by Mike Potter
N.C. State will play in the championship game of Vanderbilt's tournament, and Duke finished a sweep of its two games in Cancun.
But a slow start sealed N.C. Central's fate at George Mason in the other women's basketball game involving the Triangle's Division I schools on Friday.
Duke's Jasmine Thomas (pictured) had the best game of the night, producing her first career triple-double in the Blue Devils' 74-43 win over Marquette.
Freshman Marissa Kastanek led all scorers with 16 points, while Lucy Ellison added career highs of 15 points and 15 rebounds as the Wolfpack got past Northwestern State 76-67 in the first round of the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament at Memorial Gym.
The Wolfpack, which improved to 5-1 with its fourth straight win, will play at 5 p.m. Saturday against host No. 21 Vanderbilt (5-0), which demolished Austin Peay 95-51 on Friday. First-year N.C. State coach Kellie Harper is an alumna of Vanderbilt's arch-rival Tennessee, where she helped lead the Lady Vols to three straight NCAA titles.
Nikitta Gartrell added 13 points and Tia Bell 10 for the Wolfpack.
Brooke Shepherd's 13 points led four double-digit scorers for Northwestern State (2-3).
Duke wallops Marquette
Jasmine Thomas put on a show, leading five players in double figures as No. 10 Duke rolled over the Golden Eagles.
Bridgette Mitchell led the Blue Devils with 13 points while Jasmine Thomas had 11 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. Krystal Thomas and Allison Vernerey had 12 points each for Duke (5-1), which also got 11 points from Joy Cheek.
Lauren Thomas-Johnson had 13 points as the only double-figure scorer for Marquette (4-2).
The next game for the Blue Devils is on Thursday at 7, when Ohio State visits Cameron Indoor Stadium in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
NCCU can't hang with Patriots
Joanna Miller kept up her scoring pace with 21 points and Shanise Blanks added 14, but a slow start took the Eagles (0-5) out of the game in a 72-57 road loss.
Amber Easter had 20 points and 15 rebounds to lead GMU (3-2), which burst out to a 24-4 lead and was never again up by single digits.
Angelee LaTouche added 18 points and Brittany Poindexter 15 for the Patriots.
The Eagles visit future MEAC opponent South Carolina State on Tuesday night.