|Player Stats and Commentary|
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Krystal isn't going to win a lot of style points with this
performance, but it was solid and continued to demonstrate she is on defense
and on the boards. With her in the game, either she or a Duke player she
blocks out for always has a great chance to grab a defensive rebound. When
she's out, it's open season in the lane. That's why her ability to play big
minutes is a huge key to Duke's season. That said, she needs to present enough
of an offensive threat for opponents to take seriously, and she was certainly
more than credible in this game. After hitting her first long jump shot of the
year to start the game, she got to the foul line a few times, finished under the
basket off a J.Thomas feed and finished in transition and got fouled. There
were times when she tried to force things on offense, as she committed a couple
of offensive fouls and put up a couple of slightly weak shots. Still, she led
Duke in rebounding and was a big key in shutting down WKU.
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After an off game against Auburn, Leener was a solid, aggressive
presence throughout the game. She stuck a 15' jumper late in the half on the
move, had 3 boards and found J.Thomas for three. In the second half, she
finished in transition and then redirected a pass to K.Thomas for a score. She
then dropped a couple of three point bombs on WKU (one of them halting a 5-0
run), and blocked a shot. She did travel once (a deadball rebound that didn't
kill Duke) and struggled to block out WKU's Arnika Brown a couple of times, but
in general she was much more comfortable than she was against Auburn. Early
foul trouble in that game kept her off-balance, and it was encouraging to see
her bounce back from that here.
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Karima struggled offensively, missing multiple jumpers and even a
couple of drives that looked good all the way. She did her usual solid work on
the boards but just couldn't get her stick-backs to drop. Karima did finish a
great pass from Gray and found Jasmine for a key first-half basket. At some
point, Duke will need her to dominate a game in order to win.
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There's a great maturity to Jasmine's game this season. She's a senior
and knows she could get 20 shots a game if she wanted and put up gaudier stats.
However, she's committed to building a team around her and frequently passes up
shots to help set up her younger teammates. That said, she's not averse to
taking over for a few minutes when she feels a certain kind of game urgency.
She scored all 11 of her first-half points in the last ten minutes, including a
three that created a little space for a game that had become uncomfortable at
18-16. She later finished on a cut, nailed one of her trademark
pull-up/fadeaway jumpers and sank another three to build Duke's lead up to 17.
That game after dishing assists to Gray and Peters in an effort to get them
going. In the second half, she scored the rest of her points during the first
six minutes, turning the corner on a drive and garnering a steal & runout. She
also helped to jump-start Krystal Thomas's game with a well-delivered pass into
the post. Duke is slowly building up a number of perimeter weapons around
Jasmine in an effort to prevent her from having to become a chucker just to
keep Duke in contention in tight games.
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This was a solid effort by Chloe, who turned an ankle after getting
mugged on a layup attempt (it was called a foul, but not an intentional). She
had an assist to K.Thomas and a tough layup in the game's opening minutes and
later alertly finished a crazy pass from Gray to end the half. In the second
half, she found Scheer for a three and Peters for a 15' jumper before the
injury. She returned to the game briefly after getting retaped, but McCallie
chose to simply shut her down the rest of the way so as not to tempt fate.
Wells was her usual active self on defense, pressuring the ball to the tune of
3 steals. She's adept at running around screens without giving her opponent a
chance at an open shot and is good at making the right pass at the right time.
She did throw a couple of passes a bit too long (something that many Devils did
today) but for the most part made good decisions. She still dribble a little
too much when she's running the offense instead of initiating movement, but
that will come in time as she further absorbs the playbook.
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Off the Duke Bench (in order of entry)
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Chelsea's still wearing a protective boot when she's not playing and still
not 100% in terms of conditioning and overall floor movement, but this doesn't
detract one bit from her amazing floor vision. As a first sub, she's like a
silent predator that takes out her prey when they aren't paying attention. She
entered the game and immediately finished in transition after J.Thomas stole the
ball. Then she smoothly stroked a three. Then she broke off a ridiculous pass
from beyond the three point line to Christmas under the basket, a look-away
that hooked in the entire stadium. To end the half, she somehow got in the
middle of a morass of players going after a ball lobbed in from the sidelines
and deftly flipped it to a streaking Wells in transition for a back-breaking
score. In the second half, she found Scheer in transition and Peters on a cut
(I can't think of a more appropriate pairing than the always-moving Peters and
the always-looking Gray) and initiated another play that wound up as an assist
for Scheer. Chelsea also threw a couple of passes that flew out of bounds or
bounced off the hands of players who weren't ready for them. She has to figure
out who can catch her passes & when and decide accordingly on what to do.
