No. 6 Duke 82, W. Kentucky 55

Duke came into the season knowing it had one of the best

freshman classes in school history, and the No. 6 Blue Devils have

so far lived up to the hype.

Haley Peters, the 6-3 winger, has made the biggest splash so

far, and continued it on Sunday by coming off the bench for a

season-high 17 points in an 82-55 rout of Western Kentucky.

Jasmine Thomas added 16 points, four assists and four steals for

the Blue Devils (4-0) while Kathleen Scheer, the junior forward who

has started all four games after averaging 6.4 minutes in her first

two seasons, chipped in 10 points and six rebounds.

”A bunch of people had great passes today,” Peters said.

”When the ball’s in their hands you have to be ready, and I’m just

confident whenever they have the ball in their hands we’re in a

good spot as a team. I just keep moving and our guards, especially

today, do a great job of attacking and making the great pass. My

first two baskets were wide-open layups that anyone could make. I’m

having a lot of fun.”

It was the highest point total and largest victory margin of the

season for Duke, which will play its next four games on the

road.

”There were some good things out there,” Duke coach Joanne P.

McCallie said. ”I thought everybody contributed and played hard.

We worked on a lot of things today and went with a lot of different

combinations. We’ve got an excellent passing team. The freshmen are

playing very veteran-smart and they’re very hungry to get

better.

Janae Howard had 15 points, LaTeira Owens 14 and Arnika Brown 11

for Western Kentucky (0-3), which has lost to Duke each of the past

three seasons.

”If there is a positive in this game it’s that our basketball

team has really struggled in our first two opening games with just

starting a game,” Hilltoppers coach Mary Taylor Cowles said. ”I

thought today Western Kentucky was more ready to play, but against

a team like Duke you’ve got to be more ready to maintain that kind

of intensity and focus.”

Duke shot 51 percent to 38 for the Hilltoppers, who committed 33

turnovers to 21 for the Blue Devils. Duke finished with season

highs of 23 assists and 17 steals.

The Blue Devils led 40-23 at halftime behind 11 points from

Thomas, who also had three assists and three steals over the

period.

Duke took the lead for good at 6-4 on a pair of Krystal Thomas

free throws with 16:07 left in the first half. The Blue Devils got

a working margin at 26-16 when Peters hit a 3-pointer at the 8:37

mark to complete an 8-0 run.

”I think the strong point of our team is we have so many people

who can create different passes,” said Krystal Thomas, who

finished with eight points and seven rebounds. ”We’re all trying

to work on the different elements of our game trying to find each

other.”

Duke put the game away with an 11-0 run early in the second

half.