By Joedy McCreary
DURHAM, N.C. — Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie helped her current star reach a milestone. Then she gave one of her former players a lopsided loss.
Chante Black scored 16 points and reached 1,000 for her career in the eighth-ranked Blue Devils’ 98-31 rout of Maine on Sunday.
The 67-point margin was the most lopsided in the 45-year history of the Maine women’s program. It surpassed a 115-57 defeat to Virginia in 1984.
Krystal Thomas had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Joy Cheek added 10 points. Duke (2-0) shot nearly 48 percent while holding Maine to 26 percent shooting in helping McCallie beat the Maine program she led to six NCAA tournaments in eight seasons from 1992-2000.
Maine had more turnovers (38) than points. Duke turned those miscues into 44 points, held a 56-17 rebounding advan-tage, limited the Black Bears (0-1) to one field goal over the first 12½ minutes and held them to single digits until the final mi-nute of the first half.
“To be a great team, to be a special team, is just so hard in this day and age, because it takes so much mental focus to get that done,” McCallie said. “For us, it’s a process of main-taining our focus and urgency. … Your motivation cannot come from your opponent or the score. It’s got to come from something inside, and I think we’re getting to that point where it’s got to come from within if we’re going to be a special team.”
That focus helped McCallie claim a one-sided victory in her first meeting with one of her former players. Black Bears coach Cindy Blodgett played for McCallie from 1994-98.
“[McCallie’s and] my rela-tionship is far more than on the basketball court,” said Blodgett, whose Bears return to action Thursday at Central Connecti-cut State.
Freshman center Samantha Baranowski led Maine with nine points, while Amanda Tewsksbury provided seven points and four steals and freshman Jasmine Rush seven points and three assists.
Black became the 24th player in Duke history to reach the 1,000-point mark with her bas-ket in the post roughly 4 min-utes in. She had her way with Maine’s undersized lineup.
“Coming in, [being] re-cruited, I was mostly a defen-sive threat [and] shot-blocking and rebounding were things that I was pretty excellent in,” Black said. “I continue to work on defense, but offensively, I’ve grown a lot since freshman year. It’s still a growing proc-ess.”
Maine, which didn’t have a player taller than 6-foot-3 on the roster, had no answers for the 6-5 Black or the 6-4 Thomas, who helped the Blue Devils out-score the Black Bears 50-14 in the paint.
“I think what this does, big picture-wise, is it exposes all of our weaknesses,” Blodgett said.
Duke opened with a 14-1 run before the Black Bears man-aged their first field goal. Tewksbury’s putback with about 13½ minutes left was Maine’s only basket until Jas-mine Rush’s layup with 7½ minutes before the break.
The Blue Devils methodically increased their lead in this one. They needed just 4½ minutes to take a double-figure lead for good, pushed it to 20 midway through the first half and stretched it to 30 on Bridgette Mitchell’s free throw with 3:42 remaining.
Mitchell added 10 rebounds for Duke. All 12 Blue Devils played at least 12 minutes apiece.
“It’s one thing to get some playing time. It’s another to be extremely productive and in-tense during your time on the floor,” McCallie said. “Without question, we became a deeper team this weekend.”
In the first half, the Black Bears had more turnovers (21) than shots attempted (20).