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Devils Survive the Hokies, 65-53
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Devils Survive the Hokies, 65-53
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Devils Survive the Hokies, 65-53
By Rob Clough
February 14, 2010

  NUTSHELL     BOX     RECAP     STATS  

Game Recap


Ahh, the dog days of the ACC regular season. This is the time of year when Duke, impatient to get to the postseason, starts falling into bad habits on the road. Those habits cost them against Boston College and nearly cost them against Virginia Tech, a team the Devils handled without much difficulty in Durham. The Devils outshot the Hokies, turned them over 22 times and got a spectacular performance from the previously slumping Jasmine Thomas, yet were losing with under seven minutes to go. The Hokies and their fans were clearly inspired to play against a more heralded team, and that showed in the way they outrebounded Duke 37-34 and dominated them in terms of second-chance points (13-4). The Devils were simply outhustled and late to the spot on defense as well, as their 22 team fouls (and VT's 24 free throw attempts) would indicate.

A new starting lineup (subbing in Bridgette Mitchell for Karima Christmas) got off to a nice start, blowing out to a 20-7 lead. Jasmine busted out of her slump with back-to-back threes, Joy Cheek powered up for two scores in the post and even Christmas came out of her slump with a trey. Up by 13, the Devils went for a couple of kill-shot threes that both missed, and VT's Lindsay Biggs responded with a three that made it 20-10. Jasmine kept the Hokies at bay with 6 points in a minute and a half, but VT finished the half on an 11-4 run. Six of those points came at the foul line and another came from a Biggs three--a player who should not have been open. Meanwhile, Duke was jacking up shots against VT's zone, with frosh Alexis Rogers missing 2 shots in an eight second span. The Devils were missing foul shots and couldn't convert when they did got offensive rebounds. J.Thomas, Christmas and Cheek combined for 26 of Duke's 30 first half points, as the Devils found themselves leading by 4.

The two teams battled back and forth, misfiring on a number of shots but never letting the other team gain much of an advantage. Six quick points from Jasmine boosted Duke to a 38-32 lead and gave her 20 points on the game, but she wouldn't have another field goal the rest of the way. Allison Vernerey and Keturah Jackson were both having forgettable games as foul trouble kept both of them on the bench for long periods of time, but they weren't getting much of a boost from Krystal Thomas or Shay Selby off the bench. Finally, a Jasmine steal resulted in a Selby three point play that made it 41-32 with 13:46 left. It seemed as if Duke was in control once again.

That control went out the window over the next six minutes as Duke went scoreless and the Hokies staked out a 41-41 lead. The Devils missed a flurry of threes, committed several fouls and gave up the go-ahead score after VT got three cracks at the basket. Duke finally went back inside and Cheek was fouled going up and hit both. Cheek turned around and fouled Brittany Gordon, who gave the Hokies the lead once again. Christmas stepped up for the biggest shot of the game, nailing a jumper to give Duke the lead for good. Duke got a stop that Mitchell rebounded, and Bridgette gave Duke a bit of a cushion by draining a three. After Alyssa Fenyn missed the front end of a one-and-one, Christmas found Cheek inside for a score.

Vernerey continued to be plagued by foul trouble, but Krystal Thomas was stepping up by grabbing rebound after rebound down the stretch. She then scored to put Duke up 52-44, and Christmas hit a foul shot after a J.Thomas steal. VT stuck around with 2 baskets in a row sparked by a second chance at the basket, and another score that occurred when Vernerey fouled out after an offensive foul. With 1:23 left, it was 55-50, Duke. Jasmine hit Karima long for a score, and the Hokies missed a couple of free throws that would have brought them to within 3 points. Instead, it was Duke that was sinking most every freebie down the stretch, with erratic foul shooters Jackson and K.Thomas draining 4 in a row and Jasmine tacking on 2 more.

After playing well against UNC and NC State, it was disappointing but perhaps not surprising to see the team take a step back on the road. There wasn't much urgency on defense or patience on offense until the last six minutes of the game, and that allowed a Virginia Tech team with considerably less talent to hang in there. If Duke plays with this lack of intensity against Georgia Tech on the road next week, they will find themselves staring up at a rather large deficit sooner rather than later. Indeed, there are no more "easy" wins left on their schedule, given that Virginia and Maryland are both coming to Cameron and the Devils still have to travel to Chapel Hill (where Duke has won just once in their last five trips). The Devils have yet to get a consistent game out of their entire rotation, but big games by Jasmine, Karima & Joy (with 10 rebounds from Krystal) were enough to get the job done.



Devils Survive the Hokies, 65-53
Team Box
 
Devils Survive the Hokies, 65-53
Player Stats

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