskets.
The scoring continued from there but the defense, much to Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie’s dismay, lost its edge.
Duke won the game 122-77 as all five of its starters, plus one reserve, reached double-figures in scoring.
But McCallie wasn’t pleased her team didn’t turn the complete game she demanded.
“A nice opportunity to refocus ourselves and wake up a little bit and understand the value of defense,” McCallie said.
The Pioneers were a tough Division II team last season, going 27-4. They played Duke without their leading returning scorer, injured senior guard Ginny Mills, who averaged 19 points per game last season.
After the Blue Devils took a 68-35 halftime lead, they saw Glenville State play within 12 points of them in the second half. The Pioneers scored 42 points over the final 20 minutes.
Glenville State’s scoring total bothered McCallie, who pointed out that it came without Mills. She was also not happy with the 25 offensive rebounds the Pioneers grabbed over and around the taller, more athletic Blue Devils.
“Great lessons for our team,” McCallie said. “We need a lot more defensive leadership on the floor. It appears that we like offense a lot.”
Duke’s play on offense was a different story altogether. The Blue Devils made 60.5 percent of their shots, including 6 of 11 (54.5 percent) on 3-pointers.
Sophomore guard Alexis Jones led Duke with 20 points on 9 of 10 shooting. Haley Peters and Elizabeth Williams each scored 19 points, while Tricia Liston and reserve Richa Jackson had 15 points each.
Senior guard Chelsea Gray, playing her first game since dislocating her kneecap last February, displayed her All-American talents with 12 points and 14 assists.
“Well, I think we did a good job of running the floor offensively getting a lot of easy layups and in general we want to have a lot of paint shots regardless of the opponent,” Williams said. “Having that kind of emphasis offensively was good for us.”
Still, everything will come back to defense when Duke’s coaching staff reviews this game before the Blue Devils play their second and final preseason exhibition Sunday against Coker College.
“The film will be brutal,” McCallie said.
The rebounding alarmed Duke because, as McCallie and the players agreed, they weren’t boxing out well or getting in position to grab long rebounds.
“I think we didn’t do a good job of hitting first and then boxing out,” the 6-5 Williams said. “I think we felt that our size could just get us all the rebounds and they did a good job of crashing the boards. And we also didn’t do a good job of spotting out when there was a long shot because there was going to be a long rebound. A lot of us crashed into the paint and the balls were just flying over our heads so that is something we need to do a better job of adjusting to.”
McCallie chalked it up to poor communication, particularly on the defensive end which is on the opposite end of the court from the home bench in the second half.
“Our defense in the second half was absolutely appalling,” McCallie said. “There is no other way to say it. We didn’t spot up shooters. We didn’t contest shooters. We didn’t box people out. They got the O-boards. We didn’t communicate. We weren’t aggressive enough. There is a long list of things there.”