DURHAM, N.C. -- The Duke Blue Devils (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) were ready to handle Boston College's inside game on Sunday.
Krystal Thomas and Allison Vernerey slowed the Eagles' post game and scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, to lead the Blue Devils to a 66-53 win.Thomas played both ends well, scoring a season-high 16 points with 10 rebounds, three blocks and four steals. Vernerey scored in double figures for the third straight game, her second straight start."I thought Krystal was outstanding in doing exactly what she can do," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "With Allie, we were terrific attacking as well."Duke forward Karima Christmas added 14 points and 11 rebounds, six on the offensive end, in what McCallie called "the funniest double-double ever.""She was like a covert agent," McCallie said. "Quiet but extremely effective. ... We had a lot of people contribute. We had a lot of everybody in this game."Duke (23-2, 9-1 ACC), playing its third game in seven days, led by eight early in the first half.But Boston College, playing its first game in seven days, got back-to-back 3s from guard Jaclyn Thoman to get back into the game.Thoman made five 3-pointers and led Eagles (17-8, 4-6) with 21 points. Stefanie Murphy added 13.With Duke leading 29-28 at the half, the Blue Devils went on a 12-2 run midway through the second half en route to the win."I think Duke found a way to penetrate within our zone and started penetrating baseline," Boston College coach Sylvia Crawley said. "Once we had those breakdowns, I think it changed the momentum of the game."It helped that the Blue Devils held Boston College center Carolyn Swords, the Eagles' leading scorer, to only six points."Our plan was to limit [Swords'] touches," Thomas said. "Obviously she's a prolific scorer, we wanted to make her work on every possession, offensively and defensively."Thomas had a great incentive."I was a no-show, nonexistent last year," Thomas said. "Personally I wanted to come out and be here and not be someone coach couldn't put into the game."Duke has played better since a blowout loss to No. 2 UConn on Jan. 31 and a two-point loss to rival and North Carolina on Feb. 7. The Blue Devils' post game is a big reason why."[Thomas and Vernerey] are very hard to guard for a variety of reasons in terms of what they offer each other and how to guard both of them when they're moving so well," McCallie said. "We've just got to really grow that. I liked this game for that reason. It was very indicative of a lot of post games [we'll play] in the NCAA tournament and things of that nature. ... There's a lot we can build from this."