Scores

Final

Holy Cross 44

(15-18, 7-7 Patriot)

Duke 81

(31-1, 15-0 ACC)

    7:00 PM ET, March 18, 2007

    1 2 T
    HC 22 2244
    DUKE 41 4081

    Top Performers

    Holy Cross: B. O'Dell 19 Pts, 2 Reb

    Duke: A. Waner 26 Pts, 3 Reb

    Waner drains six 3s in first half, Blue Devils cruise to next round

    Associated Press

    RALEIGH, N.C. -- Abby Waner is best known for knocking down 3-pointers. The Duke star made an impression this time by knocking a 3 into the stands.

    With her near-perfect shooting nights becoming common, it was her improbably emphatic blocked shot at the other end of the court that sent the message to the rest of the NCAA Tournament field: Forget that recent loss. Duke is back.

    "I felt like Alison Bales for a little bit," Waner said, referring to her teammate, the nation's leading shot-blocker. "It's nice to be in her spotlight for once."

    Waner hit six 3-pointers and scored 20 of her 26 points during an overwhelming first half, and top-seeded Duke cruised to an 81-44 rout of the Crusaders on Sunday night in the first round of the Greensboro Regional.

    Bales had 13 points, and Joy Cheek and Carrem Gay added 10 apiece for Duke (31-1), which will face Temple on Tuesday in the second round.

    Duke never trailed, spent most of the game comfortably leading the Crusaders and looked nothing like the listless team that was upset by inspired North Carolina State two weeks ago in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

    "As the game went along, I felt like we got a little bit better on both ends of the floor, which was really the purpose of this game -- it was just to get the kinks out and get our legs back under us," coach Gail Goestenkors said.

    After 15 days to stew, the rejuvenated Blue Devils came out determined to get any shot they wanted. Duke shot 54 percent, Waner finished 6-of-8 from beyond the arc and Bales swatted away five attempts.

    "Once you don't play for almost two weeks, everything's a little bit rusty -- your passes aren't as crisp, your defense isn't quite as perfect as you want it to be," Bales said.

    Waner and Bales teamed to provide a pair of lasting images midway through the second half of this one. A moment after Christy Cushnie released a 3 from the left corner, Waner soared to swat it way out of bounds.

    Then, after the Crusaders inbounded the ball, Bales rejected Brittany Keil's 3 from the key, starting a fast break that ended with Waner's layup.

    Waner's block "was a perfect 10 on my scale," Bales said.

    That scene took place as the Blue Devils reeled off 13 straight points during an 18-2 run that pushed their lead to 18 points, a backbreaking stretch capped when Lindsey Harding's 3 from the left corner made it 27-9 with 9:34 left.

    Waner turned the first half into a personal game of around-the-horn, swishing 3s from nearly every stop around the perimeter. Her 3 from the left wing in the final seconds of the half made it 41-22 at the break.

    "I'd be a little bit worried coming into the tournament if I felt I was rusty," Waner said. "Even though we had 15 days off, that still doesn't mean you can't get in the gym and shoot."

    The nine-year-old record of eight 3s in a first- or second-round game, set by Utah's Julie Krommenhoek in 1998, might would have been in jeopardy -- but Waner didn't attempt any 3s in the second half.

    "We're going to ride this as long as we can," Goestenkors said.

    Patriot League champion and 16th-seeded Holy Cross (15-18) -- one of two teams in the field with losing records -- probably should have known a blowout was coming. Duke won the previous three meetings by an average of 45 points, including an 84-36 rout last January in Worcester, Mass.

    "Of the three teams that I've had play Duke in the last three years, this team may be the least talented of the three on paper, but did the best job against Duke," coach Bill Gibbons said. "Don't look at the final score. Look at how they represented Holy Cross ... and the Patriot League."

    The Crusaders arrived late, only to exit early. Holy Cross spent Friday in Boston and didn't make it to Raleigh until Saturday afternoon because of the severe weather which crippled the Northeast.

    Freshman Bethany O'Dell had 19 points and made four 3s, but was one of just five Crusaders to score.

    "Coach said 'You're open. Take the shot,' so that's what I did, and it went in," O'Dell said.

    Holy Cross fell to 1-12 in tournament play and is winless in eight first-round games since knocking off sixth-seeded Maryland in 1991. Keil reached the 1,000-point plateau at Holy Cross with a 3-pointer in the final minute.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    HC
    DUKE
    Points 44 81
    FG Made-Attempted 17-45 (.378) 32-59 (.542)
    3P Made-Attempted 8-19 (.421) 8-17 (.471)
    FT Made-Attempted 2-3 (.667) 9-16 (.563)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 38

    Game Leaders

     
    HC
    DUKE
    PointsB. O'Dell 19A. Waner 26
    ReboundsB. Keil 5A. Bales 8

    Series

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Mar 18, 2007 @DUKE 81, HC 44Recap | Box Score