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Christmas Trims the Tree, 56-52
Game Recap
 
Christmas Trims the Tree, 56-52
Photo Gallery
Christmas Trims the Tree, 56-52
By Rob Clough
December 16, 2008

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Player by Player Commentary & Stats





Sorry, the rest of our game analysis, including "The Game Turned When...", "X-Factor", "Areas for Improvement", and "Ramifications", is available to DWHoops members only.

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Chante Black

 
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TOT37144-90-06-824-2-61233
   

Chante struggled greatly in the first half of this game as Stanford threw the kitchen sink at her: double and triple teams, traps and physical play. She was held scoreless in the first twelve minutes of the half until she finally managed to head to the foul line. She had 2 turnovers, shot 1-4 in the first half and was beaten down the floor three times in a row by Stanford's fast break. She struggled to score in the post, trying to go one-on-one or popping quick jumpers instead of patiently working down low. A spectacular lob from Christmas that Chante caught above the rim and banked in seemed to get her going a bit. In the second half, she scored on a couple of three point plays, hit a key free throw down the stretch, and passed to Christmas for her back-breaking shots. Chante cut down mistakes in the second half and helped account for 16 of her team's 26 points. It was encouraging to see her bounce back after a bad first half, especially against a team with a frontcourt like Stanford's.



Joy Cheek

 
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Joy was another player who struggled against Stanford's frontcourt as she was whistled for traveling and battled foul trouble. She did hit a couple of key shots in the first half, including a short jumper and a three that gave Duke a lead. Joy seemed to have trouble finding a rhythm in this game.



Carrem Gay

 
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Other than hitting an early jumper, Carrem struggled in this game. She was whistled for an offensive foul early in the game and this seemed to throw her a bit. Gay struggled with fouls and with turnovers at times, though she did take an important charge in the first half.



Abby Waner

 
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Abby kept Duke in the game early with some nice mid-range jumpers and a cut, scoring 6 of Duke's first 8 points when the Cardinal were threatening to run away with the game early on. Those shots were taken within the flow of the offense, in plays designed for her. Later, when Duke was simply running time off the clock and didn't seem to have much of a plan, Abby was forced to try to create awkward shots which missed. However, she hit several key free throws down the stretch (including a pair that snapped a Duke drought and the foul shot that sealed the win), found Black for a huge three point play midway through the second half, and amazingly blocked a couple of shots early thanks to good positioning. As always, the effort was sparkling, but everything was a struggle for her.



Keturah Jackson

 
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KJ contributes so much to Duke in some areas and is so frustrating to watch in others. She's never met an off-balance shot that she didn't want to take on the one hand, but is also Duke's most aggressive slasher. She's not meant to be a point guard for any sustained length of time, but her ability to drive opens things up for others. She's Duke's most disruptive presence on defense and best ballhawk (she had two big steals in this game), but is also prone to foul trouble. Though she had only two field goals in this game they were both crucial shots. One of them was a three point play on a drive in traffic that brought Duke within 3 points, and the other was a drive that gave Duke a six-point cushion with under three minutes to go.



Jasmine Thomas

 
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Coach McCallie described Jasmine as about "60%" effective at this point. While she's healthy, she hasn't had the reps or conditioning to be back in game shape. Her shot, which is erratic even when she's healthy, looked especially rusty in this game. Of course, she also had a couple of beautiful scoop shots that spun in and out. Where Jasmine made her mark in this game was in running the offense and pressuring the ball. Even though she's not yet at full speed, she was able to force Stanford into wasting a lot of time dribbling instead of getting the ball inside to its money players. Jaz also Waner and Black on cuts and hit Gay for a jumper; her passing helped Duke get its offense going in the first half. The Devils certainly suffered when she went to the bench with two fouls. We'll see how she holds up this weekend with back-to-back contests.



Shay Selby

 
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Shay made a first half appearance in relief of Keturah Jackson and had a nice assist to Abby Waner off penetration. She missed a tough shot after she and Jasmine Thomas forced a turnover. I would have liked to have seen her get a few minutes in the second half, in part to relieve Abby.



Krystal Thomas

 
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Krystal was brought in for a few minutes, often in tandem with Chante in an effort to try to free her up a bit. She grabbed a couple of rebounds and missed a hook shot. She never looked like she was comfortable going up against Stanford's posts.



Bridgette Mitchell

 
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This was honestly one of the best performances of her career, despite modest numbers. When Duke went down 17-8, Mitchell stepped up and sank a jumper on the move. She attacked the basket and got fouled, helping Duke during their first half comeback. Where Mitchell made her biggest mark was on defense. She forced a jump ball and later used her length to pick off an errant pass (when she was at the top of Duke's zone) and immediately found an open Christmas to trigger a mini-run. She added energy to a team that had looked sluggish but managed to stay in control while doing so.



Karima Christmas

 
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This game was a realization of Karima's enormous potential. From the very beginning of her career, I saw Karima as an essential glue player that you never wanted to see leave the floor. Her sheer relentlessness at both ends makes up for an occasional missed defensive assignment or cheap foul. This was a game where she put it all together. The moment she was inserted into the game, she was a non-stop ball of energy, forcing held balls and attacking the boards. She threw a beautiful lob pass at an angle to Black, who finished this spectacular play. Christmas also attacked the rim with a drive and 2 free throws. It didn't take long for her to be inserted into the game in the second half, and she responded with a basket off the dribble and a huge three to push Duke's lead up to 5. She finished in transition off a Mitchell steal and then had Duke's only points in a six-minute drought, her second career three. I asked Karima if those shots felt good leaving her hand, and she confessed that she didn't think her first three would go in--but when it did, she knew she wanted a second shot to take. Karima also attacked the offensive boards and came up with a key rebound with under thirty seconds left and then had the presence of mind to dribble away from defenders and pass the ball to a superior foul shooter (Abby). The way Christmas went up again and again to get key rebounds against bigger players was remarkable. Duke had a mismatch against Stanford whenever she was in the game, but Christmas will have to be careful in how and when she plays. Her ability to avoid foul trouble was crucial for Duke, especially since it enboldened her to become even more aggressive and physical inside. Hopefully this will spark Christmas to look to become more dominant at both ends.



Kathleen Scheer

 
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Kathleen played for a couple of minutes late in the first half, in part to help relieve Duke's extreme foul trouble (four players with 2 fouls apiece). She committed a foul and grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw. She did a nice job trapping the ball when Duke was in its press.



Chelsea Hopkins

 
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TOTDid Not Play - Injured
   

Chelsea did not dress for this game as she is still recovering from surgery on her lateral meniscus. A timetable for her return to the floor has not been discussed.





Christmas Trims the Tree, 56-52
Game Recap
 
Christmas Trims the Tree, 56-52
Photo Gallery

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