No. 1 Duke Presses and Starches Tigers

Durham, N.C.--A 22-0 run in the second half turned the championship game of the Duke Classic into a rout as the host Blue Devils put the heat on the visiting Auburn women's basketball team on Sunday.

The Blue Devils, ranked No. 1 nationally, improved to 5-0 with the 69-37 victory over the Tigers, who slipped to 3-2.

Auburn was dominated on the boards 41-26, but an even bigger problem was the full-court pressure that caused 29 turnovers for the Tigers, much to the delight of the partisan crowd of 5,634 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Tigers trailed 33-23 at halftime and cut the margin to seven points, but Duke took control the rest of the way and outscored the visitors 36-14 in the second half.

"We couldn't handle the press," said Auburn coach Nell Fortner. "We just couldn't get the ball where we wanted to in the press. Their size is very good. You've got guards who can't see over the trap or through the trap, and it really makes a difference.

"They cover you up quick and don't let you pass it where you want to pass it," Fortner added. "They're very effective in that, very aggressive, very physical, and it's obviously very effective."

Auburn got 10 points apiece from senior center Marita Payne and freshman guard Whitney Boddie, who was named to the all-tournament team despite seven turnovers in 25 minutes of action vs. Duke.

Commenting on the Duke press, Boddie said, "It was really difficult. They're just intense. It was hard getting open trying to get the ball, and when you did get the ball, they just sandwiched you. I couldn't really see over the defense.

"Honestly, they did rattle us a little bit," the freshman added. "We lost our composure, but I think we will learn a lot from this game."

Sophomore forward Alexis Ogubie scored nine points for the Tigers, who hit just 35.9 percent of their shots. Auburn was 1-5 on threes and 8-13 at the foul line.

Duke shot 40.9 percent and hit 7-19 threes and 8-14 foul shots. Lindsey Harding, the tournament MVP, scored eight points, added seven assists and five rebounds for the Blue Devils.

Auburn returns to action on Tuesday at 7 p.m. vs. Jacksonville State at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.


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