DURHAM, N.C. - A balanced attack and dominant performance on the draw powered the seventh-ranked Duke women's lacrosse team to a 12-5 victory over No. 10 Penn Saturday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium. Nine different Blue Devils recorded at least on point in the contest, while Duke dictated possession with a 15-4 margin in draw controls.
Duke (11-6, 3-2 ACC) led 7-5 at halftime, but kept Penn (8-6, 6-1 Ivy) off the scoreboard in the second frame and limited the Quakers to just three shots for the period. The five goals scored also marked a season-low for Penn.
"I'm really pleased that our girls came out and played a fairly complete game for 60 minutes," said head coach Kerstin Kimel. "Last Saturday's loss was really tough, but and the last two weeks of practice have been two of the finest weeks of practice that we've had all year. I'm proud of our composure and I'm proud of our upperclassmen; they were great leaders today. We finished with a very decisive win for our seniors today."
Duke got off to a rocky start as Penn's leading scorer, Erin Brennan, registered her 28th goal of the season off a free position shot in the third minute. However, Hamm wasted little time evening the score at 1-1 with an unassisted tally less than two minutes later.
The Quakers regained the lead with 22 minutes to play in the first stanza, but the Blue Devils utilized their advantage on the draw to assemble a 4-0 run midway through the half. Senior Kat Thomas scored her fourth goal in as many games to tie the contest at two before Hommel gave Duke its first lead of the day 26 seconds later. Hamm found sophomore Molly Quirke to extend the Blue Devils' advantage to two, and Hommel capped off the run with 11 minutes to play in the half on an unassisted goal, her 24th of the year.
Penn's Lydia Miller ended the spurt to make it a 5-3 game in the 20th minute. The Blue Devils and the Quakers traded two goals each in the final seven minutes of the half with Hamm and fellow senior Amanda Jones recording the scores for Duke. Hamm's second goal of the day also marked the Wayne, Pa., native's 200th career point. She becomes just the eighth Blue Devil to total 200 or more points in a career.
The Quakers' goal with 2:54 remaining in the opening period proved to be their last as Duke outshot Penn 10-3 following the intermission. Trimble put Duke up by three off an assist from Wenger in the 45th minute and the Blue Devils finished off the match with four goals in the final seven minutes, one each from Trimble, Wenger, sophomore Maddy Morrissey and sophomore Taylor Virden.
Duke's defense, which has held 12 opponents to single digit scoring in 2012, was able to pressure the Quakers' attack without fouling, helping the Blue Devils to a 25-16 advantage in shots for the game. Senior goaltender Mollie Mackler made six saves, while also contributing two caused turnovers and four ground balls.
"The big thing we talked about at halftime was amping up our defense without fouling," added Kimel. "I felt like we could put more pressure on [Penn] on the perimeter because they're a dodge heavy team. When we play that way, it keeps us all more in engaged. I feel like we took some good risks, and in doing that, we put more pressure on their shooting. And really we didn't foul. That was probably the thing I was most pleased with. We limited their looks at the cage; we limited free position shots. The girls took great direction from halftime in doing that."
Duke will now wait to learn its fate in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The tournament bracket will be announced Sunday, May 6 at 9 p.m. (ET).