Two Thomases lead No. 5 Duke past Wake
By JOEDY McCREARY
AP Sports Writer
WINSTON-SALEM (AP) -- Duke figured out an easy way to bounce back from a loss to an instate rival: Rout another one.
Jasmine Thomas scored 17 points, Krystal Thomas added 12 points and 12 rebounds, and the fifth-ranked Blue Devils rolled past Wake Forest 82-39 on Friday night.
Allison Vernerey added 12 points to help Duke (22-2, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat Wake Forest for the 34th straight time and put a tough loss to rival North Carolina in the past.
"I don't think you have to lose to learn, and unfortunately, we lost a couple of games and I think all of us have been very motivated by that," coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "You have fire from what you learn ... but you have to try to bring that in some way to the next opportunity."
The Blue Devils never trailed in this one, held a 52-31 rebounding advantage and outscored the Demon Deacons 46-14 in the paint.
"If we all stand in the lane and hold hands in a circle, we get in their way enough that they don't get to 46" points in the paint, Wake Forest coach Mike Petersen said.
Wake Forest (12-14, 3-7) scored just 13 points during the final 17 minutes and was held to a season-low point total. The Demon Deacons lost for the seventh time in 10 games and haven't beaten Duke since the 1993 ACC tournament.
Chelsea Gray finished with 10 points for Duke, which held the Demon Deacons scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the second half while scoring 12 straight points during a 31-5 run that made it a 40-point game.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Wake Forest managed only one field goal in a 12-minute stretch -- a layup by Brittany Waters with 11 minutes left. After Sandra Garcia's layup with 17:59 remaining, the Demon Deacons were 3 of 19 the rest of the way.
"We were just trying to finish strong," Vernerey said of her team's defense. "We have been talking a lot about playing 40 minutes and playing a whole game, whatever the score. We're not playing the scoreboard. We're playing for us to get better, and be aggressive through 40 minutes. That's what motivates us."
The Blue Devils had been stewing since Monday night's 62-60 loss to the 13th-ranked Tar Heels in which they could have forced overtime had Gray's layup at the buzzer not been blocked. That marked their second loss in three games, after a 20-0 start had left them as the nation's last unbeaten team.
Looking to avoid their first losing streak since 2007, the Blue Devils shot 50 percent while relying almost exclusively on high-percentage shots from close range to once again take care of the Demon Deacons.
When this game was at its closest, Duke simply dominated the interior at both ends of the floor. All but two of its 16 field goals in the first half came in the paint.
Duke used an early 16-6 run midway through the half to push its lead into double figures, then reeled off eight consecutive points during a 15-6 run that closed the half. Krystal Thomas had 10 points and six rebounds at the break, and Jasmine Thomas' 3-pointer with 15 seconds left made it 38-21.
Chelsea Douglas scored 11 points for Wake Forest, which hasn't beaten Duke in Winston-Salem since 1991.
"Duke's fifth in the country for a reason, and for us to beat them right now ... our margin for error is microscopic," Petersen said. "And clearly, we weren't anywhere near that fine edge tonight. Not even close. When that happens, this is what happens."
Updated February 11, 2011