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Tough Duke Sweeps Maryland, 71-59
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Tough Duke Sweeps Maryland, 71-59
Player by Player
Tough Duke Sweeps Maryland, 71-59
By Rob Clough
February 21, 2010

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Game Recap


Terp Fans Turned out in Force
Terp Fans Turned out in Force

Even with an almost entirely new roster of players, the Duke-Maryland rivalry continues to be a chippie one. As the Duke players lined up for the national anthem (from sideline to sideline, as they do in every game), the Maryland players finished their warmups and made their way over to their bench. Instead of simply going around the Blue Devils, they pushed their way through the Duke line. There were no elbows or anything flagrant, but there was definitely contact, down to bench player/cheerleader Emery Wallace showing some attitude. It was clearly a case of a young team trying to display that they weren't afraid of their more experienced opponent, that they thought they could beat them, and that they weren't worthy of their respect. The Devils certainly took notice of this, with Joy Cheek saying that this move "pissed us off". Despite a spirited showing from one of the youngest teams in the ACC, it was Duke who made all the big plays down the stretch.

The win meant that Duke held serve as the ACC's top seed, with Florida State and Virginia engaging in what will essentially be an elimination game for top seed contention tomorrow night. An FSU loss will mean that they can't get the top seed, and the same is true for Virginia. If the Hoos win, they will have a chance to beat Duke this Friday for the tiebreaker, though Duke would also have to drop the season finale in Chapel Hill for Virginia to catch all the way up. What was interesting about the Duke-Maryland game was that the Devils, who had to play about 38 hours after their road win over Georgia Tech, played their best down the stretch. Indeed, this game was a sort of instant replay of that Tech game in some ways. In both games, Duke built a double-digit first-half lead, squandered it, and battled back. In the second half of both games, the score was tied with about ten minutes left before Duke used superior low-post play to take control and pull away by double digits in the last couple of minutes.

Of course, there were a number of differences. Maryland's zone gave Duke a number of opportunities from long range, and the Devils racked up 7 first half treys as a result. The Devils' defense was nowhere near as cohesive, allowing the Terps to shoot 50% in the first half--with many of those coming in the paint. Jasmine Thomas (who is a bit under the weather), scorched the nets against Georgia Tech but never got it going in this game, shooting 3-15. Karima Christmas was Duke's big gun in this game with 25 points, as she scored from the perimeter, the foul line and off the dribble. Duke passed a major test this weekend, doing what they needed to do to win. That said, there were a number of problems: Duke gave up 21 offensive rebounds (leading to 19 second-chance points) as well as 26 points in the paint. The Devils missed a number of close-in shots and looked hurried at times on offense. The Terps had way too many open looks at the basket from three. Duke was fortunate on some plays not to have the Terps scratch against them.

Mitchell From The Corner Christmas From The Corner Cheek From The Corner
The Corner Was Open For a Veritable Parade of Duke Treys

The game started on a torrid scoring pace. Maryland's Diandra Tchathouhang opened with a three, which was immediately matched by Joy Cheek. Maryland's zone left the corners open, and the Devils consistently did a great job in making the extra pass to the player who was most open. Duke rarely tried to simply jack up shots over the zone. After a J.Thomas steal, Cheek swung the ball to Bridgette Mitchell, who drained a trey of her own. Maryland's Lynetta Kizer scored in the post, but Cheek hit another spot-up jumper to make it 8-5. Maryland's Lori Bjork, one of the best shooters in the league, got open and hit a three of her own to tie the game.

Maryland took the lead after a turnover by Keturah Jackson, but Karima Christmas ("it was Christmas for her", said Maryland coach Brenda Frese) sank the first of her 4 threes. Jasmine followed that up with a steal and layup to make it 13-10. Kizer hit Anjale Barrett on a cut, but Cheek found Christmas for another three. As would happen many times, the Terps calmly fought back, getting a basket in the post (Allison Vernerey was helpless in trying to guard her) and a drive from Barrett, who faked out the entire Duke defense. A trey from from Keturah Jackson was matched by a long-range shot from Bjork to make it 19-19 with 12:44 left.

Physical Play Inside
Physical Play Inside
Duke upped the ante of physicality and went on a 13-3 run. Mitchell hit 2 foul shots and then found Christmas for her third triple of the afternoon. A turnover by Kizer led to Cheek hitting a free throw. After another Maryland turnover, Jasmine stuck back a miss from Cheek to make it 27-19. Bjork got free for a three, but Cheek hit a runner and another three to make it 32-22 with 6:46 left. Those shots came after J.Thomas left the game with two fouls at the 8:29 mark, with the second one coming on an offensive foul.

After that last Cheek basket, Duke went scoreless for the next 6:37. There were some turnovers and other mistakes, but a lot of shots that looked good simply didn't drop. That was true of a shot by Vernerey, an open look from Joy Cheek, a layup by Christmas, and a good-looking turnaround jumper from Kathleen Scheer. Four offensive rebounds from Maryland helped fuel their 11-0, capped by a jumper from Barrett with 1:27 left. The Terps had their chances to extend the lead but committed several turnovers down the stretch. KJ drove and was fouled with 9 seconds left in the half and drained both.

