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Devils Defense Stifles Wolfpack, 70-39
Game Recap
 
Devils Defense Stifles Wolfpack, 70-39
Photo Gallery
Devils Defense Stifles Wolfpack, 70-39
By Rob Clough
February 11, 2010

  NUTSHELL     BOX     RECAP     PLAYERS     PHOTOS  

Player-by-Player Stats and Commentary




Allison Vernerey

 
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Here's a startling stat: in ACC play, Vernerey is shooting 73% from the foul line. For a player whose entire foul shooting routine was painful to watch earlier in the year, it's a startling transformation. After hitting a rookie wall when January rolled around and trying to adjust to being homesick after a visit back to France, Allison's learning curve has started to get a lot smoother. Her first basket was a tough-minded stickback. Her second basket, however, is the one that caught everyone's attention. Setting up on the left block, her defender was sitting on her left hand hard. Suddenly, Vernerey spun to her right and finished with her right hand. That started a run of 8 straight points from the frosh: a power post move where she finished and was fouled; 2 free throws, and alertly running the floor and finishing a play after an open-court steal. Duke did a nice job of locating her when they had a mismatch (which was often against an undersized State squad), as she finished over 5-9 Sharnice Beal and later hit a nice turnaround against the zone. Duke got away from getting her touches late in the first half when she returned and early in the second half, which didn't help the offense. Finally, she got the ball, was double-teamed, and twice in a row found Selby for threes. She finished the game with a stickback and a short jumper on an inbounds play. Allison did get tied up a couple of times and traveled on another play, but she overall displayed a remarkable range of skills that we hadn't yet seen, even taking a charge. If she can score like this against a physical opponent like Georgia Tech, then we'll know that the Devils have a real post scoring option the rest of the way.



Joy Cheek

 
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It's always instructive to go back to Highlights For Children magazine for any lesson in life. Case in point: Gallant Joy Cheek blocks out nicely, grabs tough defensive rebounds, spots up for smooth jumpers instead of taking awkward shots, powers up after an offensive rebound for a three point play, and gets into good scoring position on the block. She also blocks shots and gets in passing lanes, deflecting passes to teammates, and even takes a charge. Goofus Joy Cheek puts up weak shots, throws passes at her teammates' feet where they don't have a chance to catch it, throws passes out of bounds and shuffles her feet. As a senior, I had hoped we'd see many more Gallant moments than Goofus blunders, but Cheek's focus seems to fade in and out at any given moment. When she's locked into the game and uses her power, she's a tough matchup for anyone. When she shies away from contact, she's ineffective and inefficient. In a "down" ACC this season it might not always matter, but against elite teams Duke needs Cheek to be in top form.



Karima Christmas

 
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Karima continues to try to play through a hand injury, again struggling with her shot throughout this game. She scored only once, when she drove to the basket early in the game (see our photo gallery). She did grab a few rebounds and did a nice job of feeding the post. She also played excellent defense, frustrating Bonae Holston into a poor shooting game (1-9).



Keturah Jackson

 
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KJ did a nice job of hounding Nikki Gartrell into 2-11 shooting but was nowhere near as composed as she was against UNC. She had a few silly turnovers, took a couple of bad shots and in general wasn't as focused as you'd like from a fifth-year senior. Still, she did hit a long jumper and fed Vernerey in the post three times and found Jasmine for a three. When Kastanek was bringing the ball up on one possession, she made the classic mistake of looking over at the bench for instructions without protecting the, and KJ simply walked up to her and batted the ball out of her hands, getting it ahead to Vernerey. She also had what may have been the key play of the game. When State went on a 9-0 run to cut the second-half lead to 13, KJ drove to the basket and was fouled. It wasn't a shooting foul, but it did give her a one-and-one opportunity. Never a great foul shooter, she nonetheless drained both pressure shots, and Duke never looked back.



