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Notre Dame Stymies Duke, 63-50
The Nutshell
 
Preview: Duke at NC State
Notre Dame Stymies Duke, 63-50
By Rob Clough
February 16, 2015


Analysis and Stats (JS)



In memory of Jim Sabiston

Why Notre Dame Won: The Irish were 9-23 from three, and Duke had no answers on defense for the Irish long-distance attack.

Why Duke Lost: Simply put, not enough balance on offense. With Greenwell taken out of the game, the Devils had to try to jam the ball in against a pack-line defense armed with a nasty shot-blocker in Turner. Duke's offense was reduced to "grab the offensive rebound".

The Game Turned When...: .The Irish went on an 11-0 run in the second half after a Williams three point play pulled Duke within 8. The game went from being Duke at arm's length to a significant lead for the Irish, one they were never in any real danger of relinquishing.

X-Factor: Madison Cable. Her three first half treys brought the Irish back and pushed them ahead. Throw in some rebounds and excellent defense, and she did a fine job.

Areas For Improvement: Spacing, patience on offense, free throw shooting, transition defense. This isn't a vintage Notre Dame team, but their passing still cut up the Devils and the overall team chemistry has steadily improved.

Ramifications: The Devils blew a chance at a four-way tie for first in the ACC and winning the conference if they won out the rest of the way. The Irish have all but clinched the regular season championship; beating Louisville will do the trick next week.

Did Not Want: Getting outrebounded and more than 10 threes by the Irish The Irish hit 9 treys and were outrebounded, but Duke's lack of response on the offensive side and the barrage of silly turnovers that led to Irish points wound up hurting them badly.

Duke Starters (from post to point)

Elizabeth Williams

 
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Liz never gave up and kept attacking inside, getting Reimer and Turner in foul trouble. She just couldn't get the ball enough. She had one incredible offensive rebound where she wrested the ball away, went up at an odd angle, scored the basket and got fouled. She even hit a short jumper. She went high to rip down rebounds against other tough and tall opponents. Liz simply needed more help.


Kendall Cooper

 
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Kendall had an OK game on defense, getting steals and picking up boards, but she was yet another player who tried and failed to space the floor for Duke. She couldn't hit a jumper and the lane was too crowded for her to operate much down low. Notre Dame packing the lane and preventing easy entry passes essentially negated her as an offensive contributor.


Azurá Stevens

 
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Azurá was a huge matchup problem for the Irish at wing. Loyd couldn't handle her and they couldn't stop her until the Irish went zone and dared Stevens to shoot long jumpers. To her credit, she tried to not fall for that bait and instead tried to attack the basket. She was able to knock down a couple of jumpers but missed some easy chippies. Extending the range on her shot and improving her handle will certainly be summer projects for this walking matchup problem.


Rebecca Greenwell

 
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After a post-up and a drive in the first half, Notre Dame went box-and-one on Becca, and she never got another good look the whole game. The Devils tried to get her to initiate the offense a few times, but that led to turnovers and a charge call. Without her as a floor spacer, Duke's offense was bottled up. This is something Duke really needs to address.


Ka'lia Johnson

 
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KJ's first-half foul trouble was a major contributor to Duke's offensive woes. Late in the game, she was able to attack ND's defense and get some short jumpers and drives to go down. Duke needed just that sort of thing in the first half to take the pressure away from Stevens and Williams, and really had no players left to do it. KJ has to watch those hand-checks and bumps she likes to give, especially after she gets called for her first foul.



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Off the Duke Bench (in order of entry)

Mercedes Riggs

 
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This was a disaster of a game for Mercedes. She played poor defense, she missed all of her shots that Duke desperately needed to get Notre Dame out of their zone, and made a couple of poor passes. This was a high-level opponent, but Mercedes simply needs to step up like she has many other times this season.


Amber Henson

 
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Amber's body language was strange in this game, like she was being told to do something but found it difficult to do, because she looked frustrated the entire time. She got a jumper to rattle in in the first half and scored on a layup in the second, but she also took some bad shots and tried to force the ball inside too many times. One might venture to guess that this may have been what was frustrating her.


Erin Mathias

 
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Erin gave the team a huge energy boost when she was inserted into the game, especially since she was used as a third big and Notre Dame wasn't quite ready for her mobility. She scored on a nice post-up and missed a couple of other good-looking shots, grabbing boards along the way. This performance will definitely get her more minutes down the stretch.




Notre Dame Stymies Duke, 63-50
The Nutshell
 
Preview: Duke at NC State

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