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Devils Claim ACC Nets, 70-60
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Devils Claim ACC Nets, 70-60
Player by Player
Devils Claim ACC Nets, 70-60
By Rob Clough
March 8, 2010

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Game Recap


As noted in my Georgia Tech report, basketball is a game of match-ups, which can determine the outcome of a game just as much as pure talent or depth. Despite their amazing run through the ACC tournament, NC State simply didn't match up with Duke all that well. They don't have much size, they don't have a legitimate low post scorer or defender, and they don't have much depth. All Duke needed to do was play its game and the outcome would be highly favorable. Indeed, the Devils won by 10 points, led by double digits throughout the second half and dominated the boards (46-32) and forced 23 turnovers (with 15 steals). The only reason why this game wasn't a bigger blowout was that Duke was so hyped up to push the game's tempo up to uncomfortable levels that they didn't finish easy layups off steals or stickbacks from one of their many offensive rebounds. At times, they looked just a touch out of sync in that regard. Once they relaxed a bit, the shots started falling and the celebration began.

The Wolfpack Women actually broke out to a 9-2 lead in the early going. After Duke turned the ball over to start the game (one of their 20), forward Bonae Holston scored inside. After a long miss from Jasmine Thomas, State guard Amber White scored on a drive. Duke countered with Jasmine hitting Krystal Thomas in teh post for a score, but a three and 2 foul shots from State guard Nikitta Gartrell extended that lead. Duke had 5 misses, 3 fouls and 3 turnovers during the first four minute, but recovered when Keturah Jackson hit the first of several imporant shots in this game, a long jumper. After a steal by Joy Cheek, KJ then found Jas for a three. Thomas then stole the ball and quickly pulled up for a 15' jumper that tied the score. In just 2 minutes, Duke erased that early deficit and State's momentum.

In a sequence that defined the game, Duke missed 4 cracks at the basket on a single possession but converted when KJ was fouled and hit 2 shots, giving Duke its first lead. Steals by KJ and Karima Christmas led to more free throws, and a long jumper from Cheek ended the run at 14-0. Holston finally got State back on the score board after 6 missed shots and 5 turnovers on their previous possessions. Duke still had the lead and looked for ways to extended it, like a drive by Thomas or a stickback by Vernerey. On one of the prettiest plays of the game, Christmas stole the ball and threw it ahead to Vernerey. The 6-5 center dribbled with a full head of steam toward the basket, stopped, dished to J.Thomas, and watched her score an easy layup. It was a smart decision from a young players. That made it 22-14 with nine minutes left in the half.

Holston scored again, but Christmas drained a three on a pass from Jas and then banked in a tough shot to make it 27-16. Two Gartrell free throws followed, and Kastanek hit her only three of the game after an offensive rebound to make it 27-21. With Christmas, Jackson and Bridgette Mitchell all in early foul trouble, Kathleen Scheer came off the bench and provided a lift. She hit a three to end that run and grabbed a rebound. State had no quit in them, as Emili Tasler hit a three to make it 30-24. Shay Selby was another bench hero, scoring on a drive with 2:03 left. Duke wouldn't score again the rest of the half, and then gave up a foul with 3 seconds left to allow the Pack to pull within 5 at the half. State simply found ways to manufacture points, with the foul line being a particular aid (7-8). They were outrebounded and turned the ball over too much, but Duke didn't make them pay in these areas as they should have in the first half.

All of the pressure and tempo-forcing paid off in the first five minutes of the second half. It was the Pack who were in a hurry all of a sudden, and they rushed 6 shots and even missed 2 free throws. Meanwhile, Jas and Karima hit back-to-back treys to open up the second half. Cheek then went up strong and was fouled, hitting both. After Gartrell hit a jumper, Vernerey passed out to J.Thomas for a 15' jumper, and then Jasmine found Bridgette inside after a turnover by Kastanek (one of her 7). That put Duke up 44-29 and pushed State into a real sense of urgency. Gartrell hit another shot, but Mitchell found Vernerey for a score. Brittany Strachan hit a three, but Jasmine matched her. State scored 4 points in a row, but Jasmine had a steal and runout that pushed the lead to 53-40 with 11:16 to go.

Holston hit a short shot to make it 11 again, but Duke then landed a real haymaker. Christmas hit another three on the wing on a pass from Jasmine, Mitchell cleaned up a miss from Cheek, and then Thomas stole the ball. She missed, but Mitchell grabbed the rebound and passed it to Cheek for the score. At the eight minute timeout, Duke had a commanding 60-42 lead. Good thing too, since Duke was about to embark on one of its periodic offensive dry spells, missing 5 straight shots, a free throw and committing a turnover. State was only able to shave 6 points off the lead before Selby filched the ball and was fouled, making both with 4:32 left. After a State miss, Cheek rose up and just barely tipped in a Christmas miss to make the lead 16. A foul shot by Jas made the score 65-50 with 3:47 to go, but Strachan suddenly drained back-to-back threes in a thirty second span. Duke's lead was now down to 65-56 with three minutes left--plenty to work with.

KJ had what may have been the play of the game, a driving layup where she froze her defender before heading to the basket. State chopped the lead back to 9 again, but Vernerey hit 1 free throw with 1:36 left to make it a four-possession game. After a State turnover, Karima hit 2 foul shots to formally put the game away with 18 seconds left. After 2 State free throws, Duke got the ball back, ran out the clock, and then celebrated at midcourt. For a team that upset a strong Maryland in 2008 before falling to a veteran UNC squad and lost an epic to Maryland last year, this was as satisfying an outcome as was possible. Duke won, and did it as a rebounding and defense-first unit. Duke was much more effective as a unit in the second half, shooting 44%, forcing 8 turnovers and getting 8 points from them, and hitting key shots. Duke got great play from its bench, with 20 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks and 4 steals. Coach P had her first championship with Duke, and inched her program closer to the league's all time record of 9, held by Maryland and UNC. Hopefully the title will give Duke momentum as they head into the NCAA Tournament.



Devils Claim ACC Nets, 70-60
Team Box
 
Devils Claim ACC Nets, 70-60
Player by Player

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