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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Blue Devils Snag Key Road Win at Wisconsin, 60-53
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 11/28/2018
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MADISON, Wisc. – Freshman Onome Akinbode-James had a career game, while redshirt junior Haley Gorecki scored 10 fourth quarter points as the Duke women’s basketball team downed Wisconsin, 60-53, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge played at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisc.

The Blue Devils improved to 10-2 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and moved to 4-3 on the season with the victory.

Akinbode-James, who was coming off a career-high 11 rebounds in the last game against Missouri, turned in her first collegiate double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds in 29 minutes. 

Duke got the first points of the contest as senior Faith Suggs connected on a free throw at the 9:02 mark, but Wisconsin would go on to score eight straight points to take an 8-1 lead.  Akinbode-James was very active early with six rebounds and snapped the Blue Devils’ scoreless streak with a layup at the 5:08 mark to cut the lead to 8-3. 

The Blue Devils battled back to close the first quarter trailing 10-9, behind five different Duke players scoring and Akinbode-James with seven boards.

A layup by Akinbode-James to open the second quarter put the Blue Devils back ahead, 11-10.  Duke would then go on a 12-3 run to lead 27-17.  Sophomore Jayda Adams closed the run with her third three-pointer of the season.  Redshirt senior Sofia Roma picked up a key offensive rebound and three-point play with nine seconds remaining in the half, before Adams blocked a last second three-point attempt to give Duke a 30-19 lead at the break.

Akinbode-James tied career highs in points (8) and rebounds (11) in the first half, before exiting late with two fouls.  A total of four Blue Devils exited the first half with two fouls, but Duke outscored Wisconsin 21-9 in the second quarter.

The Duke defense held Wisconsin to 26.9 percent shooting, while the Blue Devils hit 41.9 percent from the field. 

In the third quarter, Duke struggled to get any offense going and Wisconsin held the Blue Devils scoreless for over six minutes.  After a timeout called by Joanne P. McCallie, junior Leaonna Odom connected on a jumper to get the Blue Devils back on the board.  Duke headed into the fourth quarter leading 38-29.

Akinbode-James concluded the third period with her first collegiate double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. 

The Blue Devils opened the fourth quarter on an 8-4 run and forced Wisconsin to call a timeout with 6:47 remaining.  Duke would increase the lead to 18 points, 54-36, with 4:29 remaining as Gorecki connected on her first three-pointer of the night next to the Blue Devil bench.

Wisconsin would make a 13-4 run of its own cutting the Duke lead to 58-49, but Gorecki sank two free throws to end the Badger run with 1:06 remaining.

Gorecki scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half, while adding four rebounds and two assists.  Adams played 19 key minutes in the road game as she finished with a season-high five points. Odom chipped in 12 points and five rebounds. 

As a team, Duke outrebounded Wisconsin, 38-31, and held the Badgers to 36.0 shooting and held Wisconsin to a season-low 53 points.

After being on the road for six out of the first seven games, Duke will return home this weekend to host Marist Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m., in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  The contest will be aired live on ACC Network Extra.