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Previewing Duke at Maryland
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Terps Paste Duke, 69-47
Player Stats

Terps Paste Duke, 69-47
By Rob Clough
February 17, 2011



It's getting difficult to figure this Duke team out. Just when it seemed like the team had gotten its act together in terms of focus and effort, they absolutely stunk up the Comcast Center by being outclassed in every way imaginable by Maryland. While rookie Chelsea Gray was ill and did not make the trip, that doesn't let the rest of the team and coaching staff off the hook. There's just two weeks before the ACC tournament begins, and it's impossible to tell how ready Duke truly is to make a mark in that event, let alone the NCAA tournament.

This game was different from the beatdown Duke received in Storrs; UConn has the best player in the country and the best coach. It's also dissimilar from the loss in Chapel Hill, wherein Duke played poorly in a number of areas but still had a chance to win. Like that game with UNC, Duke blasted out to an early lead. Duke started the game on a 7-0 spurt thanks to a three from Karima Christmas, a steal and layup from Christmas to Jasmine Thomas, and an Allison Vernerey stickback after a Richa Jackson steal. After scoring 7 points in just two minutes, the Devils only scored 12 more points the entire half, going on scoring droughts that lasted four minutes, two minutes, and three minutes. But those stretched perhaps pale compared to an epic eight minute stretch with just 1 point scored.

The Terps came into the game reeling after having lost two in a row, including a horrible home loss to Virginia. This was a team that was vulnerable to a knockout punch, but Duke let them off the mat and was soon absorbing a series of body blows that could not be fended off. The Terps started the game 0-5 from the foul line but managed to lead 27-19 at the half. Other than the game against Florida State, Duke has not managed to play well against a ranked team on the road, and I'm baffled as to why. With three seniors who've been through this before, one would think that they'd be ready for this environment. Furthermore, given coach McCallie's familiarity with these players, one would also think that she'd have some adjustments that she could have made.

What's frightening for Duke is that in that first half, the Devils were coughing the ball up against a team that did not pressure the ball. The Terps were simply coming up with steals on careless passes. Duke wound up with 20 turnovers against just 13 for the usually error-prone young Terps. Duke didn't make up for this by going hard to the boards; instead, the Terps held Duke to one-and-done for much of the game. On their end, the Terps got plenty of second shots, getting 18 offensive rebounds compared to Duke's 9.

The Devils did make a run in the second half, coming within 39-38 with 12:32 left. After that moment, Maryland regrouped and finished the game on a 30-9 run, absolutely blowing the demoralized Duke team out of the building. The only player who managed to play with intensity and efficiency was Allison Vernerey (12 points, 4 rebounds). Of Duke's leaders, Jasmine had 11 points on 4-12 shooting along with a game-high 8 turnovers, again against a team that does not pressure the ball. Karima Christmas had 7 points and 9 rebounds and played with a lot of effort but couldn't carry the team. Krystal Thomas was 0-3, had 2 points and 7 rebounds. She was completely outplayed by Maryland's star center, Lynetta Kizer. There's plenty of blame to go around, and the team and coaches need to dig deep to figure out how to get consistent, efficient effort in each game. The "adjustment by substitution" strategy simply does not work.

Duke is now tied for first place with FSU and Miami at 9-2 in the ACC, though Duke holds tiebreakers over both clubs. UNC is lurking behind at 8-3, while Georgia Tech is 8-4 and the Terps are 7-4. Duke holds tiebreakers against them all except UNC at the moment, but another loss might make that advantage pointless. The Devils play 2 of the next three at home and have lost any margin for error. If Duke wants to be a successful postseason team, they need to treat the rest of the season, starting with the Virginia Tech game on Sunday, as the start of the postseason. Apparently, several players were feeling flu-like symptoms similar to Chelsea Gray's. While that perhaps explains some of Duke's lackadaisical performance, it doesn't excuse it.

Editor's Note: Tonight's 22 point defeat was the worst Blue Devil ACC loss in nearly three years. On 3/2/08 Duke lost at UNC 82-51, the second of three double digit losses to the Tar Heels that season. The loss knocks Duke out of the #1 spot in the RPI, the primary index used by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee to determine seeding. Duke is 7-3 against teams in the latest RPI Top 25 -- 6-0 in Cameron but just 1-3 on the road.

Duke Blue Devils Team Box Score


Maryland Team Box Score


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Previewing Duke at Maryland
Terps Paste Duke, 69-47
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