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Duke Takes Down UNC in OT, 74-67
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Duke Takes Down UNC in OT, 74-67
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Duke Takes Down UNC in OT, 74-67
By Rob Clough
January 25, 2015


Analysis and Stats (JS)



In memory of Jim Sabiston

Why Duke Won: They dominated the paint and the boards to a huge degree, which offset their turnovers and UNC's transition game. They found a matchup that UNC allowed and exploited it repeatedly. The Devils didn't fold when they trailed, which is a mark of the team's competitiveness after being in a lot of close games.

Why UNC Lost: The Heels were baited into taking too many threes instead of exploiting the zone the way they did early in the game: get the ball to the high post (a soft area) and use Mavunga to either take that open jumper or pass out to an open mid-range shooter. They didn't deny the ball to Williams with enough frequency to force Duke to do other things.

The Game Turned When...: Duke started overtime on an 8-0 run. A close game was finally broken open a bit, especially when Greenwell hit that devastating three. Both teams had been trying to knock each other out with a shot like that for much of the second half, but they couldn't make it happen.

X-Factor: Oderah Chidom. She simply started making plays: a key block here, a big rebound there, a pass to Williams for a score, a big stickback, etc. Duke missed her energy but also her smarts, as she's actually quite a good post passer. They also badly missed her ability to score, because the rest of the bench is pretty shaky in that area.

Areas For Improvement: Obviously, the unforced turnovers were maddening. Some of them were charges (and several of those could have gone either way), but the overall carelessness with the ball was frustrating. Some of Duke's fouls were also due to tiredness or being out of position.

Ramifications: Duke's now tied for second place in the ACC at 5-2, and holds tiebreakers against both Miami and Syracuse. They also picked up a win on the road against a ranked team, which will help come tournament time. The Heels are now 4-3 on the season in the ACC, but there's a lot of games left.

Duke Starters (from post to point)

Elizabeth Williams

 
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It was quite a night for Liz, who had one of the best single games a Duke player has ever had, considering her production, the opponent and the location. 33 points was a record for a Duke player against UNC. She moved past Katie Meier and is now the program's fifth-leading career scorer, trailing only Alana Beard, Chris Moreland, Monique Currie and Sue Harnett. She scored on a variety of post-ups, hooks, up-and-unders and turn-arounds. She had the key block at the end of regulation that forced overtime. The team simply hopped on board as she led them to victory, even when the Heels started double and even triple teaming her. This was a game to savor until the next one comes up.


Amber Henson

 
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Amber hit an early trey and went toe-to-toe with UNC's post players. While she had troubles scoring inside, she moved the ball nicely for scores, got a lot of rebounds and in general played in a tremendously physical game for 24 minutes. After she went down clutching her knee, she bounced right back up as the Duke fan base held its collective breath.


Azurá Stevens

 
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There were points where Azurá struggled with how physical and intense this game was. She was just 1-5 in the first half and didn't score after opening up the game with a finish the rest of the period. The fact that she got two fouls clearly missed with her rhythm. She scored early in the second half but also picked up her third foul. It wasn't till late in the game that she made an impact again, as she scored on a pass from Williams, found Williams in overtime and had a late stickback that helped put the game away. This game was valuable for her because she learned how to contribute even when she was being muscled out physically, she learned how to play with foul trouble, and she didn't check out mentally when both of those things were happening.


Rebecca Greenwell

 
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After some early success with a trey and short jumper, Greenwell got shut down and committed some damaging turnovers. In the second half, she scored on a drive, found Williams for a score and of course hit that massive three (pictured in our photo gallery) that immediately became part of Blue Devil lore. Amazingly, she missed two foul shots in this game. The best thing about her game is that she was active, tracking down rebounds and playing harassing defense.


Ka'lia Johnson

 
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After a decidedly lackluster game against Boston College, KJ stepped up in a big way against UNC. She was especially effective in the second half, scoring on a drive and floater and finding Williams for a score. She did miss the front end of a one-and-one, but made up for it by sinking 3-4 foul shots in OT, including two with twenty seconds left that gave Duke a three-possession lead. Her defense was excellent throughout, and her rebounding was remarkable. She and Greenwell made sure that if there was a long rebound, they were going to track it down.



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Off the Duke Bench (in order of entry)

Mercedes Riggs

 
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Mercedes struggled to keep up with the Heels, put up an airball and in general was mostly a stopgap in this contest. She did have assists to Greenwell and Williams in the first half, but her most important accomplishment in this game was simply eating up minutes and minimizing her own errors. That's what she did, and she'll have a chance to make a bigger impact another day.


Kendall Cooper

 
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Kendall picked up a couple of quick fouls before she even broke a sweat in the first half, and that included an offensive foul. She was limited to just a board and was ineffective at both ends.


Oderah Chidom

 
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While she missed a few easy shots, Oderah seemed to get better as the game went on. She had two crucial buckets, a great pass to Williams for a go-ahead score and a huge block. After struggling a bit to get into a rhythm after missing several games, her natural competitiveness made her highly effective late in the game.


Erin Mathias

 
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Erin played four hard-earned minutes, as she had to step in for a lot of players with foul trouble. Other than her fouls, she did alright for herself, pulling down a rebound and keeping up with the Heels.




Duke Takes Down UNC in OT, 74-67
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Duke Takes Down UNC in OT, 74-67
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