DURHAM, N.C. – Five different scorers posted double-digit finishes and propelled the Duke Blue Devils women’s basketball team to a 90-47 win over the Grand Canyon Lopes at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday.
Forward Oderah Chidom led the Blue Devils with a season-high 18 points and four rebounds while guard Kyra Lambert put up a career-high 17 points to go with five rebounds, shooting 6-of-10 from the field, including two 3s.
Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie broke down her leading scorers’ games.
“I thought that Kyra not only scored points and did some nice things statistically, but more importantly, she was very commanding on the floor as a point guard, getting people in the right spots, running things, and communicating,” she said.
“It’s just fun to see Oderah play – she just has that knack for scoring and getting around people and that’s just great to see that she can do and she can do that against anybody.”
Duke’s leading scorer coming into the game, guard Rebecca Greenwell, finished with a double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 5-of-10 from the field and 3-of-6 beyond the arc.
GCU (1-1) relied on Marina Laramie (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Jessica Gajewski (7 points, 2 rebounds) to try to keep pace with the Blue Devils.
“We got outmatched in a lot of ways,” GCU head coach Trent May said.
“We didn’t do the little things that we needed to do inside and gave up too many easy buckets.”
Duke put together a strong shooting performance, finishing with a 52-percent conversion rate.
Greenwell’s first points in the game, a three-pointer, put Duke ahead 11-5 early on.
Laramie’s outside shooting kept Duke’s margin small, leading by two points before a 6-0 run started by Lexie Brown extended the Blue Devils’ advantage to 25-17.
Brown finished with seven points and helped to soften the lane to the basket which guard Leaonna Odom and Erin Mathias also found room to work in to put up 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Blue Devils outscored GCU 50-10 in the paint – a point of emphasis for the Duke coach.
“Obviously, we’ve got a special team that’s developing,” McCallie said.
“We have very strong guard play and a lot’s been talked about, but we have very strong post play. Our posts can not only score, but they can pass well, as you saw, high-low passing and looking for each other. So the paint points are huge.”
Greenwell and Brown worked to stretch out the GCU defense with outside shooting attempts.
When that wasn’t an option, they drove the lane or passed off to either Lambert or Odom who ran the baseline for a jumper or layup, or used the third option to dish off to Chidom or Mathias down low.
Lambert collected many of her points in the first half and began a 15-3 run in the second period that extended Duke’s lead to 20 points with three minutes remaining in the half.
Odom’s layup off the break preceded another three from Greenwell and the Blue Devils went to their locker room ahead 48-24 at halftime.
Duke outrebounded Grand Canyon by a 46-30 margin and limited quality shooting opportunities for the Lopes who finished with 28-percent shooting on the night.
“They’re extremely well coached and what we did so well is their shooters never really got comfortable,” McCallie pointed out.
“We had some great exterior defense.”
Chidom posted 10 of the Blue Devils’ 18 points in the third.
“It was just the way the game flowed,” Chidom said.
“Whoever is open and whoever has the hot hand find them, and my teammates did a great job of finding me the ball.”
Grand Canyon regained some of its scoring touch during the period, but it wasn’t enough.
Duke carried a 31-point lead into the final 10 minutes of play.
A knockdown 3 from Greenwell kept the Blue Devils firmly in control, leading 79-45 with five minutes to play.
The win marked the first time since 2005-2006 that the Blue Devils registered 90-plus points in three of the first four games of the season – including being the first under McCallie’s leadership.
It wasn’t the same dominating type of win that their three previous were, but at this point in the season, the Blue Devils are focused on continuing to develop more team chemistry
“We’ve played some interesting teams relative to this early schedule and now we kind of break into another part of the schedule with more challenge,” McCallie said.
“A great game for us to get better. We’re excited to build from this.”
Notes: The win over GCU was Duke’s 83rd straight against non-conference opponents in Cameron…Greenwell came into the game leading the ACC in scoring average (25 points per game) and had recently posted her 1,000th point in a 105-48 win over Longwood on Tuesday. She was honored for the accomplishment before the opening tip against the Lopes…The first-ever meeting between the two programs, an ACC vs WAC matchup, had touches of Duke blue on both sides as former Blue Devils standout and four-year letter winner Krystal Thomas returned to her alma mater as an assistant with the Lopes. In 135 games for the Blue Devils (2009-2011), Thomas scored 811 points, pulled down 779 rebounds, and blocked 196 shots.