Durham, N.C – Maybe it was the high that Duke redshirt junior Rebecca Greenwell was still feeling from hitting her 1,000-point mark two days ago, or maybe it was that Grand Canyon University had one of Duke’s very own Krystal Thomas now assistant, coaching. Either way, both of the unranked teams put up a fight before Duke took over for a Blue Devil victory.
What seemed like a slow start for the Duke Blue Devils served as an advantage for the Antelopes, who kept a tight and close game, even at one point tying it up agasint their superior folk at 12 apiece.
But that was before Duke junior Lexie Brown came in for the steal and the layup. It was good, and now it was show time. Duke turned into a more aggressive team, leading and ending the first quarter, 23-17.
Brown and the Blue Devils would return to a strong defense in the second quarter as Brown swooped in for a second…no third, steal to get Duke on a run. Of course, her teammates wanted in on the action and Greenwell joined in with a steal and pass to Kyra Lambert for the layup. The Blue Devils would double Grand Canyon’s score, 40-20.
Antelope redshirt senior Marina Laramie was the top scorer of the night with her effortless threes throughout the game putting up 22 points and leading in rebounds with 12.
“She’s a great player, has no fear obviously and plays hard on both ends of the floor,” said head coach Trent May on Laramie’s performance.
The Blue Devils could see this was a team that was not going to sit down, forcing Duke to increase its defensive coverage. The Antelopes were cornered, reducing any chance of cutting down the scoring deficit and turning over the ball constantly to Duke.
For the Blue Devils, the only weakness seemed to be finishing the plan. Even though Duke was getting more possessions off of Grand Canyon’s 20 turnovers, they struggled to convert on the other end. Both senior Oderah Chidom and sophomore Kyra Lambert, missed easy layups.
“There are a couple of shots that are in my mind that I just missed, it wasn’t the defense it was just me,” said Chidom looking back at some of the easy shots she missed in the first half.
Despite the missed layups, the Antelopes had the last points of the first half with Larmie coming in for the layup to end the first half 48-24 with Duke leading.
With the third quarter underway, the Antelopes began to make a charge at the Blue Devils despite being down, 52-27. Quickly Grand Canyon racked up fouls on Duke which soon became an issue for each of their players. Antelope junior guard Jessica Gajewski took on the role of the silent killer when Laramie grabbed the steal and threw the pass back to Gajewski for the three giving the Antelopes 31 to the Devil 58 points.
The effort by the Antelope women just wasn’t enough to keep up with the Blue Devils though. After a few failed attempts of missed layups in the first half by Duke, Chidom got her groove back in the second half, putting 18 points on the board.
And don’t think we forgot about her partner, Duke’s Kyra Lambert, the guard, would end up being a leader in the night’s game, putting up 17 points.
“She’s too quick, and she’s too strong, remember this is someone that benches 160 pounds, she’s really using her strengths and that’s what were all about using our strengths,” said head Coach McCallie.
With five minutes left in the game, the Blue Devils continued to be in command of the game. But one thing that can definitely be said is that this Grand Canyon team refused to allow Duke to relax. The Devils ended the game 90-47 and will head to Vanderbilt Sunday, Nov. 20.