DWHoops - We cover Duke Women's Basketball - Delivering Images & Insight Since 2006 Join DWHoops DWHoops Member Login About DWHoops DWHoops Site Archives DWHoops Twitter DWHoops on Facebook DWHoops Feed Latest Photo Galleries 2015 Duke Schedule

Please Support our Sponsor

#1 SC Comeback Stuns Duke, 51-50
Top Photos
#1 SC Comeback Stuns Duke, 51-50
Member Photos
#1 SC Comeback Stuns Duke, 51-50
By DWHoops Staff
December 7, 2014

Analysis and Stats (JS)

In memory of Jim Sabiston

Why USC Won: In a game with no offensive flow, the Gamecocks won the battle in the paint, outscoring Duke 32-24. Though they were outrebounded by the Devils, USC held their own on the boards in the second half and several key stickbacks -- including the game-winning one.

Why Duke Lost: Unforced errors proved to be a huge problem for Duke, as players dribbled the ball off their knee, messed up hand-offs and in general succumbed to mental pressure. Cleaning up those six or seven unforced turnovers could have meant the difference.

The Game Turned When...: Rebecca Greenwell turned the ball over with under twenty seconds left.

X-Factor: Olivia Gaines. The player that Dawn Staley described as a "one-woman press" was credited with just a minute of play, but that included the crucial steal that set up the game-winning sequence for the Gamecocks.

Areas For Improvement: Coach McCallie noted that the biggest thing for Duke is 40 minutes of focus on defense. If Duke hadn't let up early in the second half, USC might not have been able to rally. To USC's credit against a fierce Duke defense later in the game, they were able to make some plays, but they barely encountered any resistance earlier in the half.

Ramifications: This is the first time since the 2007-08 season that Duke has lost three in a row. However, this feels different than that season, when Duke was blown out by better opponents. In each of these three losses, Duke had a chance to win each of the games and simply couldn't follow through. What remains to be seen is how this team absorbs the loss and learns from it going forward.

Duke Starters (from post to point)

Elizabeth Williams


Liz couldn't get anything going against USC's big front line in the first half, as they made sure to bottle her up and double-team her whenever possible. That was made even easier by the fact that no one was hitting shots to open things up for her down low. Defensively, she frequently intimidated USC's players from coming inside against her when she was in the game. She had a number of monster blocks, worked hard on the boards and generally stayed engaged. When Duke went to her in the second half, she was able to score. I thought Duke failing to get her more touches down the stretch hurt their chances.

Azurá Stevens


Azurá's lack of upper-body strength was exposed in the way that she was shoved off the block at times in this game. Offensively, she had trouble getting good position for her shot, and there were times when she struggled on defense because a more physical player pushed her out of the way. This didn't stop her from going after the ball, because she was a rebounding machine. Early on, she drained a three and had a stickback, generally demanding a lot of attention from USC. While she didn't score again, the fact that she was a threat to score made USC take her seriously. This is a player who is going to have a great career at Duke. Interestingly, she started at power forward in this game after playing at the wing and even off-guard in earlier games.

Sierra Calhoun


I'll say this for Sierra: she has absolutely no memory of how poorly she might have played earlier in the game or the sort of shots that she missed. After a disastrous first half that didn't see any of her shots come even close to landing, she scored on a beautiful drive and hit two huge corner threes to bring Duke back. She has a certain relentless quality regardless of her numbers and has a way of rising to the occasion. Calhoun must become more consistent at both ends, but I suspect her career will be marked more by her energy than her efficiency.

Rebecca Greenwell


Despite the brutally tough break at the end of the game, Greenwell was otherwise great. USC denied her the three again and again, but she found other ways to score. I especially liked seeing her post up against a bigger player to score. This was by far her best defensive game of the year, especially against an elite player like Mitchell. While Greenwell made some mistakes, she also made some clutch plays -- including hitting some big foul shots down the stretch.

Mercedes Riggs


Mercedes got the starting nod because of an unspecified "disciplinary" action for Johnson and because of her strong play against Nebraska. Against a player with the speed of USC's Khadijah Sessions, she was overmatched on offense. She hit an early, open three and found Stevens for a three, but there was another play where she had an open shot and balked at it, leading to a turnover. Defensively, she did a nice job on Sessions and held her own in that department thanks to her overall intensity.

Please support DWHoops with a site membership

Off the Duke Bench (in order of entry)

Ka'lia Johnson


KJ had a spirited performance after poor showings in her last two games. She was aggressive going to the hoop late in the first half, resulting in some free throws. In the second half, she again missed some incredible opportunities going to the basket but kept coming, hitting a bank shot and finding Calhoun for a three. Her defense was excellent, as she ballhawked the entire contest and made things very difficult for USC's perimeter players.

Oderah Chidom


Oderah's first half was one where it was obvious that she was thinking instead of playing. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, "You can't think and shoot at the same time". She clanked several shots against a big opponent instead of using her own advantages. Oderah will never be a banger who can back an opponent down and post-up with contact. It's her remarkable quickness and agility that give her an edge, and she used them in the second half to blow by USC's front line with just a small crack of daylight. To her credit, Oderah never backed down and didn't let her nerves continue to get in her way in the second half. When the game got tight, she made plays.

Amber Henson


Amber hit a beautiful spinning layup during Duke's big second half comeback and played great defense during that sequence, but it's clear she's moved down in the rotation because of Stevens' superior productivity.

Lyneé Belton


Lyneé immediately picked up a foul upon entering the game and was sent back to the bench. Putting USC at the line was the last thing that Duke wanted. 2

Kendall Cooper


Kendall was called in to help with foul relief and took a pretty good look from three that didn't go in. She also had a huge block.

#1 SC Comeback Stuns Duke, 51-50
Top Photos
#1 SC Comeback Stuns Duke, 51-50
Member Photos

DWHoops.com is an independent media organization covering Duke Women's Basketball from 2006 to 2016,
and ACC Women's Basketball from 2006 to the present day via ACC WBB Digest.

We support but are not affiliated with Duke University Athletics or The Atlantic Coast Conference.

Website Content Copyright © 2007-2018 DWHOOPS.COM (Orin A. Day, Durham, NC, USA.) All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy and Terms