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Blue Devils Topple Hilltoppers, 82-55
Game Recap
Previewing Duke at Pittsburgh
Blue Devils Topple Hilltoppers, 82-55
By Rob Clough
November 21, 2010


Player Stats and Commentary

Duke Starters

Krystal Thomas


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.

Kathleen Scheer


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.

Karima Christmas


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.

Jasmine Thomas


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.

Chloe Wells


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)

Chelsea Gray


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.

Haley Peters


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.

Allison Vernerey


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 health.

Richa Jackson


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.

Shay Selby


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.

Tricia Liston


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.

Blue Devils Topple Hilltoppers, 82-55
Game Recap
Previewing Duke at Pittsburgh

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