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Previewing Temple and Providence
By Rob Clough
December 30, 2009

Duke Rings Out the Old in Philly, Friars Start 2010 in Cameron

Temple - Thursday 12/31 @ 2 PM - McGonigle Hall

Last Year: 21-10, NCAA 1st Round
Currently: 10-2

Last Meeting: 1/5/09: Duke Press Eviscerates Owls, 87-52

Significant Losses: The Owls lost leading scorer and dominant post player Shenita Landry, who averaged 12 ppg and 9 ppg. Also gone are post Shanea Cotton (10 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.5 bpg) and gunner Lindsay Kimmel (5 ppg, 34% 3FG).

Who's Coming Back: The Owls return two double-digit scorers in guards Qwedia Wallace (11 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg, 41% 3FG) and LaKeisha Eaddy (11 ppg, 4 rpg, 5.5 apg, 31.5% 3FG). Also returning are forward Kristen McCarthy (9 ppg, 4 rpg, 31% 3FG), center Jasmine Stone (5 ppg, 4 rpg), guard BJ Williams (3 ppg, 2 apg), guard Kristie Watkins-Day (3 ppg, 2 rpg) and center Marli Bennett (3 ppg, 4 rpg).

The Skinny: The Owls are having a solid season despite losing several key players. They've knocked off Illinois, Auburn and Rutgers so far, the latter team on the road. Their only losses came at Hartford (a team that beat Duke recently) and a horrendous offensive showing against the deliberate pace of Villanova, where they scored just 32 points. Wallace has been the team's best player, averaging 13 ppg and shooting 38% from three, but Eaddy's been in a serious shooting slump (19% from three and just 8 ppg overall).

Eaddy is stil doing a solid job as the team's point, averaging 4 apg. McCarthy has stepped up as a sophomore, putting up 11 ppg and grabbing 6 rpg. Stone has also improved with increased minutes, scoring 8 ppg and hauling down an impressive 9 rpg. Williams and Bennett have also improved their production, scoring 7 and ppg, respectively. Frosh forward Natasha Thomas has started half the team's games and is averaging 4 ppg and 4 rpg.

The Owls are going to want to mix it up inside, despite being smaller than Duke. They're going to get physical in trying to get to the basket, a plan that works for them as they go to the line about 20 times a game. Duke's had a propensity for fouling too much in a bid to stay aggressive, so they'll have to be careful in that regard. The Owls get about 15 offensive rebounds a game, which helps explain their ability to get to the line. Temple does turn the ball over quite a bit (18 times a game) and they don't have a great playmaker beyond Eaddy. Look for Duke to up the ante on physicality by using its twin tower sets with K.Thomas and Vernerey, and then following that up by throwing Christmas and Cheek inside. As long as Duke sends someone to shadow Wallace from beyond the arc, the Devils should be able to throttle Temple's offense in the paint. The Owls will likely keep it close for a while, but Duke's pressure will likely get them a run or two that will keep the Owls at arm's length.

  • Owls crashing the offensive glass.

Providence - Sunday 1/3 @ 1 PM - Cameron Indoor Stadium

Last Year: 10-20
Currently: 8-3

Last Meeting: 12/31/08: D and Threes Ring Out Friars, 66-49

Significant Losses: The Friars lost only two players, gunner Catherine Rove (7 ppg, 34% 3FG) and post Shantee Darrian (5 ppg, 7 rpg).

Who's Coming Back: Everyone else is back for a Providence program that's trying to make a move. Guard Chelsea Marandola led the team in scoring at 13 ppg and also grabbed 5 rpg. She shot 30% from long range. 6-4 forward Emily Cournoyer scored 10 ppg and also got 5 rpg & 1.5 bpg. Forward Mi-Khida Hankins averaged 10 ppg, 4.5 rpg and about a block a game. Guard Brittany Dorsey came off the bench to averaged 6 ppg while Trinity Hull got a few starts but also put up 6 ppg. Guard Lola Wells led the team in assists (just over 2 per game), while 6-5 center Jessica Clark averaged 1 ppg and 2.5 rpg in limited minutes.

The Skinny: There's no question that Providence has improved. They beat Hartford and won at Rhode Island & UMass, though they did fall to Vermont, Hofstra & Pepperdine. Marandola is shooting a lights-out 43% from long range, boosting her average to 18 ppg. Hankins has also stepped up to score 16 ppg and grab 6 rpg. Dorsey has stepped into a starting role and has responded with 11 ppg and 35% shooting from three. Cournoyer is solid at 9.5 ppg along with 6 rpg, while Hull is averaging 5 ppg but has stepped into a role as the team's playmaker. Clark is also playing more minutes and has done well off the bench.

This is a solid team with some size, depth and scoring weapons. They've done a nice job defensively (60 ppg, 35% FG, 20 turnovers forced a game) and are physical enough to get to the line 18 times a game. Despite their size, they are not a great rebounding team and are susceptible to opponents crashing the offensive boards. This will need to be a point of emphasis, given that Providence will likely dare Duke to shoot over a zone manned by long-armed players. The key to this game will be locking up Marandola and keeping Hankins under control. Dorsey is foul-prone and may well take herself out of the game if Duke attacks her off the dribble. The rest of the Friars are good, but not good enough to hang with Duke.

This is another game that could be close for a few minutes as Duke tries to find a rhythm. The lessons learned against NC Central (making the extra pass, trying to find the best shot, and working the ball around to make defenses move) should be closely heeded here, because the Devils could find themselves with plenty of great looks if they work diligently. That will, in turn, open up the post and the lane to dribble penetration. Look for Duke to pound the glass to get extra possessions (with Mitchell & Christmas in particular playing a significant role) and simply wear Providence down with superior firepower. Providence may play Duke even in some areas, but they don't have any significant advantages to hang their hats on, and that will start to show as the the game wears on. It should also be noted that Providence doesn't have a go-to ballhandler, so look for Duke to pressure everyone.

  • Marandola getting open shots

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