2:00 PM ET, November 19, 2006
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- With former high school All-Americans stacked on the bench, Duke (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) probably could have raced past short-handed Houston. Instead, the Blue Devils took things slower than usual in dominating the Cougars on Sunday.Duke (3-0) scored a mere eight points off its fast break, but the Blue Devils had little trouble in cruising to an 81-35 victory. Duke coach Gail Goestenkors noted that 13 of Duke's 16 first-half baskets were scored off assists."We wanted to make a concentrated effort to share the ball more," Goestenkors said. "At the last game, we were shooting off one or two passes, and everybody was trying to create for themselves. This game we really looked to work the ball more and share."The good news was that we were getting lots of really good looks. Now we need to make sure we just put them down."The Blue Devils hit just 33 of 74 shots from the field, but helped themselves with their 58-36 rebounding edge. Houston's 24 turnovers and Duke's 18 added to the lopsided outcome.Duke 6-foot-0 freshman Bridgette Mitchell and 6-7 starter Allison Bales scored 16 points apiece. Mitchell, who played just 18 minutes off the bench, also had 12 rebounds to help Duke score 29 second-chance points.Ten different Blue Devils scored, and none played more than 25 minutes. Abby Waner had 15 points and six assists. Wanisha Smith added 11 points.Sha'Ratta Hawkins came off the bench to score 13 points for Houston (0-2). With just seven healthy players, the Cougars got 17 points from their starters."They are just bigger, stronger and faster," Houston coach Joe Curl said. "It could have been a whole lot worse than it looked on the scoreboard, and it looked pretty bad."Duke led the entire game and was up 39-18 at halftime. Bales scored four of the Blue Devils' first seven points and helped them jump out to an 11-2 lead. That grew to 26-6 after a reverse layup by Mitchell with 6:11 left in the first half."Our guys just did a great job of getting the ball inside," Bales said.Duke scored on eight of its first 11 possessions of the second half, paced by three layups from Mitchell, to lead 56-27 with 12:55 to play.Bales hit two baskets midway through the second half to spark a 12-0 run that Duke used to put the game out of reach.Waner hit 3 of 7 3-pointers in the first half and had 11 points by the break. Bales had 10 in the first half. Bales blocked three shots in the game's first 15 minutes and ended up with four blocks."We could have four more, good players back in our lineup within a month," Curl said. "We get them back and we'll be better off."