7:00 PM ET, February 19, 2009
DURHAM, N.C. -- Sluggish on offense in the early going, Duke relied on its defense for a spark.Abby Waner scored 15 points and the Blue Devils (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) put together a 16-0 run during the first half to defeat Virginia Tech 62-46 on Thursday.Carrem Gay added 12 points for Duke (22-3, 9-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), which came up with steals on five consecutive possessions during its game-changing run."It gave us the energy we needed," guard Jasmine Thomas said. "We started off a little too slow, a little too flat. Once we got more paint shots and got our defense going, everything took off from there."Chante Black scored 11 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for Duke, which led 33-18 at halftime en route to its 11th consecutive victory over the Hokies (11-16, 1-11).The Blue Devils blew open the game midway through the first half, scoring 14 points off steals during their spurt. Virginia Tech, which took a 15-13 lead on a jumper by Lindsay Biggs with 10:23 remaining in the half, went scoreless for the next 6:50.The Hokies committed eight turnovers during that stretch, including four in a row in a 50-second span that resulted in Duke layups."We turned it over three or four times in a row, and they scored on it and went on a nice little stretch," Virginia Tech coach Beth Dunkenberger said. "Take away that and take away their offensive boards, and I'm not terribly disappointed with our output."Black and Gay grabbed six offensive rebounds apiece for the Blue Devils, who outrebounded the Hokies 48-33. Gay also added a season-high six steals and drew her team-leading 12th offensive foul."Interesting stat of six steals and six offensive rebounds for Carrem," said Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie, whose team led by at least 13 points throughout the second half. "If that doesn't speak to energy and activity, I just don't know what does."Gay's performance helped offset some missing production for Duke. Guards Shay Selby (sprained ankle) and Keturah Jackson (illness) missed the game, and forward Joy Cheek played just 12 minutes because of illness.The Blue Devils, who entered the game averaging a school-record 13.7 steals per game, posted 16 steals against Virginia Tech. The defensive effort helped Duke overcome 36.4 percent shooting from the field and 20 turnovers.Brittany Gordon scored 12 points to lead the Hokies who shot 33.4 percent from the floor. Virginia Tech committed 21 turnovers en route to its fifth consecutive loss.Biggs and Utahya Drye, Virginia Tech's top two scorers, combined for just 13 points on 6-of-27 shooting. The pair had been averaging 26.8 points per game between them."We focused on limiting penetration and being there on the catch and making sure that we disrupted all of their shots and made it tough for them to score," Gay said. "That was definitely a point of emphasis."