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Previewing Duke at Wake Forest
Previewing Duke at Virginia Tech
Wake Upsets Duke, 64-58
By Rob Clough
February 14, 2016

Loss Snaps 44 Game Win Streak over Deacs

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JOEL COLISEUM -- In what was the worst loss of the entire McCallie era, Duke had its 44-game win streak against Wake Forest snapped, 64-58. Pick a Duke problem and it showed up in this game. Being outrebounded by a smaller team? Check. Giving up easy looks on the perimeter? Check. Inexplicable scoring droughts? Check. Missed free throws? Yup. The fact that it came against a team that has been an ACC doormat for a long time, one that Duke beat handily earlier in the year, is an indicator that the program is very much at a tipping point this year.

One of the things most frustrating about watching Duke (17-10, 6-7 ACC) this year is that there are moments of beautiful play, followed by opponents making adjustments and utterly baffling the Devils. That played out in the first quarter, as Duke blew out to an 11-2 lead behind excellent overall teamwork. Amber Henson hit a jumper, Angela Salvadores split defenders after a Henson block, then Henson got a steal that led to Salvadores finding Crystal Primm in transition. A block by Oderah Chidom led to Salvadores finding her in transition. Rebecca Greenwell capped off the run with a three.

Wake Forest (15-11, 6-7 ACC) responded with a 14-1 run that featured back-to-back threes by post Elisa Penna and guard Amber Campbell. Wake fed her repeatedly and Duke did nothing to get the ball out of her hands. The Devils struggled to stop Penna as an inside-outside threat, as she hit another three at the end of the quarter to give Wake a 16-12 lead. The Devils turned the ball over three times during the run, including an offensive foul by Greenwell. Teams have been baiting Duke into charging in game after game, and the players keep flying into defenders instead of pulling up.

Kyra Lambert had her only offensive highlight of the game to open the second quarter with a steal, layup and three point play. After Wake went up 18-16, the Devils had a 5-0 run that featured a drive and three by Salvadores, who was noticeably looking a bit gimpy on her ankle. The Devils then scored one point in the final 6:36 of the half, as the Deacs punished Duke inside, got to the foul line. At one point, Duke missed 11 shots in a row and turned the ball over three times. Indeed, the Devils were fortunate to be down by just 11 at the half. Duke missed layups, took bad threes (one by Riggs was especially awful) and in general looked more and more frustrated.

One of the reasons why Duke went into the tank was Chidom picking up her second foul with 7:37 left in the half. She stayed out the rest of the way and the Devils suffered for it. Chidom came out fired up to begin the second half, with a steal and layup, a board and back-to-back post-ups. A couple of treys and some foul shots put Duke back up at 36-35. Duke was pressuring the ball as I noted they needed to do in my preview and forced four turnovers.

Just when Duke had a chance to take control, they started coughing up the ball again. In the last 5:26 of the quarter, Duke turned the ball over five times and missed five shots. Wake only mustered three points during this stretch, and it's important to note that Wake didn't win because they had a dazzling, consistent effort that knocked Duke out. They faced droughts of their own, turned the ball over and missed 12 foul shots. The game felt like both teams were trying to hand over the win to their opponent for long stretches.

The beginning of the fourth quarter decided the game. Duke overcame a bad turnover from Salvadores into a 42-40 lead, thanks, to scores from Angela and Henson. An 8-0 Wake run gave them just enough of a cushion to hold off Duke. It certainly helped that Lambert missed 2 free throws and Salvadores 1 during the stretch. Wake could never quite put the Devils away, however.

Every time Duke got close, Ariel Stephenson or Amber Campbell would make a play. Duke's end-game management was awful, as the Devils took their time fouling to get the ball back and trying to use quick-hitters to to come back. The Deacs hit their last four foul shots to offset a three by Salvadores, but the Devils weren't able to pressure the ball. Duke had any number of ways they could have won this in game but kept finding ways to lose. Salvadores finished with 16 and Greenwell with 11, while Campbell burned Duke for 27 points. Penna had 10 and Stephenson 11 for Wake, who are putting together precisely the kind of turnaround needed to boost coach Jen Hoover's case for continuing to be the program's steward.

DWHoops Nosh Player of the Game

Oderah Chidom. She had 18 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks. Oderah had nine of her points in Duke's huge third quarter and has started to step up in Azura' Stevens' absence.

Five Fast Observations About Duke-Wake Forest

Presented in memory of Jim Sabiston
  1. Outworked Inside. Duke's posts towered over Wake's, but the Deac frontcourt of Quinn and Penna combined for 22 rebounds, as opposed to 11 for Chidom and Henson. That allowed Wake a couple of possessions and took away a couple of possessions from Duke, and that proved to be decisive in a game this close.

  2. Not Getting Better. The injuries and Duke's overall youth have been big problems, to be sure. However, this team peaked in early December, went way downhill in late December and early January, rebounded a bit and has now hit lows the program hasn't seen in 22 years. It's not because the players aren't working hard; there are few players I've seen who want to win more than Rebecca Greenwell or Angela Salvadores. This team badly needed to be coached up, motivated, and encouraged to work on individual skills with coaches. It is obvious from the results on the floor that none of this has happened, as the players are making precisely the same mistakes they made earlier in the year.

  3. Moral Victories Are Losses. Celebrating a good quarter here or impressive run there are the sort of things Duke's opponents used to do after the Devils beat them. The Devils right now are reduced to precisely this kind of rhetoric.

  4. Crunched During Crunch Time. Duke has been in a number of close games this year and has done a poor job closing out. They had any number of ranked teams right where they wanted them this year, and even without Stevens, Duke had real opportunities to beat Miami and FSU. Instead, the team made mistakes and Duke's opponents made key adjustments down the stretch that Duke didn't match.

  5. Bench Deficit. Clearly, Duke is at a disadvantage in terms of depth compared to where they started the year. Three players are currently out due to injury (Stevens, Haley Gorecki, and Lynee' Belton), and and another is suspended in Kendall Cooper. That said, this was supposed to be one of coach McCallie's deepest teams ever, and the fact is that the remaining bench has not stepped up in a number of games. Against Wake, the Deacs used two bench players a total of twenty minutes, and Duke used four bench players for a total of 47 minutes. The Wake bench outscored the Duke bench, 5-4.

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Previewing Duke at Wake Forest
Previewing Duke at Virginia Tech

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