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NCAA: Devils Bounce LSU, 60-52
Game Recap
 
NCAA: Devils Bounce LSU, 60-52
Photo Gallery
NCAA: Devils Bounce LSU, 60-52
By Rob Clough
March 22, 2010

  NUTSHELL     RECAP     PLAYERS     PHOTOS  

Player-by-Player Stats and Commentary




Krystal Thomas

 
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Krystal was kept under control for most of the game, rarely getting in good position to take a shot. She scored Duke's first points of the game on a runner and had a stickback later in the half. She also hit 2 foul shots to give Duke a lead in the second half. Her real value came with her defense and shotblocking, including one stuff of a shot from Hightower that had the normally reserved Thomas woofing a bit. Thomas was on the bench during the last few minutes of the game as Duke went small.



Joy Cheek

 
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Most of the first 37 minutes of the game were maddening to watch for Joy. She was weak on the boards, committed 3 offensive fouls, was caught palming the ball on another possession and couldn't finish any shots. She did have 2 important plays earlier in the second half, as she drained 2 free throws to tie the game and found Vernerey for a score with the shot clock running down. In the last three minutes of the game, she scored on a right-handed hook and grabbed several rebounds, including a stickback that put Duke up by 5 with 1:22 left. McCallie praised her speed and footwork anchoring the back of Duke's zone during that stretch, as she played physically despite carrying 4 fouls. Like the team's other seniors, she wasn't quite ready to see her season end.



Karima Christmas

 
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Like many of Duke's other veterans, Christmas did most of her damange in the game's last nine minutes after struggling in the first half. She tied the game at 39 with a stickback and put Duke in front with a spectacular, driving three point play. Karima's 2 free throws with 23 seconds left gave Duke the cushion it needed to survive a last-gasp three from LSU. Christmas struggled to defend the lanky Hightower in the game's early going, her physicality not helping to defend a player who was running circles around her. Karima was much more effective in the zone, using her length and lateral quickness to shut off penetration near the top of the zone. She wound up tying with Mitchell for a team-high 6 rebounds.



Keturah Jackson

 
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KJ was brilliant in this sub-regional, going 10-11 from the floor in two games. She was more than a match for Hightower on defense, helping to shut her down after her early outburst in the game. Her 2 second-half steals were absolutely crucial to Duke's success as the Devils generated important scores out of both of them. KJ also stepped up and calmly hit shots when Duke twice fell behind by 6 points in the first half. She put Duke ahead with a jumper in the second half and then came up with a stickback to put Duke in front by 3 with three minutes left, a basket that the Devils desperately needed to create a little separation. The higher the stakes became in this game, the calmer she became. That sense of confidence has been a big part of why Duke won the ACC championship and is now back in the Sweet Sixteen.



Jasmine Thomas

 
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Jasmine had a great first half with 2 steals for runouts, a three and a baseline jumper that took its time surveying the rim before it dropped in. She led Duke's defensive charge late in the half, coming up with 2 steals, the second of which led to an easy score by Cheek. Jasmine then missed her first 7 shots of the second half, many of which were good looks that simply didn't drop. That didn't stop her from giving Duke the lead for good with 3:26 left with a confident drive. She was also quite happy to close out the Tigers with 4 straight foul shots in the waning seconds of the game. This was not Jasmine at her best (she had her pocket picked twice trying to attack off the dribble), but she still made big plays when it counted.



Bridgette Mitchell

 
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More than anyone, B played like a senior who didn't want her season to end. Yet she denied living in that line of thinking, simply playing in the moment, and I don't doubt her for one second. Once again, she was a hurricane on the floor and Duke was just happy to point her at LSU and get out of the way. It was her length that made the top of Duke's zone so hard to crack and lead Chancellor to note that it felt like there were six players out there at times. Every one of Mitchell's shots seemed to come at a critical juncture. She tied the game 4 times with one of her shots (including a spectacular stickback with the clock running down in the first half), pulled Duke up a bit from a 4-point second half deficit with another, and put Duke up by 3 with her last shot. She made her share of mistakes and bad shots with a bad pass here or a wild drive there, and missed a few shots as well. That didn't matter much as she came up with so many important steals, took a chrage and went after rebounds. Her ability to anchor the post late in the game and cut off penetration with her quickness while working in tandem with four-year teammate Cheek was a testament to how far she's come as a player. Experience matters, and Mitchell has most assuredly become a better player this season as a result of her hard work. She's been an x-factor for Duke all season long, and McCallie noted that she loves bringing her in off the bench because of her boundless enthusiasm, noting that B can hype her team up simply with the sound of her voice coming from the bench.



Allison Vernerey

 
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Allison struggled in this game, looking a little out of sync for most of it. I thought it was a bit surprising that she only played five minutes in the second half, given that Duke needed post scoring. I think that can be explained by Coach P's post-game statement regarding the communication on defense she saw from her top six players and how she wanted to continue to exploit that. That was three seniors and three juniors who knew just how to work together at both ends. Still, Vernerey did hit a crucial shot in the second half on a feed from Cheek that tied the game at 37. I suspect Allison will be of great value in Duke's next game.



Shay Selby

 
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Shay gave the team a little energy boost in her six minutes. She came up with a steal, dug out a long rebound and generally pursued LSU well on defense. Other than an ill-advised drive that resulted in a turnover, she did a good job in helping Jasmine get a little rest.





NCAA: Devils Bounce LSU, 60-52
Game Recap
 
NCAA: Devils Bounce LSU, 60-52
Photo Gallery

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