Duke Dropped In Season Opener

Any dreams of a perfect season were quickly dashed for the Duke Women as the Blue Devils rallied, but could never pull ahead as the Texas Longhorns spoiled the season opener for Duke, 85-77 Sunday at Purdue University in the State Farm Tip-Off Classic.

Senior All-American Alana Beard was the primary target of the Texas defensive plan, as the Longhorns forced the Duke star into a woeful performance that saw her convert just four of her 17 field goal attempts en route to 12 points. With her shots not falling, Beard resorted to a more passive offensive role as playmaker, finishing with a game high seven assists.

While Duke's superstar wasn't hitting, the Longhorns were able to utilize their speed and transition game behind strong perimeter play from returning starters Jamie Carey and Heather Schreiber who finished with 14 and 15 points respectively.

Texas jumped out early to an early 9-2 lead before the Blue Devils were able to battle back to within a bucket when Monique Currie tipped in a Beard miss to cut the lead to a basket at 13-11. However Duke would get no closer for the remainder of the half as Texas would pull ahead by as many as 13 before heading into halftime with a 46-49 lead.

The second half began with the Blue Devils quickly slicing into the deficit behind the strong play of Iciss Tillis, who finished with a game high 18 points and 12 rebounds, to take the lead at 51-50 on a Currie free throw with 17:28 remaining.

Currie finished with 16 points and eight rebounds in her first official game in two seasons after spending last year recovering from a torn ACL.

The conditioning of Texas proved too much as Duke was never able to pull ahead by more than six points. With the Blue Devils reeling and spent, the Longhorns would put together a knockout blow in the form of a 24-9 spurt to put the game out of reach at 83-71 with less than a minute to play.

Freshman Brittany Hunter made her collegiate debut memorable by logging 16 points, five rebounds, and five blocks in 24 minutes.

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