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Duke uses 24-6 second-half run to put away Penn State

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Facing the best defense it has seen this season, No. 5 Duke responded with its best shooting performance so far in a 70-42 victory over Penn State on Tuesday.

Layups helped.

The Blue Devils made 25 of 54 shots from the field (46.6 percent) and all but five of their baskets came from in close. And all but two free throws of Abby Waner's game-high 16 points came on fast-breaks.

"More than anything else, we were playing good defense," Waner said. "You play good defense and you get those easy baskets."

Duke coach Gail Goestenkors was pleased to see all her players "on the same page," with defense leading to 27 Duke points off 23 Penn State turnovers.

"This was the best we've played as a team, by far," Goestenkors said. "I thought it was some of the best defense I've seen us play -- not just this team, but any team at Duke."

Penn State held its previous four opponents to 31-percent shooting and made 45 percent of its own shots. Duke limited the Nittany Lions to 18-for-60 shooting (30 percent).

Mashea Williams led Penn State (4-1) with 12 points.

Point guard Lindsey Harding had 11 points and six assists, and 6-foot-7 senior Allison Bales had nine points to go with a career-high nine blocks for Duke (4-0).

Goestenkors said Duke wanted to go inside more to Bales.

"We want to go inside-out, start the game that way," Goestenkors said. "When they started to double-team (Bales), our guards did a really good job cutting off her."

Williams hit five of her first seven shots and had 10 points by the break. But Duke's balanced scoring produced 15-for-30 shooting in the first half, with eight Blue Devils making at least one basket as they took a 37-25 halftime lead.

Williams hit her last two baskets early into the second half, including a 3-pointer that had the Nittany Lions within 41-30 with 16:26 to play.

Penn State missed 11 of its next 12 shots and had six turnovers during a span of 11:35.

"They held to 17 points in the second half," Penn State coach Rene Portland said. "I don't think we've seen that kind of pressure, and obviously they did a great job limiting the things that we could do."

Waner hit her first four shots of the half to key Duke's decisive run.

"I really start sometimes to get complacent with the 3-point shot and the outside shot," Waner said. "To be a more complete player, I need to be able to get to the basket."

Monday's win marked Duke's third home game in five days before the school's Thanksgiving break. The Blue Devils play their first road game Nov. 25 at Michigan.