DENVER (AP) -- Abby Waner scored 16 points and Duke (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) used a 19-0 run in the second half to pull away from Denver for a 57-37 victory Sunday night.
Waner, from suburban Denver, had two 3-pointers and kept constant pressure on Denver's guards as Duke turned a 29-25 deficit into a 44-29 lead. Joy Cheek added 11 points in the Blue Devils season opener and first game under coach Joanne P. McCallie, who replaced Gail Goestenkors, who left Duke to coach at Texas.Nnenna Akotaobi led Denver with nine points. The Pioneers shot 27 percent in the second half while falling to 0-11 against ranked teams.Duke started slowly and played out of sync in the first half. The Blue Devils shot 36 percent with 10 turnovers in the first half and trailed 27-25 at intermission.Denver had the lead at the break thanks to making six of 12 3-pointers. The Pioneers led by as much as 12-4 after Brooke Meyer's 3-pointer with 12:38 left. Duke tied it at 25 on a layup by Jasmine Thomas with 1:15 left in the first half. Meyer's two free throws ended the scoring for the half.The Blue Devils continued their funk for the first seven minutes of the second half, managing only two baskets. Fortunately, Denver had only a basket by Alisha Godette to show for it in that span and that came 1:33 into the second half.Denver missed its next 16 shots and went scoreless until a free throw by Akotaobi with 6:42 left.Chante Black finished the run with a rebound basket with 7:01 left that put Duke up 44-29. Waner came out of the game with 1:35 left after hitting a reverse layup and the Blue Devils ahead 54-36.The Blue Devils opened the season on the road for only the second time in the last 15 years. They are 25-8 in season openers.