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Devils Pound Providence, 88-63
Team Box
 
Devils Pound Providence, 88-63
Player by Player
Devils Pound Providence, 88-63
By Rob Clough
January 3, 2010

  NUTSHELL     BOX     RECAP     PLAYERS  

Game Recap


Duke wrapped up its pre-ACC slate with a thorough domination of a solid Providence club that was missing its second-leading scorer and leading rebounder Mi-Khada Hankins. Still, this was an improving team from the Big East that scored some solid victories, and they were only competitive in this contest for a brief period of time. If Temple was an example of Duke finding ways to win even when everything was going wrong, then Providence was an example of what Duke is capable of when everything goes right.

Providence started 6-5 Jessica Clark and 6-5 Emily Cournoyer, along with dangerous perimeter player Chelsea Marandola. After Krystal Thomas' less-then-impressive showing against Temple (which she even described as her worst game ever), Coach McCallie decided to shake things up a little by starting Joy Cheek at center and flanking her with Bridgette Mitchell & Karima Christmas at forward. This tiny frontcourt, that featured Christmas jumping center (and winning the tap!), proceeded to wreak havoc on Providence in the early going. With the lane suddenly clear, the Devils slashed and popped their way to an early 10-0 lead. Jasmine Thomas hit a turnaround baseline jumper, had a steal & layup and assists to Mitchell & Cheek. Joy hit a couple of long jumpers and found Mitchell on a cut. Bridgette scored on that cut and on an impressive fadeaway baseline jumper. When Keturah Jackson found Christmas for a three, the Devils went up 15-4.

Providence coach Phil Seymore noted that he thought his players were initially intimated both by playing in Cameron and Duke's extreme aggressiveness. His team settled down and they started to use their size advantage over this Duke lineup. Clark scored twice over Cheek and Marondola squeezed off a couple of threes to pull PC within 15-11 and then 17-14. Duke went from a tiny starting lineup (6-1, 6-0, 5-11) to a huge one when K.Thomas, Allison Vernerey & Kathleen Scheer subbed in, and the Friars simply had no answer for Krystal. Thomas dominated like at no time I've ever seen her: stickbacks, left hand, right hand, short jumper, power-ups. She scored 11 straight points for Duke, as they went on a 15-2 run that gave them plenty of breathing room.

Providence started to sag, but Duke answered with jumpers by Christmas and Jackson. The latter came when Krystal, open from about 17', opted to pass to KJ, who had a much better shot. Providence drew as close as 15 points in the half, but a three by Christmas and 3 points from Vernerey opened up the lead to 21 at the half. Duke zeroed in on Marondola, giving her no more points in the half after her two long-range strikes early in the game. The Friars also scored no more points in the half after their early success. The Devils also abandoned a full-court press when Providence provided they could shred it, instead simply playing solid half-court defense and forcing Providence into a number of bad shots.

Duke was able to set up a number of mismatches in the first half, getting PC's none-too-physical bigs out of position and opening up lots of scoring opportunities. It's why Krystal had so many good looks and was usually faced with just one opponent to beat. Seymore no doubt played the percentages in letting Krystal set up without a double-team, but he was burned as badly by that outcome as he was with Duke's unusually good three point shooting (8-17 for the game, including 7-12 for Christmas & J.Thomas). It was simply that cliched case of pick your poison.

In the second half, the Friars managed to generate a lot more offense (equaling their first half output in the first ten minutes of the second half), but the Devils not only kept up their scoring pace, they exceeded it. Jasmine caught fire from long range, draining 4 treys in the first seven minutes of the half, the last of which put Duke up 67-36. Seymore noted that he had his most "tough-minded" players on the court at this time, and they ran off a 10-2 run to pull within 17 points. Kathleen Scheer hit a big three to stem the tide, and Duke soon embarked on a 9-0 run to put the game away for good. Joy Cheek, who had struggled the whole game with foul trouble, had 4 points during that run.

Things got a little sloppy down the stretch as the reserves got some extensive playing time, with 13 second-half turnovers after just 5 in the first half. Duke scored just 5 points in the last five minutes of the game, and one of those baskets was a stickback (plus the foul) by Vernerey. Providence scored 15 points off turnovers in the second half after generating 0 in the first half. They also got 8 offensive boards after grabbing only 3 in the first half. Coach McCallie noted that she thinks of her team as having "seven starters", which would include Vernerey (who hasn't actually started yet) and either Mitchell/Christmas/K.Thomas. While each of the deep reserves had some nice moments, no one really distinguished themselves. Consider finding a consistent 8th player in the rotation one of Duke's resolutions as they head into ACC play.



Devils Pound Providence, 88-63
Team Box
 
Devils Pound Providence, 88-63
Player by Player

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