W. Kentucky 47, Duke 70Nov 27, 2009 - 2:18 AM CANCUN, Mexico (AP) -- After a few restful days, Jasmine Thomas and the Duke Blue Devils wanted to play basketball.
Thomas scored 20 points and No. 10 Duke beat Western Kentucky 70-47 on Thursday in the Caribbean Challenge.
"I definitely was just ready to play," said Thomas, who hit five 3-pointers. "We have liked being here in this nice weather and really enjoying Cancun, but there isn't anything like playing a game. We have been so anxious to play. I just waited for the shots that felt right to take. I wasn't forcing anything."
Thomas helped Duke get out to a quick lead scoring seven points during an 11-0 run in the first half. She only missed one of her six shots in the first half.
"She was very opportunistic with the spacing on offense, the shots that came and she just took them in the flow of the offense," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said of Thomas. "She was just real outstanding."
The Blue Devils (4-1) led by nine at halftime and opened the second half with a 14-3 run over the first 6 minutes to take control of the game. Western Kentucky cut its deficit to 15 on Kenzie Rich's 3-pointer that made it 42-27, but the Blue Devils quickly stretched the lead to 20 and put the game away.
Courtney Clifton scored 11 points to lead the Lady Toppers (3-1). Lashay Davis added 10.
"We just didn't respond with the same intensity that we had in the first three games, and what you need to do against the 10th-ranked team in the country," Lady Topper coach Mary Taylor Cowles said.
Allison Vernerey had 10 points for Duke, which shot 23-for-29 from the free-throw line.
The Blue Devils, who will face Marquette on Friday, led 18-13 late in the first half and extended the advantage to 12 before Clifton's 3-pointer made it 28-19 at the half.
"Duke is a tremendous ballclub, and what we ran into tonight is a situation where we had to execute our offense and we just didn't do that," Taylor Cowles added. "Thomas was outstanding for Duke tonight, and we just didn't have an answer for her."
The Blue Devils improved to 3-0 against the Lady Toppers with the win. Duke beat Western Kentucky 59-56 last season.
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