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DWHoops Minus 10: 1999, Part 4
 
Christmas Trims the Tree, 56-52
Team Box
Christmas Trims the Tree, 56-52
By Rob Clough
December 16, 2008

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The Nutshell


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Duke's win over Stanford had more to do with effort and will than execution or planning. It was a classic matchup of size vs. speed, and foul trouble led to Duke going even smaller and quicker against the Cardinal's tall trees--a development that happened to win the game for the Devils. Duke has done nothing but win ugly this year, slogging through confused-looking offensive sets, careless passes and long scoring droughts. However, Duke's effort and defensive cohesion has rarely wavered even in the face of an inefficient offense, and it was Duke's resolve and toughness that allowed them to win a brutally physical game.

When I saw that Dee Kantner was officiating this game, I knew right away that there would be no touch fouls called and that it would be war in the paint. Duke was used to physical, halfcourt basketball and didn't get rattled by this kind of game. Stanford was clearly not ready to play this style of hoop, and it showed in their awful free throw shooting (44%), their ineffective three point shooting (25%) and their 23 turnovers. The biggest key to Duke's win was the play of its bench. While Bridgette Mitchell was a huge spark at both ends, it was the career night of Karima Christmas that carried Duke in the second half. Time after time, she outleaped taller Stanford players for rebounds, attacked the basket and even hit her first two career three pointers. This was an important game for Duke, because if this "Uglyball" style of play can work against a team with the offensive weapons that Stanford possesses, it could work against anyone.

Our Game Recap will be published later today, all other coverage is available now.



DWHoops Minus 10: 1999, Part 4
 
Christmas Trims the Tree, 56-52
Team Box

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