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Previewing Duke at Charlotte
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Devils Survive Charlotte, 61-55
Player Stats

Devils Survive Charlotte, 61-55
By Rob Clough
November 27, 2010



Sometimes, pre-game strategies can bite a team in the butt. The book on Charlotte was that they weren't a great long-range shooting team, hitting just 23% of their threes coming into the game. Naturally, the Niners stroked six threes in the game's first nine minutes, during a period where the Devils went ice cold. It felt like Duke-USC in Cameron in 2009, when the Women of Troy went up by 14 early thanks to lax perimeter defense from Duke. Whenever a team isn't immediately focused on the road, there's always a chance that a motivated and confident home team can get the drop on them.

The good news for Duke in this game was that they have a seasoned senior class that's been in this sort of situation before. Even though Jasmine Thomas shot poorly from the field (7-23), she still made a number of crucial baskets and hit her free throws. Karima Christmas had a double-double with 12 and 11, hitting an early three to wake Duke up. Most impressively, Krystal Thomas thoroughly dominated the smaller Niner frontline with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 8 blocked shots. Once Duke tightened up its perimeter defense (just 2-8 from three for Charlotte in the second half), the Niners were forced to come inside, where Krystal waited to block their shots.

Shay Selby started this game ahead of Chloe Wells, but neither player did much in this game: Selby was 1-6 with 2 assists and Wells was 0-4 with 2 assists and 1 turnover (along with 2 steals). The real key at point was the continuously serendipitous play of Chelsea Gray. She hit a big free throw down the stretch (after an offensive rebound when J.Thomas missed a shot) and made several huge baskets as Duke stormed back to tie the game in the first half. She played 18 minutes and it was no coincidence that she was on the floor late in the game when the game pressure was ratcheted up. When Charlotte went up 38-30 in the second half, it was Chelsea who stroked the three to lead yet another Duke comeback. She and Jasmine then hit back-to-back jumpers to make it 38-37. Gray then had the assist to Christmas that tied the game up at 40.

Jasmine had a crucial steal with Duke up by 3 with under a minute left that helped seal the game. Simply put, this was mostly a game for veterans, who picked up the slack for the younger players who just couldn't get their shots going (the non-seniors shot 7-33 from the field). Duke also won a very physical game where not everything they might have liked to have been called was actually whistled. It's up to the players to respond to officiating that they might see as arbitrary and face it without complaint. Referees respect players who attack the basket with a plan and proper position, and many won't bail a player out simply because they got touched going to the hoop. More to the point, it's up to the player to convert at the line after a hard foul. Duke did it (14-20) and Charlotte did not (8-20). The Devils have won this sort of game before and are comfortable playing in this style, which will be a boon as they continue to take on a tough schedule. Next up will be James Madison on Tuesday, with the challenge of superstar Dawn Evans.

Duke Blue Devils Team Box Score


Charlotte Team Box Score


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Previewing Duke at Charlotte
Devils Survive Charlotte, 61-55
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