by Mike Potter
CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Joanne P. McCallie got a little creative when three members of her Duke women's basketball team were too banged up to play in the team's annual Blue/White game.
The coach invited some boys to play.
Not just any, of course, but the crew of Duke men who oppose her team in practice on a regular basis and sometimes win the battles.
The Blue Devils, ranked as high as No. 4 nationally in some preseason prognostications, led 10-1 early and 35-9 after the first of four 10-minute quarters, rolling to a 110-43 rout over a team the public address announcer occasionally referred to as the "Washington Generals."
Senior wing Bridgette Mitchell - whose career high is 20 - hit 24 points with eight rebounds and four steals in just 17 minutes to lead the charge. Jasmine Thomas, Duke's other regular returning starter added 18 points and six assists while Kathleen Scheer had 14 points including four 3-pointers, Karima Christmas chipped in 13 points and Joy Cheek 10.
Jason Pifer led the guys with eight points and nine rebounds, while three teammates chipped in six points each.
The women's team outrebounded the opposition 47-29, outshot them 58.9 percent from the floor and committed 19 turnovers to their 32. McCallie's squad was 12-for-25 from 3-point range.
The team played without senior wing Keturah Jackson (shoulder) and sophomore guard Shay Selby (knee), both of whom are expected to be ready for the season opener. Freshman forward Janee Johnson was ill.
They said it ...
McCallie: "It was just a great day to get out of practice and get out and play a little bit in a game-like atmosphere. I thought the guys did a great job of hustling down the floor. I was proud of our team's effort. I thought we fought hard, I thought we shared the ball well, and we were really sharp at key times. ... I thought (Mitchell) had some excellent leadership, especially in her rebounding and her attack, and Jasmine as well. It was pretty balanced today, and I thought we got better. I think the maturity of our team was evident. We played pretty hard."
Mitchell: "Everyone put in the work this summer. Our preseason workouts were incredible. Everyone was going hard and I think that transferred over into the first scrimmage. ... My shot is improved, my confidence in it to shoot it. I'm a senior, and need to show my teammates the confidence I have when we go out onto the floor."
Jasmine Thomas: "Toughness has always been an emphasis with this program. Now everything's coming together. We understand that we can't be 'out-toughed.' We have to hit first and hit often."
What does it all mean?
That Duke is in pretty good form in October and that no, if you're a guy who was not all-conference on a good high school team you would not have a chance to start for a Top 25 college women's squad.
Stars of the game
2. Jasmine Thomas.
3. Christmas, who also had five assists and four steals.
Play of the game
Mitchell's layup off a Christmas steal that made it 4-0.
Duke vs. Wingate (exh.), Nov. 5, 7 p.m.