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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Blue Devils Fall to Celje in Final Contest in Italy
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 08/21/2017
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VENICE, Italy—The Duke women’s basketball team took the court Monday in its final contest of the tour of Italy at the PalaGoldoni Vicenza. The Blue Devils faced a professional basketball team from Slovenia, Celje Basketball Club and dropped a 78-65 decision.

Duke had to play Monday’s contest without three starters from the previous contest – redshirt senior Lexie Brown, redshirt senior Rebecca Greenwell and redshirt senior Bego Faz Davalos – as the trio had to return to Durham for academic reasons. They are all attending Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

The Blue Devils featured out to a great start to the contest jumping out to a 25-15 lead after the first 10 minutes. Freshman Mikayla Boykin paced Duke with nine points as she hit 4-of-5 field goals. The Blue Devils hit 53.3 percent of their field goals and limited Celje to 27.3 percent.

Celje came out hot in the second quarter and outscored the Blue Devils, 16-15, but Duke still held a 40-34 lead. Redshirt sophomore Haley Gorecki led all Blue Devils with 11 points as she drained 3-of-6 treys.

The Blue Devils started to wear down in the second half with only eight healthy players available. Celje outscored Duke, 22-14, and built a 47-45 lead with 10 minutes remaining. Duke was limited to only 25 points in the last two quarters and was 0-7 from three-point land.

For the game, Gorecki and senior Erin Mathias led Duke with 15 points each, while Boykin added 13 points. Mathias pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds in 32 minutes notching a double-double. The Blue Devils hit 37.7 percent from the field, while Celje hit 39.7 percent. Celje drained 13-of-32 three-points on the evening.

Duke forced 21 Celje turnovers. Celje was led by 2017 Blue Devil graduate Oderah Chidom with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Chidom recently signed a professional contract with Celje for the 2017-18 campaign. Celje recently won the Slovenian and Adriatic League Championships.

The Blue Devils concluded their three-game tour with a 2-1 record. Duke downed Netherlands, 84-66, and cruised past Italian All-Stars, 119-33.

Duke will have one final day of touring in Venice before heading back to Durham on Wednesday, Aug. 23.