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Hokies No Match in Rematch, 62-46
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Hokies No Match in Rematch, 62-46
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Hokies No Match in Rematch, 62-46
By Rob Clough
February 19, 2009

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Game Recap


A letdown after Duke's stirring win over Tennessee would be only natural, but a variety of circumstances arose to prevent that. First, the team is dealing with a bit of illness and injury. Keturah Jackson has the flu, so bad that she couldn't even sit on the bench for two hours. Joy Cheek also has the flu, and it showed in an uncharacteristically sluggish performance. Coach McCallie kept her out of the game for most of the second half to let her rest. Shay Selby turned her ankle in practice yesterday; she was walking fine but there was no reason to risk it.

While Duke was playing the worst team in the ACC in Virginia Tech, the Hokies took Duke down to the wire in Blacksburg. A team ravaged by injury, coach Beth Dunkenberger's charges always play with discipline and never give up. With the effort they exhibit, it forces a team to match it or else get caught in a much tighter game than one would expect. Initially, it seemed as though there was a little bit of Tennessee hangover during the game's first ten minutes. After a couple of early Chante Black baskets, VT easily sliced through Duke's presses and porous halfcourt defense, getting easy access to the basket with dribble penetration and then kicking out to wide-open jump shooters. Duke turned the ball over 9 times in the first ten or so minutes of the game.

The Devils caught a break in that VT was unable to build on an early 9-6 lead. Duke had a three minute scoring drought during which the Hokies managed to miss 7 consecutive shots. Bridgette Mitchell actually gave Duke the lead back with 2 free throws and later dished to Abby Waner for a three to make it 13-11. VT then squeezed off a couple of jumpers to take a 15-13 lead with 10:25 left in the half and forced a Duke turnover. When Lindsay Biggs missed, the teams traded great defensive plays for a couple of minutes. Finally, after a Waner steal, Carrem Gay grabbed an offensive rebound, swung it out to Waner and watched Abby stroke a three that gave Duke a 16-15 lead. That was the start of a 16-0 run.

Duke got 2 offensive rebounds on its next possession and Black wound up with a stickback. Then the bottom fell out for the Hokies, as they turned the ball over on 6 of their next 7 possessions. A Waner steal led to an easy basket for Karima Christmas. After a Christmas steal, Gay grabbed a miss by Jasmine Thomas and was fouled, pushing the lead up to 23-15. Christmas stole an inbounds pass for an easy score. Chelsea Hopkins, a key element of success for the press thanks to her ball pressure, picked up a couple of steals, feeding Black and then calling her own number. to end the run. The Hokies went seven minutes without a point and it would be too much for them to overcome. Down the stretch of the half, Jasmine Thomas hit a short baseline jumper and then found Waner in transition to make it 33-18. Duke dominated every category: points in the paint, points off turnovers (16-4), and fast break points (14-0). Most of Duke's turnovers were dead-ball turnovers: charges, lifting of pivot feet, etc. There weren't any open-court turnovers, so the fact that Duke had 10 miscues all told didn't hurt them much.

The second half was a sluggish affair, as Duke turned the ball over 11 more times and only shot 30%. During th first four minute segment of the half, Gay once again came up big, hitting a short jumper and then nailing a three in the corner. Cheek had a strong offensive rebound that led to Duke going up 43-26. While the Hokies were now putting points on the board, they weren't able to get much traction. On the other hand, the Devils were able to put their opponent away. At about the ten minute mark, Duke led by 16--the same margin they led by in Blacksburg before the Hokies came back. This time around, the Devils drained back-to-back treys (Waner and J.Thomas) to push the lead back up to 20. Duke's offense really started to sputter at that point but scored just enough points to be comfortable. A nifty Gay reverse layup after an offensive board made it 56-38 with 3:10 left, and two late K.Thomas baskets inside kept things comfortable.

Duke did what they had to do, never let the game get out of hand and dominated all of the areas that they needed to dominate. It wasn't pretty, but the team pressed through exhaustion, illness and general dog-days-of-February tedium to put themselves in a position where they were never really threatened once they seized the lead. Duke kept pace with their ACC foes (FSU and UNC also notched victories tonight) keeping alive the hopes of winning the regular season.



Hokies No Match in Rematch, 62-46
Team Box
 
Hokies No Match in Rematch, 62-46
Player by Player

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