ATHENS, Ga. – The fifth-seeded and 20th-ranked Duke women's basketball team defeated 12th-seeded and 23rd-ranked Belmont, 72-58, Saturday afternoon in first round action of the NCAA Tournament in Stegeman Coliseum on the campus of the University of Georgia. With the victory, the Blue Devils advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will play Monday in Athens, Ga.
Odom had an outstanding afternoon with a career-high 25 points as she hit a career-high 11 field goals on 18 attempts. The Lompoc, Calif., native pulled down six rebounds, dished four assists and picked up two steals in 37 minutes of play. Her 20+ performance today marks the second contest with over 20 points, both coming in the NCAA Tournament first round. Prior to today, Odom had scored only eight points over the last two games combined.
Greenwell notched 18 points, four rebounds and three steals in 30 minutes as she hit 4-of-7 treys. With her five field goals, the Owensboro, Ky., local moved into eighth on Duke’s all-time charts with 633 and her 70 three pointers ranks seventh on Duke’s single-season charts. Greenwell also became just the second ACC player in history to total four straight years with 70 or more three-pointers.
The Belmont Bruins opened the first quarter shooting 75.0 percent (3-of-4) from beyond the arc but had trouble holding possession of the ball with five turnovers, allowing the Blue Devils to tally 11 points. Greenwell notched two treys in the first quarter for a 9-0 run but were held scoreless for over three minutes as Belmont’s Darby Maggard added two threes to cut the Duke’s lead to two, 16-14.
Sophomore Leaonna Odom got the ball rolling early in the second frame with consecutive points in the paint to give the Blue Devils a four-point advantage. The Bruins once again found the net from deep with five treys in the second quarter. The Blue Devils picked it up on the defensive end to force the first shot clock violation of the contest after being held scoreless for over two minutes.
The Blue Devils turned it on in the second half to score 40 points and held Belmont to just nine in the third quarter. Odom found her rhythm in the second half as she tallied 15 points to lead the Blue Devils. Duke once again had solid defense as a team, forcing a second shot clock violation in the third and held the Bruins without a bucket for four-and-a-half minutes. Duke held a 53-40 lead after three quarters as Greenwell notched her fourth trey of the afternoon at the buzzer, becoming the second player in ACC history to post four-consecutive 70+ three-point seasons.
The Bruins opened the final frame with a 6-0 run to cut the Blue Devils’ lead to seven with just under seven minutes to play in the contest to force head coach Joanne P. McCallie to call a timeout. Odom came out of the timeout to score six-straight points and registered a huge block down low on a Belmont post player, good for Odom’s 37th block of the season. Maggard notched her fourth trey to pull within 10 with three minutes remaining, but time ran out as the Blue Devils connected on 11-of-14 free throws in the final quarter.
Junior Faith Suggs started her fifth contest of the season today and gave the Blue Devils a big spark on the court with a career-high 29 minutes. Suggs registered six points and tied her career-high and led the team with eight rebounds.
Belmont was led by Kylee Smith with 20 points.
As a team, Duke shot 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the floor, 28.6 percent (4-of-14) from beyond the arc and 78.6 percent (22-of-28) from the charity stripe. Duke limited Belmont to attempt just 10 foul shots and turned the ball over 17 times.
The Blue Devils added 21 points off of turnovers, 15 second-chance points and 32 points in the paint.
The win for Duke marked the 24th straight NCAA first round victory.
Duke will play the winner of the No. 4 seeded Georgia versus No. 13 seed Mercer on Monday.