DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke Blue Devils put it together late and capped off a 64-56 win over Marist on Sunday.
Led by Leaonna Odom’s 20 points and 11 rebounds and 17 points and eight rebounds from Haley Gorecki, the Blue Devils used a strong fourth quarter finish to overpower the Red Foxes.
Jade Williams’ work in the paint earned her 11 points and eight rebounds, a significant factor in outscoring the Red Foxes by a 28-16 margin in the paint.
“I absolutely love our finish,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
“I love our timely scores down the stretch. I loved the defense we played. The rebounding was at its best at the end.”
Despite a game-high 25-point performance from Alans Gilmer along with 15 points from Rebekah Hand, Marist eventually lost the momentum it carried through three periods.
“Great game, I thought we played pretty well for the most part,” Marist head coach Brian Giorgis said.
“They went to Odom, and Odom delivered for them. She hit some great shots. You know, we can’t go up and elevate with ‘em. I’m proud of the way we played for probably about 34 or 35 minutes you know, we were right there, and basically had the better of play. But, they made the plays down the stretch, and we didn’t.”
Returning to Cameron Indoor Stadium following a four-game road trip over the past three weeks, Duke worked through many situational factors to post the win, their second in as many games to move to 5-3 on the season.
With Gorecki and Odom claiming five steals apiece throughout, the Blue Devils’ defensive play in the fourth period translated into production at the other end, an eventual 22-15 margin that helped to secure the win while holding Marist to a season-low 56 points.
“I think it’s just adjustments we made,” Gorecki said.
“We talked about them at halftime, then we just kind of did it.”
The Blue Devils dropped the first points of the game just eight seconds in.
Both teams traded 3s as Gorecki’s first points put Duke up 5-3.
Marist was poised and held even as both teams traded possessions.
The Red Foxes utilized the media timeout effectively and put together a 6-0 run that set the Blue Devils back on their heels.
Coupled with missed shots, Duke trailed 13-6.
After a three-minute scoreless spell, back-to-back layups from Williams cut the difference to two points.
Marist carried a 13-11 lead into the next period.
The Blue Devils went through another scoring drought, not dropping their next points from the field until the midpoint of the period.
That followed two earlier singles from the free throw line.
Marist worked to stretch Duke’s defense on each possession, and made a modest gain from it, leading 18-16 with 5:01 to go.
Two straight 3s from Miela Goodchild (9 points, 3 assists) pushed Duke ahead 22-21 two minutes later.
Another Marist 3-pointer ended the 8-0 run and the score was even at 24 apiece.
Both sides traded baskets and a final-second three-pointer from Marist’s Allie Best (9 points, 3 assists) gave the Red Foxes a 29-28 lead at halftime.
Marist stuck to its game plan of working inside-out and carried a 38-34 lead at the 6:00 mark.
Duke’s offensive pace was slow and allowed the Red Foxes to read and react easily in their zone defense.
Defending the three remained difficult for the Blue Devils and Marist led 41-39 with a minute to go.
Duke soon answered with a 3-pointer from Jayda Adams, her only points of the game, a clutch bucket that regained the lead for the Blue Devils.
Leading 42-41 to start the final period, Duke matched baskets to maintain its slim advantage.
Marist would not fold.
However, two straight jumpers from Odom pushed Duke ahead by three – 48-45.
Gilbert answered back with free throws.
Odom’s work on the boards was critical at that point.
An and-1 from Akinbode-James, her lone points of the game, extended the Duke lead to 51-47 with under six minutes to play.
By the three-minute mark, the Blue Devils were clutching on to a six-point lead – up 54-48.
A steal by Odom and a pass to Gorecki and a subsequent dish to Goodchild for the layup extended the Duke margin to 58-50 with 90 seconds remaining.
With Gorecki handling the ball, the Blue Devils broke the Marist press.
Another free throw extended it to a three-possession game.
A breakaway layup from Odom all by sealed the win, leading 61-50 with a minute remaining.
Despite allowing Marist a few more baskets from the field, Duke had done enough to post the win.
Peter Koutroumpis, 401-323-8960, @pksport