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Devils Pound Wake Forest, 82-39
The Nutshell
 
Devils Pound Wake Forest, 82-39
Player by Player
Devils Pound Wake Forest, 82-39
By Rob Clough
February 12, 2011

  NUTSHELL     RECAP     PLAYERS  

Game Recap


After the debacle in Chapel Hill, Wake Forest offered Duke an opportunity to get better. Losers of 33 games in a row to the Blue Devils, Wake didn't put up much of a fight in game #34. Duke stayed ahead of its competitors by winning their eighth ACC game. Florida State, UNC and Miami have all kept pace; the Heels and Noles are both a half game behind Duke and the Canes a full game behind. Maryland is two full games behind Duke and Georgia Tech 2.5 games. Duke used yet another new starting lineup for the Deacs, starting Allison Vernerey at the power forward spot that has rotated like Spinal Tap's drummer spot (minus the spontaneous human combustion). Alli's showing against UNC earned her the slot, and she played quite well next to Krystal Thomas. With Wake focusing on Krystal on defense, Alli got to use her size and ability to move without the ball to get scores and (more importantly) move the ball. For the most part, Duke's execution on offense was excellent. Wake's pressure defense forced 11 first-half turnovers, but the Deacs couldn't take advantage. One reason why they were able to snag so many steals is that Duke was relentless in trying to stay in attack mode and make quick-strike connecting passes. In the first half, with Wake using a box-and-one on Jasmine Thomas, the Devils responded by sending a cutter to the basket and exploiting defensive mismatches to get easy scores. Indeed, the Devils didn't attempt any jump shots until the last five minutes or so of the first half, scoring their first 29 points either in the paint or from the free throw line. The Devils tried to make the extra pass and exploit their size advantage as much as they could. When Wake adjusted to Duke's offense, they plugged Jasmine back into attack mode, and she did a great job of scoring and distributing the ball.

Duke took a quick 5-0 lead on a post-up from Vernerey, a free throw by Karima Christmas and a Gray steal that led to a Christmas fast-break bucket. After a score by Wake Frosh Mykala Walker (an early bright spot though her foul trouble really hurt the Deacs), Vernerey had the ball in the high post and then bounced a pass to a cutting Christmas for a score as she held a screen. After another Walker score, K.Thomas posted up for a basket. The Devils then ran that high post play again, this time with Shay Selby finding Gray for the score. Six minutes into the game, Duke led 11-4.

A Gray turnover led to an easy Wake score, but Duke ran that high post play again, with Gray finding a cutting J.Thomas. Wake was able to keep up with Duke for a few minutes, coming within 15-10 after another Duke turnover. The Devils ran off a very slow 8-0 run as Christmas hit 2 foul shots, Gray went straight to the basket for a score, Krystal had a stickback and Gray set Vernerey up perfectly for a score. That gave Duke its first double-digit lead, but Wake fired back with 5 straight points to make it 23-15 with 6:15 to go. Duke was in a two-minute slump, but came out of it with another 8-0 run that started to push the game into more comfortable territory. This run was all about the veterans: Kathleen Scheer came off the bench when Christmas picked up her second foul, getting a stickback and hitting a 15' jumper. Jasmine Thomas hit a short jumper in the lane. Krystal found Scheer for her shot and sank 2 free throws. With 2:26 left in the half, the Devils led 31-15.

Wake hung around for the next few minutes, cutting the lead to 14 a couple of times. They couldn't stop Krystal, who scored on a post-up and a beautiful touch pass from Scheer. A basket by Krystal's old AAU teammate Brooke Thomas cut the lead to 14 with 39 seconds left. Scheer set up Jasmine for Duke's first three of the half, giving them a 17 point lead. That shot gave Duke its biggest lead and quelled any momentum Wake might have been building. The only thing keeping Wake in the game was their pressure defense, although Duke was able to solve it and shoot 48.5% from the floor. Duke kept Wake away from the foul line (just 3 attempts) while getting there 8 times themselves. What Duke didn't get in the first half was a great performance from its bench (excepting Scheer and to a lesser degree Selby), something that certainly changed in the second half.

Walker got an offensive rebound early in the second half for Wake and fed Lakevia Boykin for a three, cutting Duke's lead to 14. Jaz pulled up for a short jumper, but Wake scored again. The Devils then knocked the Deacs out with a 12-0 run wherein Wake missed 8 shots and committed 4 turnovers over a painful seven minute period. The Devils mixed things up as they were still finding success in the post (Vernerey scored on a three point play), the short game (a 5' jumper by Krystal), off the dribble (Jackson and Christmas both attacked the basket) and from long range (a three by Jasmine).

Duke kept its focus even as they missed a few easy shots in transition with a three from Gray as well as a post-up by Chelsea and another Vernerey three point play. That put Duke up 62-30 with 7:06 to go. Wake coach Mike Petersen waved the white flag by playing mostly frosh, and coach McCallie responded in kind. Duke's younger players did well: Chloe Wells had back-to-back threes, Haley Peters hit a couple of shots, and Jackson finally found a rhythm. The Devils shot an impressive 52% from the floor while Wake got even worse: just 21% for the game, managing only five second half field goals. Their poor showing at the foul line didn't help much either, as they were an atrocious 5-16 from the charity stripe in the second half. Their players had mostly checked out mentally down the stretch (especially on defense) and Duke did well to have its players run the offense and get good looks. Duke checked off another road win and certainly one of their least challenging, as Wake got plenty of good looks that didn't go down. Duke simply made sure that once Wake started to crack, they were not only a position to take advantage, but also to follow through by putting the Deacs away. Next up for the Blue Devils is a tougher test, Boston College in Cameron on Sunday.



Devils Pound Wake Forest, 82-39
The Nutshell
 
Devils Pound Wake Forest, 82-39
Player by Player

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