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Notes On The Women's Opening Weekend

Duke had a successful start to a grueling 5 games in 10 days stretch, beating
Penn State and Old Dominion on the road. Here's the game report, box score and game notes. The Penn State paper weighed in as well. The game was actually
relatively tight in the first half, as Penn State was able to get to the line
22 times and shot 44% from the field. Chante Black started, but both she and
Monique Currie encountered early foul trouble. Duke did manage to go up by 11
at the half.

In the second half, Duke pressed PSU hard and blew out to a big lead. The
Devils shot a remarkable 70% in the half, held Penn State to 24% and forced a
number of turnovers. While the Lady Lions are a young, rebuilding club, they
still carried a 20-game home winning streak into the game, and played with a
lot of tenacity. PSU could not keep up with Duke's size and so they almost
exclusively played zone. Still, Alison Bales dominated inside with 15 points,
9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Duke fouled way too much in this game (though it was
being called tightly) and also turned the ball over a bit too much. The best
news was the use of Duke's depth and rotation. Every player but Carrem Gay
played at least 15 minutes, but no player logged more than 25 minutes. G is
trying to figure out which combinations work, and so the team will go through
some growing pains as that process plays itself out.

By the way, in case you were wondering where Emily Waner and Keturah Jackson
were, both are injured. Jackson is still recovering from a sever ankle sprain
and will be reevaluated this week. Waner has a stress fracture in her third
right toe and will also get looked at this week. Both can certainly take their
time to heal instead of rushing back.

Right after beating Penn State, Duke travelled to Norfolk to play Old Dominion. The Lady Monarchs are very tough at home, but
Duke wound up dealing them their worse loss ever at home. Here's
a >boxscore,
game notes
and photos, along with
a report from the Hampton paper and road trip photos. Duke went on a huge run early in the game and
cruised to a 21 point halftime lead. While there were some dry stretches in the
second half, Duke shot 61% in the first half while holding ODU to just 34% from
the field for the game. In fairness, ODU was missing its to frontcourt player
and its best frontcourt reserve for this game, so they weren't prepared to
really go after Duke. They sat back in a zone and Duke made them pay with 5
first half treys. The Devils still turned the ball over too much and were only
+2 on the boards against a much smaller team. In particular, ODU used its
quickness to grab 19 offensive rebounds. Happily, Duke was able to mostly keep
them off the line (just 13 foul shot attempts) and force them into 26 turnovers.

Duke still has a long way to go and a number of great teams to play, but this
was a hopeful start. The Chronicle had comments on both games.

In other news, former player and current graduate assistant Caitlin Howe is
graduating this December. Allof those summer classses paid off.
Cait also sounded off on the question of
computer ownership.

On the recruiting front, it's official for Bridgette Mitchell and Joy Cheek:
they're coming to Duke. Duke is currently targeting a number of players
in the class of 2007. Angie Bjorkland visited here before choosing Tennessee.

In the features department, here's a Q&A with Abby Waner won ACC rookie of the week award. Congrats!