8:00 PM ET, November 18, 2005
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Duke (No. 2 ESPN/USA Today; No. 1 AP) found a new star on a team full of talented players.Freshman Abby Waner had 15 points, six assists and six steals to help the Blue Devils turn an 11-point halftime lead into a 93-67 rout in their opener on Friday night.Waner, one of the top recruits in the nation, hit two 3-pointers, threw some nice passes in transition and energized a stifling defense in the opening minutes of the second half. She didn't look as if she was playing in her first college game."Abby is a pretty good player for a freshman. She didn't play like a freshman," Duke coach Gail Goestenkor said.Alison Bales added 15 points and nine rebounds and dominated inside, while All-American Monique Currie finished with 12 points after sitting out much of the first half with foul trouble. Currie and Bales are two of five starters returning from a team that went 31-5 and advanced to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament last season."I saw a lot of good players on the floor tonight," Penn State coach Rene Portland said about Duke. "They have some nice shooters, but their inside game is very, very difficult to play."Bales, a 6-foot-7 center, had three inches on Penn State post player Amanda Brown and had her way inside for much of the game.Kamela Gissendanner led Penn State (0-1) with 19 points, while Brown had 13 points before fouling out. The Lady Lions shot just 31 percent (17-of-55) and lost at home for the first time since Dec. 21, 2003 -- a span of 21 games.Penn State narrowed a double-digit first half lead to seven a couple of times, thanks in part to the play of reserves Adrienne Squire and Courtney Molinaro.After Waner hit two free throws, Squire hit an open 3 from the right corner to cut the deficit to 36-29 with about three minutes left in the first half, firing up the crowd.But Duke dominated from the start of the second half. Waner helped early on and looked energized, rushing back on defense, clapping her hands and jumping up on her toes after hitting a 3-pointer early in the half."It was a great atmosphere to play in my first game," said Waner, who added that she had to work on her game more.Portland is rebuilding at Penn State after having just three players return from last year's team.Freshman point guard Brianne O'Rourke, making her debut, played well at times but shot 1-of-8 and had nine turnovers. O'Rourke and her teammates were, at times, rattled by Duke's pressure."I definitely look at this as a learning experience for me," O'Rourke said. "With as many turnovers as I had its really not acceptable, especially being a point guard."Before the game, about a dozen Penn State students protested outside the Bryce Jordan Center against Portland in connection with a former player's allegations of discrimination against the Lady Lions coach.
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