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Devils Withstand Wake, 65-51
Photo Gallery
 
Duke Takes Down Canes, 69-62
The Nutshell
Previewing Miami
By Rob Clough
January 12, 2010

Devils to Face Katie Meier's Upstart Canes Thursday


Miami - Thursday 1/14 @ 7 PM - BankUnited Center

Last Year: 13-17, 2-12 ACC
Last Meeting: 1/9/09: Duke 73, Miami 58
Current Record: 13-2, 1-0 ACC

Significant Losses: G LaToya Cunningham (8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3 apg, 36% FG) was the team's chief long-range threat and second-best passer. Epiphany Woodson (7 ppg, 2 rpg, 2.5 apg) transferred to Charlotte after a couple of solid seasons. LaToya Drake (5.5 ppg, 3 rpg) never fulfilled her presence as an athletic post. Lamese James (5 ppg, 3 rpg) returned from pregnancy to become a solid role player. Bit players Vitalija Vasciunaite, Briyana Blair and Damisha Moore combined for 9 ppg and all decided to transfer.

Who's Coming Back: Soph W Shenise "MoMo" Johnson immediately established herself as Miami's best player very quickly last season, leading the team in scoring (13 ppg), rebounding (7 rpg), assists (4 apg), steals (78) and even blocks (29). She was also a lights-out foul shooter at 82%. Fellow soph G Riquna Williams emerged as a capable scoring sidekick, putting up 9 ppg but playing better in ACC games. Senior W Charmaine Clark (6 ppg, 4 rpg) will be the most experienced player on the team. Senior posts Diane Barnes (6 ppg, 4 rpg) and Ashley Sours (4 ppg, 3 rpg) will need to provide a more consistent presence down low. Soph forward Sylvia Bullock (3 ppg, 2 rpg) is an intriguing player with considerable size who could be another possibility in the post

Miami Head Coach Katie Meier meets
Debbie Leonard, her coach at Duke,
before the 2009 Miami/Duke tilt.

The Skinny on 2010: The Canes have gone from "intriguing" to a legitimate threat to win any game in the league. Their 13 wins matches last year's entire output, and they're just one game into their ACC schedule. Their victory over Florida State was not a fluke, nor simply a result of an off night from the Seminoles. Miami has the athletes, and more importantly the scorers, to give anyone a hard time. Against Florida State, they used the shooting of Williams, Clark & Yderstrom to force the Seminoles to play catch-up at times, and the U had just enough of a post presence to keep FSU honest.

Miami only plays 7 against real opponents. That would include seniors Barnes & Clark, sophs Johnson & Williams and rebounding specialist Bullock. Williams is leading the ACC in scoring with 22 ppg, shooting an impressive 36% from three. She also dishes out 3 apg and grabs 4 rpg & 2 spg. She's a shifty guard who can step back and hit pull-up jumpers from anywhere as well as attack the basket. Williams has a flair for the dramatic, like picking off a pass in the FSU game to tie the score at halftime. Johnson is third in the ACC in scoring at 18 ppg, but she excels doing a little of everything: 7.5 rpg, 4.6 apg, 40% shooting from three, and 2.6 spg. Controlling this duo will obviously be Duke's top priority. Expect KJ to draw Williams and Jasmine to get Johnson, but also expect to see Christmas spend time bodying them up. One big key will be to keep Williams off the foul line, as she averages 4 foul shots a game, while Johnson averages 4.3.

Barnes is having a career year with 10 ppg and 10 rpg. Bullock is a physical presence who leads the team with 23 blocks and who also grabs 5.6 rpg. Frosh Morgan Strom is a wiry Shane Battier type: a glue player who doesn't need the ball to make an impact in the game. She, like the rest of her teammates, loves to take charges. The Devils will have to be very careful on how the game is being called when attacking the basket as a result of Miami's patrolling the lane. Duke's players should take the pull-up jumper when available, instead of always trying to take it all the way. The other player of note to be aware of is frosh guard Stefanie Yderstrom, a player Duke considered but ultimately had to abandon on the recruiting trail because of grades. She adds another deluxe shooter to Miami's lineup, bumping their team scoring average up to an impressive 80 ppg.

Duke will need to press their advantages in size and quality depth to wear Miami down and get key players in foul trouble. This Miami squad has only lost to Nebraska and Texas (both ranked), and there was the overall sense that Miami could have and should have beaten those teams, but just didn't execute. They are still young and trying to figure things out, but they're inching closer and closer to their goal with each game. Getting their breakthrough win against FSU will no doubt give this team a lot of confidence.

The Devils have to disrupt Miami's chemistry and force the players to become one-on-one artists. Jasmine needs to dominate at both ends, and Joy Cheek needs to press her scoring and size advantages to get good looks. This would also be a very good time for Krystal Thomas & Allison Vernerey to reassert themselves on offense, because Miami doesn't have a lot of height. If Duke can get Miami's bigs in foul trouble, the Canes will collapse defensively. This is a very dangerous game for Duke, considering that it's on the road, and they have to be careful or else they will really get Miami on a roll in ACC play.

   
  • Silly turnovers leading to easy Miami baskets.
 




Devils Withstand Wake, 65-51
Photo Gallery
 
Duke Takes Down Canes, 69-62
The Nutshell

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