Here are some additional items on Duke's recent trip to Cancun and tonight's matchup with Ohio State, based on interviews with Jasmine Thomas and Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie.
- Jasmine said that the difference between the team's sparkling play in Cancun and their more sluggish play prior to that was simply focus. The beaches and fun activities, rather than distracting the team from taking care of business, actually made them more anxious to play. She said Duke was "exploding with energy" when they hit the floor, which was all the more impressive because there was no crowd in the tiny ballroom. While the official attendance was
150, eyewitnesses said that it was more like 30 people.
- Coach P noted that being in an environment with no academic pressure was
important, but the fact that there was minimal use of cell phones made the team
interact with each other more directly during down time. After the games, she
told her team that "this focus is THE focus we need" the rest of the year.
- Jasmine said that the team is still working on trying to attack zones, noting
that they were trying to pass more and dribble less. In her triple-double game
against Marquette, she said that she didn't let her poor shooting affect her
and concentrated on dominating the game in other ways.
- On Ohio State, Coach P noted that Keturah Jackson would start off defending electrifying point guard Samantha Prahalis. Regarding Jantel Lavender, she
noted that the toughest thing about her is the way she can catch, turn and
shoot with a high degree of accuracy. Don't look for Duke to use a lot of
double-teams on her because of their shooters.
- OSU uses a lot of on-ball screens to free up Prahalis. Duke will have to
find ways to cut her off before she turns the corner off a screen. The Devils
will try to stay in front of her at all times, and won't just concede jumpers
- Duke won't turn to a junk defense like a triangle-and-two (on Prahalis &
Lavender) because rebounding tends to suffer in such sets.
- A few player notes from McCallie: KJ has almost regained full range of motion in her shoulder. Joy Cheek needs to be more consistent with her aggressiveness
and not fall "victim to perfectionism". She considers Karima to be a "sixth
starter" and noted that she's playing a lot more power forward these days. She
liked what Shay Selby did against Marquette; Jasmine noted that the first thing
Shay did when she got in the game was take a charge.
- As the season progresses, she expects to use a 9-player rotation, but who the
8th and 9th players will be will depend on the game. Vernerey has cemented her
place as the 7th player. Alexis Rogers, she said, needs to play harder all the
Tickets are still available for Ohio State at Duke, 7 PM tonight (Thursday 12/3) in Cameron.