Jasmine Thomas

 
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This was another off-shooting game for Jasmine, who nonetheless hit a big three late in the first half that matched a State three. She hit Christmas and Cheek for scores near the post, and later found KJ for a jumper and Krystal in transition. Jasmine's misses were all good looks at the basket that she perhaps rushed just a tad, but she stopped shooting after a while and concentrated on defense.



Krystal Thomas

 
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Krystal had a quiet game, but worked well playing in tandem with Vernerey. That twin tower duo made any kind of paint scoring for the Pack virtually impossible, as both players collapsed in the paint and blocked shots. Offensively, Krystal did not get a lot of great looks; she had some passes thrown at her feet and others where she moved too slowly with the ball. She did face up and drain a 17' jumper in the first half. In the second half, she hit 2 free throws and finished in transition. She suffered a bit from some of her teammates being a bit quick to launch shots instead of getting her looks inside, but she also didn't do a great job of demanding the ball.3



Bridgette Mitchell

 
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After a mostly quiet first half (she did have a steal & runout), Bridgette was considerably more active in the second stanza. Hitting a turnaround jumper after driving into the lane seemed to boost her confidence a bit, and she started attacking the boards. A fast break finish with under seven minutes left put Duke up by 21, and a runner started the game-ending run that made this into a rout. She also hit a hook shot late in the game, displaying an unusually high level of touch. Mitchell disrupted a lot of shots, and was one of the few Duke players who didn't register multiple turnovers.



Shay Selby

 
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Selby is slowly but surely breaking her way into the regular rotation, thanks to her timely shooting and surprising defense. She's still not exactly a lockdown defender on the perimeter (she has trouble fighting through screens and bodying up her opponent), but she alertly gets steals (3 in this game), dives for loose balls, digs out rebounds and takes charges. Her real value comes on the offensive end. She's become much more comfortable locking and loading from beyond the arc, and her back-to-back treys in the second half pushed Duke's lead from 16 to 22. Selby attacked the basket as well, hitting an off-balance runner and finishing in transition. That's two games in a row that she's given Duke a viable outside shooting option when Jasmine wasn't hitting.



Chelsea Hopkins

 
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Chelsea gave the team a lift at the end of the first half with back-to-back steals in the backcourt, one of them leading to her own runout. This was perhaps the first time all season that she resembled the quick, pesky defender that she was last year before she hurt her knee. She had an assist to Mitchell inside, but did have a couple of turnovers. That lack of valuing the ball was something that was affecting the entire team, but Chelsea must take care of the ball if she's going to get real minutes.



Kathleen Scheer

 
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This game encapsulated both the reason why Kathleen is not in the extended rotation and what she needs to do to get more minutes. In the first half, she played with no confidence. After she missed her first shot, she hesitated the second time she got the ball and promptly turned it over. In the second half, she stopped thinking and just started playing. She drove to the basket and got fouled, hitting both. After she turned the ball over, she tore down the floor and poked the ball away, getting it back. After a miss by Selby, Scheer grabbed the rebound and stuck it back. When Hopkins was picked at midcourt with 8 seconds left, Scheer again zoomed down the floor and blocked what would have otherwise been a sure basket. The deep reserves are starting to make the same kind of commitment to effort that the regulars are showing, no matter the time or score. That sort of play will earn more minutes down the stretch.



Alexis Rogers

 
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Like the other deep reserves, Lexi hustled like crazy in this game. She made a mistake at the end of the first half after she snagged a miss as the game clock was winding down. She tore down the floor, but instead of either driving all the way to the basket or pulling up for a shot, she passed to a surprised Cheek, who promptly shuffled her feet. In the second half, she hustled on defense (diving out of bounds to deflect one pass) and had a heads-up, gorgeous pass over State's press to a streaking Selby for a basket. Like the other deep reserves, Rogers showed a tremendous commitment to effort.





Devils Defense Stifles Wolfpack, 70-39
Game Recap
 
Devils Defense Stifles Wolfpack, 70-39
Photo Gallery

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