DURHAM, N.C. – The 12th-ranked Blue Devils used a balanced scoring effort to run past Tobacco Road rival North Carolina, 70-58, Thursday in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke featured a trio of double-figure scorers in freshman Leaonna Odom, sophomore Kyra Lambert and junior Lexie Brown and outrebounded the Tar Heels by a 44-39 margin in the victory.
Duke topped the Tar Heels for the sixth-straight meeting to improve to 15-2 on the season and 3-1 in ACC play.
Odom finished with 15 points, one off her season high, and added seven rebounds while Lambert and Brown supplied 13 and 12 points, respectively. Senior Kendall Cooper headlined the Blue Devils’ efforts on the boards with eight rebounds.
“We had a hard working game with good defense and I was happy to see the rebounding margin grow a bit,” said head coach Joanne P. McCallie. “Obviously we took care of the ball a little better and moved it better and I loved the input of the ladies up here. I thought Ducky [Leaonna Odom] was extremely aggressive, which is very important. Kendall [Cooper] did a great job rebounding for us as well. Lexie [Brown] was solid in working everything through. Kyra [Lambert] was also solid in working everything through and attacking the basket. We got better tonight which was good and hopefully we will grow a bit from this.”
After shooting just 30 percent in the opening quarter of Sunday’s loss at No. 6 Florida State, the Blue Devils logged just under 50 percent shooting to start off Thursday’s contest. Senior Oderah Chidom accounted for six points as Duke led, 18-17, at the end of the first period.
The Blue Devils put together a strong defensive stretch in the second frame, holding the Tar Heels without a field goal for the final 9:49 of the period. The 18-2 run put Duke up, 36-21, heading into halftime.
Lambert had eight points and Brown seven to pace the Blue Devils at the break.
Odom and Brown combined for buckets on three straight trips down the floor to kick off the third quarter as Duke continued to exploit its advantage in the paint. The squad maintained a double-digit lead, with Lambert reaching double figures for the third time in as many games.
With the score at 57-42 heading into the final period, North Carolina was able to trim the margin down to 12. Odom countered with a pair of layups to push her point total into double digits and the defense forced several Tar Heel turnovers down the stretch.
“What I really like about this team is they’re happy about things they did but also dissatisfied about things they didn’t do and always want to get better,” McCallie said. “We will try to play better on Sunday.”
The Blue Devils rounded out the win with 43 percent shooting from the field (28-of-65) and limited the Tar Heels to 38 percent shooting (23-of-61) on the night.
Duke makes the short trip to Raleigh to face No. 23 NC State Sunday at the Wolfpack’s Reynolds Coliseum. The contest is slated for 3 p.m. on RSN.