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Devils Withstand Wake, 65-51
Team Box
 
Devils Withstand Wake, 65-51
Player Stats
Devils Withstand Wake, 65-51
By Rob Clough
January 10, 2010

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Game Recap


Duke's win over Wake Forest (33 in a row, after the series was tied at 18-18), was the sort of game one usually sees late in conference play. Duke played well in spurts, with a twelve minute run at the end of the first half that took Duke from down one to up 24. Duke gave up a three right before the end of the half that was just enough of a boost for Wake come out strong in the second half. Every time it seemed like Duke was about to turn the game into a blowout, Wake would go on a little run that kept them in the game. They never never came closer than 14 in the second half, but they forced Duke to keep their top seven in the game the entire second half.

Duke would respond to these mini runs (6-0, 6-0, 4-0, 5-0) with just enough offense to blunt Wake's momentum, and then would put Wake on the line with one of their many (21) fouls. The Deacs did themselves no favors by missing 12 of 25 free throws, including going just 2-8 from the line in the first half, missing a couple of front ends in the process. Those missing points perhaps made Duke think the game wasn't as close as it actually was in terms of game flow. Indeed, Wake played Duke defensively as well as any team has this year, in terms of generating turnovers and preventing easy baskets. Wake won the turnover battle 18-17 but couldn't convert them as efficiently as Duke: the Devils held a 27-21 edge in that area. Wake's double-teams on Duke's posts were extremely effective in shutting down Duke's inside production, while their switches off screens made it tough to get good shots.

Duke won the game because their rebounding--especially offensive rebounding--was absolutely dominant. Bridgette Mitchell led the team with an incredible 7 offensive caroms, which helped fuel her dominant, career-high 20-point performance. The Devils played smothering defense, especially in the first half, when they held the Deacs to 21% and forced 11 turnovers. For the game, Duke did well to blanket leading scorers Brittany Waters (10 points on 3-9 shooting, 6 below her average) and frosh sensation Sandra Garcia (6 points, 6 rebounds and 5 fouls, 4 points below her season average).

Bridgette Mitchell hits
a wide open trey
For the third straight game, Duke went with a smaller starting lineup, with Joy Cheek replacing Krystal Thomas in the post and Bridgette Mitchell & Karima Christmas at forward. As an aside, Coach McCallie informed the press on Friday that Karima has grown and is now a legitimate 6-feet tall. Mitchell started the game scoring on a drive and sinking a 19' jumper, and a Christmas steal & layup made it 6-0 for Duke. A Keturah Jackson 10' jumper was sandwiched by a couple of threes by Wake, but a Secily Ray foul shot gave them their only lead at 9-8. Jackson drove and hit Mitchell for a three, and then sank a 10' turnaround jumper (plus one). Ten minutes into the game, Duke led 14-9 despite Jasmine Thomas & Cheek going 0-5 from the field.

Jasmine took care of that by curling around a screen and sinking a 14' jumper, a shot answered by a Garcia layup. That basket, with 8:41 left, would be Wake's last points for the next seven minutes. Cheek got into the scoring column with a little pull-up 10' jumper to start a run that saw Wake miss 7 shots, commit 5 turnovers and miss 2 front ends of one-and-ones. Mitchell had a stickback and a couple of free throw, but it was Jasmine who really exerted her will in this game. She had a steal & layup, 2 free throws, a pull-up three and a stickback during the run. A rare Allison Vernerey jump shot gave Duke a 35-11 lead.

During the latter half of the run, Coach McCallie put in her deep reserves in an effort to see what they might contribute. Shay Selby had a tremendous offensive rebound & stickback to go with 5 rebounds. However, her reserves did a poor job covering the three late in the half and Kathleen Scheer in particular hurt the cause with a late turnover and foul. Still, Duke led by 20 at the half and had a dominant 18-4 edge on the glass.
Krystal Thomas working
hard in the paint

In the second half, Duke started off nicely with a Cheek stickback and a gorgeous pass from Christmas (who only played nine first-half minutes due to foul trouble) to Mitchell on a cut. A steal by Ray resulted in a Waters basket, which was followed by 4 more Wake points. Christmas struck back with a second chance hoop and Krystal Thomas demanded the ball and scored with a right-handed hook. That made it 43-22 with 14:35 left, a comfortable lead but not an impregnable one.

Wake came back with 6 straight points, including a Ray basket off a KJ turnover. J.Thomas missed, but K.Thomas came up with a crucial offensive board and Jasmine threw KJ a great pass for a score. Waters turned the ball over and Jasmine found Krystal with another great look. Wake came back with an 8-3 run, cutting the lead to 50-36 with 9:26 left. A turnover here and a three there by Wake very much made it a real game, much to Duke's chagrin. Wake coach Mike Petersen noted, "We got their attention," in the second half. Amazingly, Mitchell called for the ball, slipped behind a screen, and buried a three from the top of the key to end the run. A steal by Mitchell led to an easy Christmas layup, making it 55-36.

Turnovers by Mitchell & Vernerey led directly to a 5-0 Wake run, putting them back at 14 down once again--this time with 6:31 left. Jasmine hunted her shot and buried a big 18' jumper, and Duke's defense clamped down for three minutes, pushing the lead up to 60-41. A Cheek pass to K.Thomas made it 62-42 with 3:29, but the Devils were exceedingly sloppy late in the game. Wake had a last-gasp 9-3 run, including the game's last five points. Duke wasn't threatened, but this was a matter of inculcating good habits and maintaining focus, and Duke did neither. In asking Coach McCallie about her limited use of substitutions in the second half, she noted that she wasn't happy with the defense her deep subs played late in the first half and wanted a greater commitment to that sort of energy. At the same time, she recognized that she didn't get it from her more trusted players, so she noted that this was something that would be examined for future games. Duke will need that kind of focus when they play Miami on the road later this week.



Devils Withstand Wake, 65-51
Team Box
 
Devils Withstand Wake, 65-51
Player Stats

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