Strong work by Vernerey, Thomas in the second half leads the Blue Devils to victory | Sports

Strong work by Vernerey, Thomas in the second half leads the Blue Devils to victory

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(Note: This story is not by Mike Potter, but by young photographer Al Drago, making his debut as a writer for Triangle Offense.)

Dukes Krystal Thomas guides the Blue Devils as the leading scorer with 16 total points.
  • Photo by Al Drago
  • Duke's Krystal Thomas guides the Blue Devils as the leading scorer with 16 total points.

CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Today the Boston College Eagles take on the No. 5 Blue Devils in the third annual “Think Pink” contest.

It is Duke’s third game in the past week, but that does not tire the Blue Devils out one bit, as they pick up intensity in the final eight minutes for a 66-53 victory.

This is the Blue Devils' 19th straight home win against ACC opponents. In the first half BC gives Duke a run for its money, as the lead changes five times. Duke’s largest lead is eight, and at the half it is only one.

Strong defense by Jaclyn Thoman keeps Boston College in the game, along with her back-to-back 3 pointers ending at 13:12 in the first half.

The Blue Devils come out stronger in the second half led by Allison Vernerey and Krystal Thomas, scoring 15 and 16 points overall.

Duke begins to pull away at 11:46 and has a 15 point lead at 7:08.

Krystal Thomas’ plan to keep the ball out of the hands of BC’s Carolyn Swords works, limiting Swords to only six points overall. With Thomas guarding Swords so aggressively, Swords does not have enough to set up plays like she usually does. While Swords is well guarded, Stefanie Murphy steps it up to add 13 points for the Eagles.

For Duke, Karima Christmas and Chelsea Gray also have good shooting days, Christmas shoots 14 and Gray adds 14.

Duke finishes with shooting 44.4% and gets a taste of what competitive post-season playing will be like.

Boston Colleges Jaclyn Thoman prepares to make a layup and add to her 21 overall points.
  • Photo by Al Drago
  • Boston College's Jaclyn Thoman prepares to make a layup and add to her 21 overall points.

They said it …

Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie: “Just a great basketball game. I was telling the team, it was a lot like an ACC Tournament game relative to our turnaround time traveling from Wake and playing this game and having to practice. I thought at times, it looked like that — just sort of rough-and-tumble, very physical. I was proud of our team rebounding strongly, the assists, the sharing of the basketball and particularly coming out in the second half and setting the tone for the half.”

“For Karima, I just think that’s the funniest double-double ever because it’s just like she’s a covert agent. It was kind of a quiet double-double, it was extremely effective and speaks volumes to the intensity that she was putting out on the floor. So, I do want to say the juniors, I really felt made a huge difference.”

Vernerey: “I think being physical was very important. Krystal [Thomas] was on her most of the time and I had the other post. Krystal was physical and stayed active. She didn’t let Swords set up and get into her game and take the game to us.”

Boston College coach Sylvia Crawley: “I think we did our part in the first half. The second half when we were in our zone, I thought Duke found a way to penetrate within our zone and started penetrating baseline, distanced our post players for easy layups and once we had those breakdowns within our zone defense, I think it changed the momentum of the game.”

What does it all mean?
Duke knows when to step it up and work together to beat a strong defensive team. And BC knows not to get too comfortable and step it up if it expects an NCAA bid.

Stars of the game
1. Thoman.
2. Vernerey
3. Krystal Thomas.

Play of the game
Thoman’s back-to-back 3 pointers at 13:12 in the first half to put BC in the lead.

Series record
Duke leads 8-2.

Streaks
Duke: Won 2.
BC: Lost 1.

Up next
BC vs. Miami, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Duke at Maryland, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Duke forward Allison Vernerey makes two of her 15 total points.
  • Photo by Al Drago
  • Duke forward Allison Vernerey makes two of her 15 total points.

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