Duke set up its press and inserted Mitchell, who had been sitting with 2 fouls since the 4:33 mark. She stepped in and saw deep Maryland reserve Yemi Oyefuwa barreling towards, and she took the charge with five seconds left. Karima zoomed the length of the court and stuck in a circus shot that also earned a foul. She missed the free throw, and Cheek almost stuck it back in. So, at the half, Duke held a tenuous 36-33 lead. Maryland dominated Duke in second-chance points, 15-11, but Duke's three point shooting staked them to a lead. Christmas and Cheek had 11 points apiece in the half.

K.Thomas turned the ball over to start the second half, and Maryland capitalized after an offensive rebound. Cheek stepped up to hit a 15' bank shot and later had a chance to extend Duke's lead, but missed 2 foul shots and a jumper. Bjork had three chances at a trey on one possession before nailing it, but it would be her last basket of the game. Christmas countered with a three of her own as Shay Selby was fouled at the same time. Retaining possession, Christmas hit Vernerey inside for a hook to make it 43-38. Frese later noted that this was the key possession of the game.

Still, the Terps battled back with a strong basket by Kizer. Jasmine missed 3 shots in a row and Maryland took advantage with a three from Tchathouhang to tie the game. A Kizer foul shot and another shot by Tchathouhang made it 46-43. The momentum was clearly on Maryland's side, and their small but loud cheering section was giving notice to Cameron. Indeed, for much of the game, Duke's crowd seemed listless despite the action on the floor.

Christmas broke that four-minute drought with a strong drive to the hoop. Interestingly, this would be Duke's last points of the game that came from a halfcourt play that wasn't a stickback, steal or foul shot. Krystal Thomas started to come alive, digging out a rebound that the Terps were furiously scurrying after. Christmas drove and was fouled, hitting both shots to give Duke a 1-point lead. Maryland hit 1 foul shot to tie the game at 47 with 9:55 left. This is when Duke started to exert its will.

J.Thomas Blocked
J.Thomas Blocked
Even after J.Thomas had a shot blocked in transition (a play with a lot of contact that wasn't called), she kept coming. On one sequence, Duke had 4 offensive rebounds before Jasmine was fouled--Tchathouhang's fourth. The two teams traded turnovers and misses before Christmas drove once again. She missed, but K.Thomas came over from the weak side and tapped in the ball for her first points of the game. That gave her some confidence and started to fire up the crowd. J.Thomas stoked that fire with a spectacular theft from Bjork for an open-court layup. When I asked Cheek about the crowd down the stretch, she said "I actually thought about that. When Jasmine stole the ball and went in for the layup, it was loud. You need that because you can see their faces drop...You want to shush them and get them worrying and make them tense." When I asked if it was clear that Maryland's body language changed after that play, she replied, "I can't remember who I was looking at, but I remember thinking, 'yeah, we got them shook'".


Christmas Wanting it Most


Christmas Wanting it Most
Christmas Simply Wanting it Most
Kizer did get a stickback to pull Maryland closer, and the Terps actually got to within 54-53 with 4:28 left. Jasmine missed a shot and Krystal corralled it and stuck it back to give her team another huge lift. Christmas stole the ball and was pushed in the back immediately, but an intentional foul was not called. She nailed both shots to put Duke up 58-53. Cheek came up with a steal and passed ahead to Christmas. Karima missed the shot, but grabbed the rebound and dished off to Cheek, who got the basket and the foul. Duke got the ball back, but Vernerey missed and then later fouled Tianna Hawkins, who hit both shots. Christmas then grabbed her own miss on a drive and stuck it back, plus the foul. That play fouled out Tchathouhang, giving Maryland less size and firepower left on the floor, and making it 64-55 with 1:47 left.

From there, it was free throws almost all the way down. After Karima hit a pair to make it 67-59, Maryland's Dara Taylor missed 2 shots and the Terps couldn't convert given a second chance. Cheek got the board and hit a free throw to put Duke up by 9, and then she applied the coup de grace by dishing to K.Thomas for a fast break layup after Kizer bricked a three. Karima wound up with a career-high 25 points to go with 4 steals and Cheek stepped up like a senior with 17 points and 5 rebounds. With the crowd roaring their support down the stretch, Duke played its best at both ends of the floor. Duke generated an astounding 31 points off turnovers (to Maryland's 20) as they forced 25 Terp miscues. The Terps were +2 on points in the paint, +3 on the boards and +8 on second-chance points, but Duke made up for it by getting to the foul line (30 attempts to Maryland's 16, though 8 of Duke attempts came in the end game parade to the stripe) and hitting their threes. Maryland's over-reliance on the long ball proved to be their undoing.



Tough Duke Sweeps Maryland, 71-59
Team Box
 
Tough Duke Sweeps Maryland, 71-59
Player by Player

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