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 2012 ACC Tournament Coverage
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ACC 1st Round: #4 GT 54, #5 UNC 53
ACC QF: #9 NCSU 75, #1 Duke 73
Player by Player

ACC QF: #9 NCSU 75, #1 Duke 73
THE NUTSHELL: Wolfpack Women Stun #1 Duke
Published March 2, 2012


By Rob Clough
DWHoops thanks Belton Joyner for his extremely generous support of DWHoops ACC Tournament coverage

Duke's loss to NC State was one of a lack of intensity, a lack of preparation, and a lack of attention to detail. Despite all of that, the Devils had a chance to win the game at the end, and simply blew it. This loss is an ugly mark on Duke's resume, as they not only put their status as a #2 seed in Raleigh in jeopardy, they became the first #1 seed to lose to a #8 seed or lower in the history of the ACC tournament. They did this against a team they had beaten by 25 points earlier in the season, and it seemed clear that the Devils played to the level of the their opponent here. That said, NC State came out brimming with confidence after their close win yesterday, and their early success in this game further spurred them to play well even when Duke took the lead.

The Wolfpack put Duke in a 13-6 hole in the early going as the Devils committed 7 turnovers that led to 7 State points. Duke tied the game at 17 thanks to 4 points by Gray and a trey by Haley Peters. It was one of many times that the Devils shut off their intensity after a short period of strong play, as the Pack's Marissa Kastanek drained a three to make it 24-19 -- and she was wide open with plenty of time. A drive by Shay Selby and a trey by Tricia Liston knotted the game at 24, but the Pack kept Duke at arm's length until Gray took over. She had a steal and layup that knotted the score at 29, and then stuck a long jumper that tied the game at 31. The Devils failed to block out and little-used post reserve Kiana Evans had a three point play. Gray scored on a runner and drained 2 free throws to give Duke a 35-34 lead, but a silly foul by frosh Ka'lia Johnson put State on the line for 2 shots. Elizabeth Williams muscled up over a couple of players to score, and the Devils blew a chance to extend their lead when Johnson turned the ball over. Gray had 4 turnovers in the first half, but she led the team with 16 points.

Duke scored the first 4 points of the second half, including a pretty fast break finish by Selby where Williams had a touch pass to her in mid-stride. Two free throws by Selby made it 43-38, but the Pack scored the next 6 points of the game thanks in part to a couple of missed free throws by Williams and a turnover. Williams scored to put Duke back on top and Liston sank a three to make it 48-44. A stickback by State and a turnover by Gray that led to a State runout that tied the game at 48 in mere seconds. The Devils scored 6 straight points on a fast break by Gray, a high-low finish from Williams and a drive by Gray with about thirteen minutes to go. Duke had 2 chances to extend that lead, but State's Bonae Holston stole the ball from Gray under Duke's basket for an easy score. An offensive rebound by Allison Vernerey led to a score by Duke, but turnovers by Gray and Peters led to 4 straight points for State. Kathleen Scheer had a stickback to push the lead to 4, but a huge three by defensive specialist Emili Tasler (her second straight huge shot in as many games) made it 59-58 in favor of State.

Vernerey scored and Gray put Duke up by 3 with a drive, but a push after that score put State's Myisha Goodwin-Coleman on the line for 2 foul shots. A turnover by Williams led to Goodwin-Coleman draining a straight-on three. Gray hit a free throw, but Holston hit a shot and Williams put Goodwin-Coleman on the line for 2 more free throws. Duke was down 68-63 with 3:45 left, but Gray found Williams for a score to cut it to 3. Kastanek hit a wide-open three and Liston missed a short shot that was rebounded by State's Kody Burke. Williams was called for a foul going over the back, but Burke missed the front end of a one-and-one. Williams was then called for a push on Kastanek on a play that seemed iffy, but Duke had certainly done little to earn the benefit of the doubt at that point. Gray scored on a drive to cut it to 73-67 with 2:21 to go. Holston then missed a shot that was called off of Duke, and Gray was called for a hold before the ball was even inbounded again. That put State up by 8 with two minutes left.

Liston got free in the corner and drilled a three to make it 75-70. Selby blocked a shot by Burke and Duke got the board, and Liston drained a three on a pass from Peters. State missed a couple of shots and Duke had a chance to tie, but Liston missed a shot with 20 seconds left. Tasler missed 2 free throws and Peters grabbed the board with 16 seconds left. Gray drove and was fouled driving across the lane. Incredibly, the Closer missed the front end of a one-and-one that would have tied the game, and State simply ran out the clock. For the game, Duke got massively outhustled. State had a 26-13 edge in points off turnovers and a 21-16 advantage on second-chance points. That offset their 39% shooting, as did their 16-20 shooting from the foul line. For Duke, their lack of energy and lack of hustle exposed the fact that they're walking a very thin line with the injury to Richa Jackson. Without another player who can improvise off the dribble, State was able to pack the lane because they knew no one but Chelsea was going to come at them. The Devils will need to find out how to motivate themselves and do so from the very beginning of games, as opposed to just when the score gets tight.

What's Next For Duke: The Devils will have plenty of time to sit and stew about the free throws they missed, the rebounds they failed to snag and the unforced turnovers that they gagged up. Duke's status as a #2 seed is potentially in danger as well, depending on what happens the rest of the way in the tournament and in other tournaments.

What's Next For NC State: The Wolfpack Women made history as the first #8 or #9 seed to defeat a #1 seed. They'll have a bruising battle ahead of them with Georgia Tech and will need to get the same kind of production they've received from Holston and Kastanek in the first two games against the Jackets. They'll need to win the ACC tournament to get an NCAA tournament bid, however.

Top Performers:

  1. Bonae Holston, NCS: 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals. The undersized Holston battled Elizabeth Williams to a standstill, uncorking that funky jumper that she takes from over her shoulder that floated in over Williams' hand on several occasions.

  2. Marissa Kastanek, NCS: 16 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals. The heart of State's team did a little of everything, including what turned out to be the game-winning free throws.

  3. Chelsea Gray, DU: 25 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals. Gray kept Duke in the game in the first half with her offense, but turnovers and crucial missed foul shots hurt.

Duke Blue Devils Team Box Score


NC State Team Box Score


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ACC 1st Round: #4 GT 54, #5 UNC 53
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