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Lethargic Devils Outlast Eagles, 69-42
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Lethargic Devils Outlast Eagles, 69-42
Player by Player
Lethargic Devils Outlast Eagles, 69-42
By Rob Clough
November 19, 2009

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Game Recap


Duke's win over Georgia Southern wasn't exactly a rousing right-the-ship moment. There were certainly positive moments, as Duke had a couple of five minute stretches of dominant end-to-end basketball. The Devils were +24 on the boards, forced 24 turnovers and had all five starters in double figures. Duke also went through long offensive droughts as they made a number of bad decisions against GSU's game-long zone. A number of players went through curiously lethargic periods on the floor. For example, Joy Cheek scored ten points in the game's first eight minutes, and then didn't scratch the rest of the way. In her eight second half minutes, her only stat was a foul.

The one player who came out with a lot of energy and then sustained it the whole game was Keturah Jackson. She attacked the basket for a three point play and pushed the ball ahead to Krystal Thomas in the game's first two minutes to get Duke going. Georgia Southern then scored on a drive, got a steal and hit a three to take their only lead of the game. Duke responded with a 16-0 run over the next five minutes, led by Cheek's 10 points. She scored on a drop step, an up-and-under, a stickback plus the foul and a three. She also stole the ball and got the ball to K.Thomas.

GSU responded by packing the lane on every possession, daring Duke to shoot or awkwardly attack the basket. The Devils had trouble getting good shots for a couple of minutes and GSU crept back in, making the score 20-9 with eleven minutes left. The bench came and started moving the ball a bit better, as Chelsea Hopkins found Allison Vernerey and Alexis Rogers hit Vernerey from the high post. After a GSU score, Hopkins went baseline and got a nice-looking floater to drop, Vernerey & Thomas hit foul shots and Kathleen Scheer loaded up for a three. After that run, Duke stalled again and GSU finally got some threes to fall. The Devils led 35-17, but GSU got some good looks that didn't drop and made Duke work for theirs.

After Bridgette Mitchell hit a turnaround jumper to start the second half, GSU caught Duke's perimeter defense napping with back-to-back threes. Duke went almost exclusively to zone the rest of the half, and the defensive rotations were frequently quite slow. GSU hit 5 of their 13 three point attempts in the half and several of those misses were wide open shots that were set up after penetration. After a first half where she wasn't involved in the offense, Mitchell continued to step up with a three and a steal & breakaway layup. Jasmine Thomas had a nifty stop-and-go drive that wound up as a three point play. Krystal Thomas had a stickback a dish to Jackson for a circus shot plus the foul. After she hit 2 freebies, KJ found a seam in the zone, drew a defender and found Mitchell cutting for a score. J.Thomas did the same, and kicked it out to Jackson for a smooth-looking 15' baseline jumper. When KJ was fouled on a stickback, it signaled the end of an impressive 21-3 run over just six minutes, putting Duke up 58-26 and essentially ending the game.

The Devils then went nearly seven minutes without a point, thanks in part to some weird personnel decisions (at one point, the team had no real shooters against a defense designed to stop post play and penetration). As a result, GSU took advantage with a 9-0 run. J.Thomas stopped the bleeding with a three and post-up, and the teams traded baskets after that. GSU coach Rusty Cram noted that he wanted Duke to take jumpers, knowing that they weren't shooting well, and it was a smart decision: the Devils were 4-21 from three. It was curious that they didn't try to set up their teammates for mid-range jumpers more often. Those shots were available with a minimum of effort, but Duke seemed to want to attempt kill-shot threes instead. The fact that Duke had 17 turnovers against a small team that wasn't pressuring the ball was also a concern. Still, Duke did get 16 assists on their 27 field goals, they went to the line 18 times and evenly distributed shots. The fact that every starter had at least 5 rebounds apiece was also impressive.

The Devils will need to step up their game on Monday when they host Charlotte. Duke needs to be patient at both ends but can't forget to have fun; everyone on the team should be trying to boost the overall energy and shouldn't rely on just a couple of players to do so.



Lethargic Devils Outlast Eagles, 69-42
Team Box
 
Lethargic Devils Outlast Eagles, 69-42
Player by Player

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