The opponent in the afternoon quarterfinal is No. 9 seed Wake Forest (15-16), which is coming off a 74-68 win over Virginia in Thursday’s first-round matchup. The Deacons have to be playing on Sunday to have any chance for post-season play.
The Blue Devils will be heavily favored, having beaten the Deacons 82-39 on Feb. 11 in Winston-Salem and with an unlikely 34-game winning streak in the series.
Duke sets up a semifinal meeting with Georgia Tech by getting a comfortable 79-50 victory.
Thomas hits the floor at the 14:28 mark with the Blue Devils leading 12-4 after teammate Shay Selby falls on top of her after a collision with the Deacons’ Sandra Garcia.
But her teammates do just fine without her, increasing the lead to by the time Thomas makes a surprise reappearance with Duke up 26-11at 7:15 of the half with tape covering over half her left leg.
Duke leads 37-19 at halftime after shooting 54.2 percent for the period to the Deacons’ 24.1. Thomas and Selby score eight points apiece before the break while Brittany Waters has nine for Wake Forest.
The Deacons compete, but can never get the margin closer than 12 after halftime. The closest approach is 47-35, following a 3-pointer from Garcia with 11:38 left in the game.
Duke’s largest margin is the final score, which happens on four occasions over the final 4:12.
Three freshmen hit double figures for Duke as Richa Jackson scores 15 points, Haley Peters 11 and Chelsea Gray — who is still recuperating from an ankle injury — hits 10.
Garcia paces the Deacons with 19 points while Brittany Waters adds 11 in the final game of her career.
The Blue Devils shoot 50.9 percent to Wake’s 31.7, outrebound them 43-34 and commit 20 turnovers to the Deacons’ 20.
They said it …
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie: “It was just a strong game for us, a great 40-minute attack. I thought we played really focused and I liked how we finished in particular, executing some great basketball, sharing the basketball and shooting high-percentage shots. We’re very fortunate that Jazz is OK. That was a very scary knee hyperextension. It was great to have Jazz back in the game and know she could move a little bit. I’m sure it will be very, very sore.”
Wake coach Mike Petersen: “We just didn’t make our shots. We played pretty hard. We made them run in the second half when we made a couple of shots. But you know — I know it sounds like a cop out — but it’s a ‘make-miss’ game. They made shots. They did a good job. They hit shots when they were open.”
Jasmine Thomas: “When I went down I was thinking ‘Ouch, ouch, ouch.’ And then I mean, initially it hurt pretty bad, but I could start to feel it loosen up and I knew that I could get up and walk. I was just thinking ‘Jog, walk off the court’ the best I could because I knew (the training staff) would take care of me.”
Gray: “Going into the Carolina game (Sunday) my foot was dragging. Like I didn’t have any movement and I was really stiff. And then coming into this game, I had more movement. I was able to push off and jump and everything. So it was a good confidence-booster. I’m able to play now, so it was good.”
Stars of the game
1. Jasmine Thomas.
Play of the game
Thomas’ steal and layup to make it 30-11 with 6:05 left in the first half.
Duke leads 53-16.
Duke: Won 4.
WFU: Lost 1.
Duke vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, 1 p.m.
Wake Forest in 2011-12 season opener.