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3 Things To Know: North Carolina
3 Things To Know: Duke
Previewing Clemson
By Rob Clough
January 5, 2010

Devils Travel to Littlejohn to Kick Off 2010 ACC Campaign

Clemson - Thursday 1/7 @ 7 PM - Littlejohn Coliseum

Last Year: 14-17, 2-12 ACC
Last Meeting: 2/13/09: Duke 77, Clemson 53
Current Record: 9-6

Significant Losses: F Whitney Hood (7 ppg, 3 rpg) was one of Clemson's few quasi-effective low-post scorers, and she transferred after last season. G Tasha Taylor (5 ppg, 2 rpg, 3 apg) was never quite the same after she tore her ACL a couple of years ago, and didn't make a huge impact as a senior.

Clemson's Lele Hardy

Clemson Head Coach Cristy McKinney
Who's Coming Back: Senior W Lele Hardy (16 ppg, 8 rpg, 3 apg, 3 spg, 34% 3FG) is one of the ACC's most exciting players, one who does it all at both ends for her team. Junior G Sthefany Thomas (8 ppg, 3 rpg, 27% 3FG) is a streaky shooter who will have the chance to seize a starting position. Senior F April Parker (6 ppg, 4 rpg) is another decent post scorer who will look to produce in her more natural PF position. Junior G Kirstyn Wright (4 ppg, 2 rpg) and sophomore G Bryelle Smith (4 ppg, 38% 3FG) are both shooters who are looking to become more consistent. Sophomore C Shaniqua Pauldo (4 ppg, 2.5 rpg) has great size and is looking to translate that into game-to-game consistency. Senior G Christy Brown (4 ppg, 2 rpg) showed a lot of potential early in her career, but she's suffered from injuries that have slowed down her productivity. Junior F Jasmine Tate (4 ppg, 5 rpg) had some decent minutes as a slightly undersized post. Sophomore F Lindsay Mason (2 ppg, 1 rpg) is a big body who could earn some minutes this year as a banger.

The Skinny: Cristy McKinney has struggled in trying to rebuild the once-feared Clemson program. The state's most talented players have gone elsewhere for college, with UNC taking the lion's share but both Duke & UConn have Palmetto State hoopsters on their rosters. With USC hiring Dawn Staley (who promptly landed high school All-America Kelsey Bone), there's more pressure still for McKinney. Her biggest problem has been attracting skilled players with size to her squad, as well as stabilizing the point guard position.

The positive news in Tigerland is that Pauldo has made good on some of her potential and is turning in 12 ppg and 5 rpg every night, shooting 51% from the field. In other good news, frosh point guard Keyrra Gillespie seized a starting role quickly and is dishing out 5.4 assists per game. She's not much of a scoring threat (5 ppg), but she's making things easier for Pauldo and superstar Lele Hardy. Hardy's up to her usual tricks: 15 ppg, 9 rpg, nearly 3 apg, and 3 spg. Thomas and Wright have been battling for the starting off guard role, with Thomas averaging 8 ppg and Wright scoring 7 pg. Both are shooting in the low 30s in terms of three point percentage.

There's a hole at power forward, as April Parker hasn't stepped up as expected and is only scoring 4 ppg. That's an average that a number of players, including Bryelle Smith, Lindsey Mason, and Jasmine Tate, seem to be stuck on. The Tigers score 69 points a game, which is an improvement over recent years but is tempered by their turnover problems (20 a game) and their inability to stop opponents (they give up 69 ppg). Most distressingly, their foes average 23 free throw attempts per game, a testament to a lack of post stoppers and young players not moving their feet quickly enough on defense.

Duke's mission is clear: keep the ball out of Hardy's hands. If she does have the ball, make her shoot jump shots, preferably from behind the arc. Both Pauldo and Hardy average about three fouls a game each, so the Devils must try to attack them both.

Otherwise, Duke should use their length and quickness to force turnovers, especially in the halfcourt when they can use a zone trap. As long as Duke keeps a hand in the faces of shooters, this is a game they shouldn't have too much trouble winning. That said, the Devils have to take care of the ball. If you see Duke entering into double-digit turnover territory in the first half, the game has a chance to be fairly close. If Duke attacks the offensive boards and makes the extra pass without getting sloppy, then Duke's advantages will be too much for Clemson to overcome. A variable might be the crowd. Clemson is one of the worst-drawing teams in the ACC, but a chance to see Duke might bring a bigger (and louder) crowd than normal.

  • Hardy getting to the line or
    scoring off of steals.

3 Things To Know: North Carolina
3 Things To Know: Duke

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