Defensively, her size and vision mean that she can anticipate steals and loose
balls; she fearlessly took another full-body charge in transition in this game.
I'll be curious to see her go up against guards who are much quicker or
stronger than she is, but for now she's a devastating sub.
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Haley credits her ability to be in the right place at the right time to
constantly being in motion, and I'd have to agree. That said, she is getting
better at anticipating plays and knowing just when and where to cut and move.
She modestly said that her first two baskets were layups that anyone could have
made, but she was alert and ready for some very quick passes that wound up in
scores. Haley's also developing a set of go-to moves, like her right-block
post-up and layup and her pull-up jumper from about the foul line. While she's
not a player who's likely to generate a lot of her own offense based on her
ability to break down a defense, these simple moves allow her to have something
to rely on when the rest of her teammates are covered and she has nowhere else
to go. Haley does a nice job of catching the ball as well, either finishing in
transition or on cuts. While not extremely quick, there's a fluidity to her
game that's lacking in many players. Combined with her relentlessness as a
player, and one can see why she's putting up the sort of numbers she is at the
moment. There are times when she needs to speed up her decision-making process
with the ball in the halfcourt; she got trapped in one situation where she
should have called a time-out but traveled instead. One can see her process
information from prior games in such a way as to allow her to quickly improve.
That's why she hasn't come close to reaching her ceiling as a player.
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Alli looked extremely out of sorts during her four-minute stint in
the first half, letting passes bounce off her hands. She looked a bit listless
and a step slow, and when she went to the locker room before the half, it was
clear that something was wrong. Coach McCallie simply said that she "wasn't
feeling well" but was deliberately vague if this had anything to do with her
prior head injury. She seemed to hint that it wasn't without going into
details as to precisely what happened. Duke's post defense suffered greatly
without her in the second half, so it's imperative that she return to full
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Richa hasn't been getting big minutes, but she responded to the
opportunity given to her in this game with a breakout performance. After
netting just 2 points on free throws in the first half, she started her first
second-half stint by sprinting for a basket after grabbing a rebound. From
there, she was highly active on the boards (tying K.Thomas with 7) and finished
another shot in transition. Her highlight of the game may have been a drive
that drew the defense up and an alert pass to Selby in the left corner for a
three. Coach McCallie was impressed with her 7 boards and hinted that this is
what Richa needs to do in order to get more playing time. Even her errors were
aggressive, as she twice stepped out of bounds after snagging a loose ball.
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Shay is playing with all-out effort on every possession. She flew out of
bounds in an effort to save one ball and did it again to save a rebound for
Duke. She turned a kick in the chest from a WKU player into a steal and
gorgeous no-look pass to Jackson in transition. Selby's doing a good job of
recognizing open shooters and delivering the ball to them quickly, as she did
for Jasmine Thomas and Haley Peters. She's also doing a good job of harnessing
her occasional flashiness into productivity, as her beautiful touch pass in
transition to Haley Peters demonstrated. Like the other guards, she sometimes
put a little too much zip on the ball trying to deliver it inside, but those
passes at least went out of bounds instead of into the hands of opponents.
Each of Duke's three point guards is offering something just a bit different
than the others and Shay's experience continues to be a positive.
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To her credit, Tricia has shown a great attitude about being the last
player off the bench. It's possible that someone talked to her about her
negative body language on the bench a couple of games ago as it was clear that
she was down about not playing much, because her body language was upbeat and
her effort outstanding in the game today. Even after she badly blew a
defensive rotation that left a WKU player wide open for a three, Liston didn't
put her head down. Instead, she redoubled her efforts as a hustle player who
looks to make her teammates better. She dished a perfect leading pass to
Peters for a score and then later got to the foul line after driving to the
basket. Peters rewarded her efforts by later finding her in transition. Coach
McCallie bases playing time on effort and execution as defined by stats. She
certainly showed that she can make a difference given a few minutes to play,
and has established that quickly.