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Duke Trio Trumps Temple, 70-62
Team Box

  Duke Trio Trumps Temple, 70-62
By Rob Clough
December 31, 2009

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  NUTSHELL     BOX     STATS  

THE NUTSHELL: Devils and Owls Slug it Out in City of Brotherly Love

On the seventh day of Christmas, Karima gave to Duke: 23 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 assist. With career highs in points and rebounds, Christmas carried the Devils against a determined Temple squad. In many respects, this game was a worst-case scenario for Duke on offense. Joy Cheek was in constant foul trouble and was limited to 21 listless minutes. Temple's mix of defenses rendered Duke's post offense helpless: Krystal Thomas didn't have a single field goal attempt (and 3 turnovers), while Allison Vernerey only got off 3 field goal attempts. The Devils did not shoot well from the perimeter (playing into Temple's hands), shoting 26% from three and 34% overall.

Duke won the game for two reasons: offensive rebounding (22 ORB and 20 points off turnovers) and foul shooting (27-35). That allowed Duke to take over the game in the second half after Temple took a 4-point lead, thanks to great shooting from improving forward Kristen McCarthy and an inspired performance by reserve post Victoria Maccaulay. The Owls shot 48% from the field and got to the foul line 23 times (helping them stay close in the first half), but were outrebounded by 13.

In a game against a team whose style of play sapped energy away from Duke, it was Duke's energy players who made the difference. Christmas led the way with 14 rebounds, and was everywhere. She was the only player who was regularly hitting threes; she got to the line 11 times; and she played outstanding defense. Bridgette Mitchell battled through foul trouble to hit a huge three and also got to the foul line & hit some key second-chance baskets.

An unsung hero in this game was Chelsea Hopkins. When Jasmine Thomas went out of the game with two fouls, Hopkins came into the game as a stopgap. This is a role she's had in some other games this year, but she rarely did much of anything in them. Her reluctance to shoot made her a liability on offense, and her assist/turnover ratio simply wasn't good enough to merit more playing time, especially with Shay Selby coming on. However, Chelsea played well against NC Central in distributing the ball and displayed more energy than I'd seen in some time. That paid off against Temple as she sank a huge three and scored on a layup late in the half. Those scores gave Duke its working margin at the end of the half and displayed the potential its underclassmen have.

This was a solid test for the Devils against an opponent that will likely make it to the NCAA tournament. This was not the smoothest of showings for the Devils and several veterans did not play well, yet Duke toughed out the win. They did so thanks to their hustle players and their reserves, and it was especially heartening to see the latter group provide some key help.

Duke Team Box Score

PTSFGFG %3FG3FG %FTFT%AO-D-REBBLKSTLTOPF
1st3311-3036.74-1330.87-1163.6615-8-2305129
2nd378-2630.81-616.720-2483.347-10-1706711
TOT7019-5633.95-1926.327-3577.11022-18-400111920

Temple Team Box Score

PTSFGFG %3FG3FG %FTFT%AO-D-REBBLKSTLTOPF
1st278-1942.11-616.710-1190.964-7-1125129
2nd3512-2352.24-944.47-1258.393-13-16351314
TOT6220-4247.65-1533.317-2373.9157-20-275102523



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Duke Trio Trumps Temple, 70-62
Team Box

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