A physical game between two heated rivals falls to the shade of dark blue, as Duke defeats North Carolina 70-58 on Thursday behind strong efforts from Leanna Odom and Kyra Lambert. Duke came out in a zone, forcing UNC to shoot over the top rather than driving the basketball to the basket. That paved the way for a physical first quarter, with Kendall Cooper setting tone early.
After Paris Kea gave UNC the 2-0 lead, Cooper came out with a lay-up then followed that with a monster block and that tied the game at 2. Kea followed with her own strong performance to start out, going three for her first three shots, including a free throw to give her seven points early.
A long 2-pointer from Cooper would follow a Lexie Brown 3-pointer to make it 10-7.
Hillary Fuller and Stephanie Watts scored to get the lead back at 11-10. Kyra Lambert would hit a pull up jumper to give Duke the lead again at 12-11. The quarter would go back and forth.
At the end of quarter one, Duke led 18-17. Paris Kea led UNC with seven points, which started out as a strong shooting performance, but since then was held 1-8 for the remainder of the half.
The second quarter, Duke was able to find more seams of the Tar Heel defense. After a Kea jumper, Rebecca Greenwe
Fuller would hit one of two free throws before Kyra Lambert hesitated and froze her defender before driving to the basket for a reverse layup to make the score 28-20. Duke would continue to pour it on in the second quarter, all a part of an 18-4 run in the second quarter to give Duke the 36-21 lead heading in to halftime.
Lambert had eight points on 3-of-6 shooting in the first half. Brown had seven points for the Lady Blue Devils. For North Carolina, Kea led their team with 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting performance.
The third quarter would be more of a defensive battle, with both teams trading good defense and not many baskets.
Lambert continued to stun the Lady Tar Heels with her flashy dribbling, as she repeatedly sliced through the UNC defense to open up shots for her teammates.
Duke would end the third quarter cold, missing their last seven shots and four free throws.
Fuller side stepped a defender and got the layup off before the buzzer to end the 3rd quarter with The Heels trailing 57-42.
Leanna Odom, also known as “Ducky,” took over in the final frame. After an early turnover, Odom would hit four consecutive baskets for Duke to help seal the deal and close out the game, as Duke would go on to win 70-58. “Coach P just said that I needed to dominate the post position, so that is what I did” stated a confident Odom. When asked if this 15 point performance on a 7-of-9 shooting night was the best game of the year, shrugging, Odom responded “I guess.” She continues, “I am capable of doing more.”
Look for more as Duke will travel to face another rival in North Carolina State Sunday at 2pm.