Old Dominion Falls To No. 1 Duke, 65-52

November 29, 2002
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Nov. 29, 2002

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) - For the second time in a week, top-ranked Duke got challenged early but rallied for a comfortable victory.

Alana Beard scored 28 points as the Blue Devils recovered from a slow start to defeat Old Dominion 65-52 Friday night in the Paradise Jam.

The Blue Devils (4-0) can make a three-game sweep of the round-robin tournament by beating Arkansas on Saturday.

Duke led just 37-30 but held the Lady Monarchs (0-3) to 22 second-half points. Against second-ranked Tennessee on Nov. 24, the Blue Devils led 36-31 at the half and held the Volunteers to 21-percent shooting in the second half to win 76-55.

Despite the victories, Duke knows it's not playing the kind of basketball expected of a No. 1 team.

"We have yet to play at our top level," Beard said. "We need to put the little things together."

Old Dominion shot 41 percent in the first half, the same figure as the Blue Devils. Duke missed six of its first seven shots but used a 15-0 run to go ahead 19-6, holding the Lady Monarchs without a field goal for five minutes.

Old Dominion committed 11 of its 14 first-half turnovers during the stretch but bounced back with a 19-5 run to take a one-point lead. The Blue Devils closed the half with a 9-0 run for a seven-point lead.

Duke went scoreless for the first three minutes of the second half, but the Lady Monarchs managed just two points during that span. Duke finally took control with a 9-0 run that pushed the lead to 46-32. The Blue Devils kept the lead at double-digits the rest of the way.

"I give ODU a lot of credit. A couple of times I thought we were going to put them away," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "We did not show a lot of poise against their pressure."

Okeishia Howard had 16 points to lead Old Dominion, while Monique Coker had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Coming off a 71-34 rout of Hampton in Thursday night's first game, the Blue Devils shot just 37 percent and missed nine free throws. ODU shot just over 40 percent.

"We have to get better at our timing, but we're young," Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry said. "I am proud of the way we battled today."

Iciss Tillis added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Duke.