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Devils Take Down Wingate, 99-31
 
Armistice Day 2009
Devils Stifle the Seawolves, 100-32
By Orin Day
November 9, 2009

Final Tuneup Sees Five Devils in Double Figures


Duke hosted Alaska-Anchorage Sunday in the final dress rehearsal of the 2009-10 season, entertaining the fans in Cameron with a 100-32 rout of the Seawolves. Anchorage is a perennial Division II power, a national semifinalist last spring and now a consensus top 10 preseason pick at that level, but no match for a Division I powerhouse.
Duke's defense was too much for UAA.
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Powered by a couple early threes from shooting guard Tamar Gruwell (a 38% shooter from that range last season) the 'wolves hung with Duke in the first five minutes. Jasmine Thomas had two threes of her own in the first segment, but UAA tied the score at 10 on a layup by Nikki Aden. After that goal the Devils seemed to wake up to the fact that they were longer and quicker than Anchorage, firing up a wicked full-court press that took the air out of the Seawolves sails. "The pressure they put on us is something we won't see again," said UAA Head Coach Tim Moser. "There are some teams at our level that do it with length and athleticism, so it's something we wanted to see." But perhaps more than they wanted to see, as Duke scored 23 of their 47 first half points off turnovers. On the occasions when the visitors did get the ball across half court, the shot clock was often in single digits, resulting in low-percentage forced shots and poor rebounding position for the already shorter Seawolves.

Meanwhile Duke became more and more comfortable in their half-court sets, figuring out that against the matchup zone that working the ball into the post was to their advantage. They found high percentage shots inside when available, but also kicking out when the defense collapsed. A case in point was Karima Christmas' four open threes, with assists on those treys from J.Thomas, Bridgette Mitchell, Alison Vernerey, and Joy Cheek. Cheek and Kathleen Scheer each added a three of their own as Duke ran out to a 47-22 halftime advantage. Sending the Seawolves to the line for 10 free throw attempts was one of the only factors that kept the score that close in a very physical first half.

In the second half Duke laid off the press in favor of tough half-court defense, stifling any UAA hopes of a closer contest. Coach McCallie said, "I liked a lot of things we did [in the] second half in particular in terms of intensity and position defense." In fact the Devils didn't allow a field goal for nearly 20 minutes of play, from 5:20 in the first half until 7:41 in the second, with Duke dropping 43 points in that span. Anchorage only scored twice from the paint in the entire game and those buckets were separated by over 30 minutes. When Duke clamped down on their outside shooters, that was the ballgame.

Of course there were many standouts for Duke. Christmas had an impressive line of 18 points (6-8 FG, 4-4 3FG), 9 boards, 3 assists, and 3 steals. J.Thomas and Cheek were nearly as efficient in scoring 20 and 14 respectively. Vereney put up an 18 point / 10 rebound double-double while Alexis Rogers was the fifth Blue Devil to score double digits. Scheer hit two threes and had a nice finish down low. Chelsea Hopkins continued in the right direction with 5 assists, 4 boards, and a very strong fast break finish. Bridgette Mitchell and Krystal Thomas didn't have optimal shooting days but contributed in other ways, each had a pair of blocks and a pair of assists. Shay Selby took the floor the first time this season after surgery and illness, she's still shaking off the rust but should be ready for Friday's season opener. Keturah Jackson is still awaiting medical clearance for competition, but should also be available for the 2 game road trip. Duke faces Houston Baptist on Friday at 8:30 PM, followed by a 3 PM Sunday meeting with Texas A&M in College Station.

Note: 2009-10 DWHoops Membership information is available here.



Devils Take Down Wingate, 99-31
 
Armistice Day 2009

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