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Previewing Duke at Virginia Tech
 
Previewing Georgia Tech at Duke
Devils Escape VT, 66-62
By Rob Clough
February 18, 2016

Late Comeback Evens Duke's ACC Record


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CASSELL COLISEUM -- Behind a dominant rebounding performance and sizzling three point shooting, Duke overcame 22 turnovers to snap their three game losing streak with a 66-62 win over Virginia Tech. Duke is now 18-11, squaring their ACC record at 7-7, while VT is 15-11 (3-10 ACC). The game started as the past few games have, with neither team able to get any separation in the early going. Oderah Chidom scored six quick points for Duke, but the Devils were hampered when Amber Henson picked up two quick fouls.

The Hokies were up 10-9 when Faith Suggs splashed in a three, spurring a 7-1 run that ended the quarter. Crystal Primm hit a jumper and Angela Salvadores scored on a drive as the Hokies missed two shots and turned the ball over twice. It was important for Duke to finish on a high note, considering that the end of first quarters has been tough for the Devils this year.

After going up 18-11 thanks to a Rebecca Greenwell drive, the Hokies went on a 12-3 run and took the lead. A couple of Duke turnovers fueled the Tech run and two offensive rebounds eventually led to a go-ahead three. Only another Suggs trey prevented the span from being totally one-sided. Hannah Young, Sidney Cook and Vanessa Panousis all hit threes to keep the Hokies on top, but Chidom countered with a couple of baskets to prevent things from getting out of hand. VT led 31-25 before Erin Mathias hit a couple of freebies, and the Hokies had two cracks from the three point line that didn't land to keep their lead at 31-27. VT getting hot from three is precisely what Duke hoped to avoid, and the Hokies were playing with a lot of energy and flow.

When Suggs turned the ball over and Panousis stuck another three to begin the third quarter, things started to look grim for the Devils. However, Duke spread the floor to combat the triangle-and-two VT coach Dennis Wolff was using to combat Greenwell and Salvadores (they combined for two points in the second quarter), and it started to open up some scoring options when Henson got back on the floor. She nailed a three to make it 34-30, then Salvadores and Henson went back-to-back from distance after the Hokies scored to tie the game at 36.

Young popped a three to regain the lead for VT, but Chidom found Primm cutting to the basket just as she was on the verge of falling out of bounds. Cook hit another three and then Duke turned the ball over, and this was part of a 7-1 run that reestablished VT's seven point lead at 46-39. Once again, Duke was undaunted, as they finished the last 3:34 of the quarter on a 10-0 run. After Salvadores hit a three, it was the Greenwell show, as she finished on a cut, hit a foul shot, stuck back a miss after a foul shot, and then finished on a pass from Chidom. Suddenly, it was 49-46 Duke, and the Hokies didn't help their cause by missing two big foul shots.

The Devils couldn't stand prosperity as a turnover led to a Hokie basket to start the fourth quarter, but Salvadores ripped through the defense with a drive. On Duke's next possession, the Devils got four offensive rebounds before Greenwell scored to make it 53-48. This should have been a back-breaking play, but a Salvadores turnover led to a wide-open three by Cook, and Young tied the game up at 53 after a Duke miss.

Primm hit two critical free throws and Greenwell scored on a drive after a key block by Chidom that gave her momentum, and the Devils led 57-53 with five minutes left. Back came the Hokies with a jumper, but Kyra Lambert found Chidom inside to restore that four point lead. Young was somehow left wide open for a three, but Henson found Chidom inside to make it 61-58.

Naturally, this is when Duke went cold. They missed four shots and turned the ball over once in a nearly three minute span, and the Hokies took the lead at 62-61 and had the ball after a Salvadores turnover. As they inbounded the ball, post Taijah Campbell didn't chase down an errant pass, and the result was a turnover. Given a new lease on life, Chidom found Lambert after being double-teamed, and Kyra swished a jumper to give Duke the lead.

After being composed for 39 minutes, the Hokies suddenly went into panic mode. Speedy guard Chanette Hicks missed a layup, and the Hokies had to hack away at Duke to put them in the bonus. The Devils were able to run off eighteen seconds in the process before Chidom (she of the 58% foul shooting percentage) got fouled. Oderah made one shot to make it 64-62 with seventeen seconds left. Young took a shot just four seconds into their possession, but the Hokies got the ball back. Young took an off-balance three with eight seconds left that Chidom collared, and the Devils wisely called time-out to advance the ball into the frontcourt. (The Devils missed doing this in a tight game earlier in the year, but the fact that VT had just done it probably jogged a few memories as to this new rule.) They got the ball to Greenwell, who got fouled with four seconds left and iced the game with two freebies.

Greenwell had 15 points and 9 rebounds while Salvadores notched 10 points and 4 assists. For the Hokies, Cook had 20, Young had 15 and Panousis 11. While it was far from a perfect win, Duke managed to pull out a close win, coming back from a late deficit and then holding the lead. They literally have not done this since the first game of the year, when they beat Penn on the road (which per the RPI is incidentally Duke's best win of the year).

DWHoops Nosh Player of the Game

Oderah Chidom. She had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks as she boosted Duke in the early going and had some key assists.

Five Fast Observations About Duke-Virginia Tech

Presented in memory of Jim Sabiston
  1. Poise Wins The Day. Virginia Tech had all sorts of chances to win the game down the stretch, but they panicked and put up a series of bad shots. Meanwhile, Duke hit 3 of 4 from the foul line to ice the game.

  2. Gift-Wrapped Offense. In my preview, I noted that Duke had to avoid live-ball turnovers and giving the Hokies extra possessions through miscues. Naturally, the Hokies had an astounding 29-11 edge in points off turnovers. That was almost enough to give them the win, but their half-court execution was spotty when they didn't have the head start with a turnover.

  3. O-Board Stand-Off.Duke had a 14-12 edge in offensive rebounds, but even that advantage was a bit illusory. There were several possessions that Duke had multiple o-boards, and Duke came up empty after a couple of them. This accounts for Duke's slim 11-8 edge in second-chance points. Considering that the Hokies were missing post Regan Magarity, this was a serious issue.

  4. Live By The Three.Here's something you may not know: Duke is one of the better three point shooting teams in the ACC. It's just that Duke doesn't take as many threes as their opponents, and they tend to zero in on Rebecca Greenwell. Three point shooting was the number one reason why Duke was able to have a lead after three quarters and overcome VT's lead, with the Devils hitting three in a row early on to tie the game up. With Faith Suggs as another shooting weapon, Duke will need to continue to emphasize this.

  5. Trust Wins The Day. With under a minute left, Oderah Chidom faced a choice: try to put up a hero shot in an effort to get fouled, or allow the double-team to dictate passing to Kyra Lambert, who was open but ice-cold? Chidom chose to trust her teammate, who responded with the game-winning shot. This is how teams are made.

For additional exclusive analysis of this game, please join DWHoops today. DWHoops photos will return on Senior Day vs. Georgia Tech, Sunday 2/21 in Cameron at 2 PM.



Previewing Duke at Virginia Tech
 
Previewing Georgia Tech at Duke

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