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Devils Put Away Pitt, 62-45
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Devils Put Away Pitt, 62-45
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Devils Put Away Pitt, 62-45
By Rob Clough
January 29, 2015


Analysis and Stats (JS)



In memory of Jim Sabiston

Why Duke Won: The Devils moved the ball around with purpose, and the frontcourt in particular did a nice job looking for their open teammates. Defensively, Duke's length made it too difficult for Pitt to diversify on offense, forcing them to become strictly a perimeter team.

Why Pitt Lost: Pitt should have started pressuring the ball much earlier in the game in an effort to make Duke prove that they could handle the ball. Versatile star Monica Wignot was taken aback by the way Duke shut her down and keyed in on her constantly.

The Game Turned When...: Duke went on an 8-0 in the first half to go up by double figures. The Devils used a number of different methods to get to the rim: getting fouled, hitting a short jumper, posting up and attacking right up the gut. Their ability to vary their attack a bit proved difficult for Pitt to fully focus on as the game went on.

X-Factor: Kendall Cooper. With Williams out with two fouls, Kendall made her presence known. She got fouled, hit a jumper and created offense for others. She also swatted a bunch of shots away and did it with 0 fouls.

Areas For Improvement: The turnovers in this game were insane for Duke, just basic things like "don't dribble the ball out of bounds", "don't dribble 1-on-3 into the teeth of the defense", etc. That indicates a lack of focus, not talent.

Ramifications: Duke is just a game back of the three ACC leaders at 6-2, midway through the conference schedule. This game had the makings of being a challenge, but Duke played well enough on defense to cover up for the offense's miscues in the second half.

Duke Starters (from post to point)

Elizabeth Williams

 
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After a foul-plagued first half where she was entirely neutralized, she came out with a vengeance in the second half. She got to the foul line, she hit Chidom for a score, she got a stickback and scored with her right hand. She helped get Pitt's entire frontcourt in foul trouble. While not her best game, she was certainly still a presence.


Oderah Chidom

 
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Oderah's play is either brilliant and hard to stop or else it's filled with careless, silly mistakes. She can slither through any defense for a score, use her quickness to get offensive boards, hit short jumpers and score key baskets in crucial situations. In many ways, she's Duke's most clutch player. On the other hand, you never know when she'll dribble the ball out of bounds, throw it to a player who's being double-covered, or simply lose concentration and forget precisely what she was supposed to do at that moment.


Azurá Stevens

 
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After a foul-plagued game took her out of her rhythm vs UNC, Stevens made sure to jump on Pitt early. Her size and length also make her a great rebounder, as she was able to tip loose balls to herself more than once. Her scores came posting up, on cuts, in transition, from three, from the foul line and posting up. She moved the ball around well, but she was often too careless with it, as her turnovers indicate. The bottom line is that a lot of Duke's players who wouldn't be dribbling the ball in any other year are being forced to handle it, and there's been slow but gradual improvement with regard to those plays.


Rebecca Greenwell

 
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This was a solid game for Becca, as her back-to-back treys (both shielded with an extra post player screening off the passer) helped push Duke's into double figures. Her ability to mix it up on the boards and go after errant passes also boosted her stats, and she played with an ease I haven't seen too often from her.


Ka'lia Johnson

 
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KJ had her usual mix of spectacular plays and mind-boggling errors. She had assists to Riggs, Greenwell and Stevens for threes in the first half. She scored on a drive and a steal & runout. She took a charge right in the lane. She also made some questionable passes and took some bad shots. Overall, she did a nice job on Kiesel and rarely let possessions get too bogged down with her dribble.



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Off the Duke Bench (in order of entry)

Mercedes Riggs

 
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Like the little girl with the little curl, Mercedes is very, very good when she's good, like hitting a pair of treys and finding Chidom on a perfect pass. When she's not good, she's horrid: airballing a three, missing badly on a short shot, losing defensive assignments, etc. The good is certainly starting to outweigh the bad, and a three guard lineup with Greenwell and Johnson proved to be a good combo at times.


Kendall Cooper

 
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It was a delight to see Kendall actually use her tremendous size and agility to create space in the post. The fact that she faced up and took a jumper was also remarkable, given her offensive struggles of late. Going 4-6 from the line was another big positive, because this is a player who used to send foul shots careening off the rim. The fact that she was able to protect the basket without fouling was a major development for Duke.


Erin Mathias

 
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Erin again played with confidence, even if her shots didn't go down. She moved well with and without the ball. While her production was not that impressive, she also didn't have the luxury of playing right alongside an All-American like Williams.


Jenna Frush

 
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Jenna had a strong rebound and played solid defense.




Devils Put Away Pitt, 62-45
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Devils Put Away Pitt, 62-45
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