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Duke aces latest test, smashes VT behind Brown

Not many probably anticipated a blowout victory for No. 15 Duke over No. 17 Virginia Tech. But in an 84-59 win over the Hokies, and despite the small gap in rankings, Lexie Brown and the Blue Devils dominated in nearly every category.

Duke Athletics

Durham, N.C. — No. 15 Duke, much in part to Lexie Brown’s thunderous performance, led the Blue Devils to an 84-59 victory against the No. 17 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies tonight (Jan. 19) in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Brown finished the game with 29 points and a new ACC record of 62 straight made free throws over the span of this season. Even Hokies sophomore Regan Magarity, the only ACC player averaging a double-double in points and rebounds this season, was no match for Brown.

“I have been doing a lot of meditating,” Brown said. “The past couple of games haven’t been my best games, but my teammates gave me all of the confidence in the world in the first quarter, and I just took that and went with it.”

Brown’s free throw record wasn’t the only record set during the game, but her perfect 6-6 mark from the charity stripe tonight was part of a record-setting 17-17 clip as a team. This was good for a new school record and came up just shy of the ACC record.

As the game commenced, it appeared it was going to be a battle down to the wire for the two closely ranked teams. The No. 15 Blue Devils took the court fired up against the No. 17 Hokies. Duke’s Leaonna Odom completed the first field goal of the game and Brown followed suit with back-to-back layups.

However, Sidney Cook and Samantha Hill put Virginia Tech close behind the Blue Devils within the first minutes of the game. Following the momentum set by her teammates, Chanette Hicks connected on a shot that put the Hokies out in front for the first time.

Virginia Tech retained this lead for the remainder of the first quarter, giving Duke a sense of déjà vu after a 55-52 loss to North Carolina State on Sunday, Jan. 15.

The Blue Devils’ Rebecca Greenwell was slow for the entire first half of the game, only landing three points in the first 20 minutes. This stat line stood in stark contrast to her previous performances as the leading scorer for Duke.

Brown carried her team throughout the first quarter, finishing with nine points, but the Hokies maintained a 21-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.

However, the Blue Devils came back after the timeout looking to redeem themselves. Brown and Kendall Cooper scored a combined nine points in the first minutes of the second quarter that put Duke back in the lead, 25-24, after hardly leading in the first.

The Blue Devils dominated in the second quarter and ended the half with a mere one turnover — a season low — while forcing seven Virginia Tech turnovers.

Cook ended the nearly four-minute drought for the Hokies at the end of the second quarter with a layup to bring the score to 38-32 and head into the break with a six-point deficit to bounce back from.

Duke took off on a scoring streak to open the third quarter, scoring 16 points in what felt like a brief amount of time. And for the Hokies, they were not clicking offensively and found themselves in an even deeper hole at the start of period three.

“If we don’t handle every situation right every time, things can escalate on you,” Virginia Tech Head Coach Kenny Brooks said. “And that’s what happened tonight.”

Although Duke continued to dominate on the offensive side of the ball, Virginia Tech team leaders Cook and Magarity both landed layups that put the Hokies back on the board in the third quarter.

It wasn’t until Kendyl Brooks entered the game for the Hokies that Virginia Tech was able to come up for air. She drained three consecutive three-pointers that gave the Hokies points they desperately needed. Unfortunately, her contributions weren’t enough as the third quarter came to a close with Duke leading 67-45.

Virginia Tech’s Margarity achieved another double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but as a team, the Hokies couldn’t keep up with the shooting accuracy of the Blue Devils despite a slow fourth quarter for both squads.

In addition to Brown’s 29 points for Duke, Kyra Lambert and Greenwell were the two others to finish in double-figures with 10 and 18 points, respectively. As a team, the Blue Devils shot just below 51 percent from the field and were 7-12 from beyond the arc.

Duke will hit the road this week to face Boston College on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. EST. Virginia Tech will face Florida State on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 12 EST.