Redshirt junior guard Rebecca Greenwell turned in a career-high scoring performance as the Duke women’s basketball team lifted the lid on the 2016-17 campaign with a 98-38 win at Liberty Friday evening.
Greenwell led all players with 28 points, finishing 10-of-21 from the floor, and added six rebounds and five assists. She was joined in posting a career-best showing by redshirt sophomore Lyneé Belton, who turned in a career-high 12 points, and junior Erin Mathias, who had a career-high 10 rebounds.
Following a back-and-forth first quarter, the Blue Devils went ahead for good, beginning the year at 1-0 after the program’s first trip to Liberty’s Vines Center.
Sophomore guard Kyra Lambert led Duke in the early going, pouring in seven of the squad’s first 11 points. The Flames kept pace until the Blue Devils rattled off 10 unanswered points for a 24-18 margin at the end of the first quarter.
Greenwell helped Duke extend its lead, reaching double figures in the second quarter. Senior Kendall Cooper came off the bench to provide a boost, notching eight first-half points and two blocks as the Blue Devils outscored Liberty 24-6 in the second frame. A defensive effort that included 19 points off of turnovers sent Duke into the locker room at the intermission with a 48-24 advantage.
Lexie Brown opened the third quarter by draining her first three-pointer in a Blue Devil uniform. Lambert joined Greenwell and Belton in double figures as Duke stretched its lead to 30 midway through the period.
Though both teams struggled from behind the arc, the Blue Devils continued to exploit their advantage in the paint in the final quarter. The squad closed the contest on a 24-2 run over the last 8:36 to round out the season-opening victory.
Duke finished at 52 percent (36-of-69) from the field and went 21-of-25 at the free throw line while limiting the Flames to just 21 percent shooting (11-of-53) on the night. The Blue Devils led the rebounding margin, 49-32, and totaled 10 blocks and 24 assists.
Ola Makurat and Molly Reagan headlined the Liberty lineup with nine points each.
Lambert (13 points) and Cooper (10) joined Greenwell and Belton in recording double-figuring scoring for Duke.
The 98 points by the Blue Devils is the most by a Duke squad in the season opener since Nov. 13, 2009 at Houston Baptist (104).
Head coach Joanne P. McCallie’s squad hosts Penn for its home opener in Cameron Indoor Stadium Sunday at 2 p.m. on ACC Network Extra.
Duke at Liberty
Nov. 11, 2016
With the Duke Victory…
- Improved to 1-0 to start the regular season
- Moved the all-time series to 5-0 in favor of the Blue Devils against Liberty
- Is now 27-5 all-time against the Big South Conference
- Coach P is now 4-0 all-time versus the Big South Conference
- Moved to 9-2 in true road openers , 34-8 in season openers and won its 13th straight opener
Redshirt Junior Rebecca Greenwell
- Scored a career-high 28 points
- Tied a career high hitting 10 field goals and attempted a career-high 21 shots
- Tied a career high with five assists
- Is only 44 points away from reaching 1,000 career points
- In two career games against Liberty, scored 26 points and 28 points
Redshirt Junior Lexie Brown
- Totaled nine points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals in 28 minutes.
- Made her Duke debut, after redshirting the 2015-16 season.
Senior Oderah Chidom
- Swatted a career-high six shots, while notching eight rebounds, six points and three assists.
Freshman Leaonna Odom
- Had eight points and three rebounds in 13 minutes.
Redshirt Sophomore Lyneé Belton
- Scored a career-high 12 points, while grabbing four rebounds and dishing two assists
- Tied a career high with 10 points in the first half
- Hit 3-of-3 field goals and career-best 6-of-7 free throws
Junior Erin Mathias
- Made her fourth collegiate start
- Pulled down a career-high and team-best 10 rebounds, while scoring four points and dishing a career-high four assists.
Sophomore Kyra Lambert
- Scored 13 points, had five assists and four steals in 28 minutes
Other Duke Notes…
- Scored 98 points, which is the most in a season opener under head coach Joanne P. McCallie since 2009-10 at Houston Baptist (104).
- Hit 52.2 percent from the field
- Had 11 turnovers in the first half and only seven in the second half
- Held Liberty to only two free throws in the fourth period
- Limited Liberty to 20.8 percent for the game and 0-of-10 in the fourth quarter
- Totaled a 49-32 advantage in rebounds
- Dished 24 assists
- Swatted 10 shots and swiped 15 steals
- Hit 21-of-25 free throws for an 84.0 percentage
- Will host Penn Sunday, Nov. 13 in the home opener at 2 p.m. The game will be aired live on ACC Network Extra.