For 12 days DWHoops will count down the ACC with three items about each team - including factoids, new players to note, trends or other observations. We continue today with our own Duke Blue Devils, predicted to finish second in the league.
DWHoops ACC Prediction: #2
- The team is scary-fast. Baseline-to-baseline, Duke's team speed even matches
up with the usual burners at UNC. The slowest players are Joy Cheek & Krystal
Thomas, and even they are pretty mobile. That speed can be overwhelming
against many opponent.
- They're tough. Especially Karima Christmas, who seems to play better after
she's been knocked down a couple of times. When she's mad, watch out. Ask
Marissa Coleman about how physical Bridgette Mitchell is.
- They don't always fit together well on the court. Many of the team's players were
recruited for a more fluid offense (Jasmine Thomas was born to play in a high
pick-and-roll offense), and there's some resistance to the more patterned,
post-oriented offense of Coach McCallie. Not in the sense of rebellion, but in
the sense that some players have trouble internalizing the goals of that offense
while still being able to read defenses and come up with the best possible shot.
This has meant long scoreless stretches punctuated by a lack of focus at both
ends, especially against teams that Duke can't turn over easily. Duke tends to
snap out of it when someone does something tough, like get a difficult offensive
rebound, block a shot or disrupt a pass. The team then snaps back into focus
and starts one of their scoring runs. How well Duke winds up doing this year
will depend on how well they can synch up with the coaches while maintaining
focus, court awareness and unselfishness.