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Previewing Miami
 
Duke Takes Down Canes, 69-62
Team Box
Duke Takes Down Canes, 69-62
By Rob Clough
January 14, 2010

  NUTSHELL     BOX     STATS  

THE NUTSHELL: Another Close one in Miami


This was as big a win Duke is going to have in the ACC regular season, even if at first blush it was "only" Miami. The Canes are now a serious threat with multiple scorers, and the Devils held them to 30% shooting from the floor and just 16% from three. A few days after Miami knocked off Florida State in Coral Gables, the Canes were poised and ready to give Duke a tough time. And they didn't make it easy: they held Joy Cheek to a gruesome 3-17 from the floor and Jasmine Thomas to a painful 4-19. Duke was able to exploit their advantages just a bit more than Miami: they outrebounded them (+5), they got great bench production, they took care of the ball reasonably well (+2 on turnovers, but Miami had a 19-12 edge in points off turnovers) and they got more post scoring.

The star of the game was Krystal Thomas, with 15 points and 12 rebounds, which included pounding the offensive boards with 5. It should be noted that Cheek and Karima Christmas matched that production. In the early going, Krystal struggled along with the rest of the team as Miami got 8 early points from the ACC's leading scorer, Riquana Williams. Her back-to-back treys put the Canes up 14-9 with 13:17 left in the first half. Williams would have just one field goal the rest of the way, and Duke kept her off the foul line completely. Miami pushed the lead up to 9 on a basket by Shenise Johnson with 8:21 left, but Cheek finally hit a shot after missing three in a row prior to the possesion. Shay Selby came off the bench to hit a big three to bring Duke closer, and the teams battled furiously for the next few minutes.

Miami was desperately trying to hold on to the lead, but Selby drove to cut it to two and K.Thomas caught a great pass from J.Thomas to tie the game with 5:08 left in the half. Duke tied the game a couple of more times, but two misses Miami eventually led to a key rebound by Alexis Rogers and a shot by Christmas that gave Duke a 28-26 halftime lead. The first four minutes of the second half saw the Canes tie it three times early on, but layups by Christmas and the Thomases kept Duke ahead. Another timely trey by Selby (after a turnover by Williams) gave Duke just a little bit of separation.

Jasmine Thomas finally got into the act offensively by hitting a short jumper and a three to twice put Duke up by nine, the latter instance with 11:36 left in the game. Shenise Johnson, who nearly stacked up a triple-double against the Devils responded with a three point play. Miami whittled that lead all the way down to a single point before Cheek scored on a pass from Jasmine and the Canes missed back-to-back-threes. Jasmine found Krystal inside to put Duke up by 5 with under eight minutes to go. She hit a trey to make it a six point lead with 6:59 to go.

Miami went into a late offensive funk that allowed Duke to hold steady and push the lead to 63-55 with two minutes left. K.Thomas was Duke's rock, scoring at will as Miami center Diane Barnes had left the game after picking up her fourth foul. Johnson hit a three and star frosh Morgan Stroman scored to cut it to 63-60 with under a minute left, but Jasmine Thomas and Bridgette Mitchell iced the game at the foul line.

Jasmine wound up leading the team in scoring at 16 points despite her poor shooting, while Mitchell had 10 and Christmas 12. Duke gutted out a tough road win (admittedly, in a place where most of the crowd was disguised as empty seats: the announced attendance was 655) against a team that had just popped into the top 25. More importantly, Duke is the lone undefeated team left in the ACC. UConn will give Duke a sense of where they stand against the ultimate opponent, but it's clear that Duke is ready to compete in the ACC.



Previewing Miami
 
Duke Takes Down Canes, 69-62
Team Box

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