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Devils Survive the Hokies, 65-53
Player Stats
An Open Letter from Debbie Leonard
Previewing Georgia Tech
By Rob Clough
February 17, 2010

Devils Travel to Atlanta for First DWHoops Pink Zone Clash

Georgia Tech - Friday 2/19 @ 8:30 PM - Alexander Coliseum (FSN)

Last Meeting: 1/25/09: Duke D Dominates Jackets, 60-34
Current Records: Duke 21-4, 9-1 ACC (1st)
Georgia Tech 20-6, 6-4 ACC (4th)

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Tech Head Coach MaChelle Joseph
Significant Losses: G Jacqua Williams (12 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 apg, 3 spg) was one of many Jackets without a real position. She started at point (more or less), but that meant more of a defensive presence against opposing ballhandlers than someone who spent a lot of time initiating the offense. She was one of the best perimeter defenders in the ACC. F Iasia Hemingway (11 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 apg) was a bruising if undersized (5-11) forward who helped make Tech one of the most physical teams in the league. She wound up transferring to Syracuse. Shaday Woodcock (1 ppg) was a career backup.

Who's Coming Back: Junior G Alex Montgomery (14 ppg, 7 rpg, 2 apg, 2.5 spg, 36% 3FG) is one of the most versatile players in the ACC, but has been greatly slowed due to a severe knee injury suffered in the ACC tournament. The team missed their star, whose shooting, quickness and playmaking was tough to replace in the first month of the season. Junior G Deja Foster (9 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 apg, 2 spg) stepped up last season to become a solid secondary scorer, especially when she was attacking the basket. Senior F Brigitte Ardossi (8 ppg, 4.5 rpg) has been moved around a lot during her career, and this season the 6-2 player has seen a lot of time at guard. Sophomore C Sasha Goodlett (6 ppg, 4 rpg, 1 bpg) was one of the first "big-bigs" at Tech who actually had scoring skills. Her problem was one of fitness and endurance, which led to foul trouble. Sophomore W Mo Bennett (3.5 ppg, 2 rpg) started the season on fire but later hit the freshman wall. Sophomore C LaQuananisha Adams (2 ppg, 1 rpg) gives Tech another big body. Sophomore PG Metra Walthour (2 ppg) is poised to take over the point guard slot, while sophomore F Chelsea Regins (1.5 ppg) was another physical player with developing skills.

The Skinny on 2010: A sentence I didn't think I'd be writing for this preview before the season began was, "Duke will have trouble matching up with Brigitte Ardossi, who is a lock for first team All-ACC." Ardossi's move to the wing has been a huge boost for the Jackets, as she's transformed her body and her game as a senior. Averaging 15 ppg (18 ppg in ACC play) and 7.5 rpg (9 rpg in the league), she's become a reliable shooter from 17' and in, a solid post-up player, and a crafty penetrator who always finds ways to get to the line. Duke will likely start with Cheek on her, who must be extremely careful not to pick up cheap fouls. Krystal Thomas and Bridgette Mitchell will also likely get cracks at her.

Montgomery has started to come on, averaging 12 ppg and 4.5 rpg. At 36%, she's Tech's only reliable three point shooter. Duke can afford to let anyone else shoot it from distance but her. Keturah Jackson will be assigned to shadow her. Goodlett has had a fine season, averaging 10 ppg and 5 rpg. She is massive and may have success pushing Vernerey out of the paint at both ends, which means it might be up to the stronger Krystal Thomas to defend her. Goodlett turns the ball over at a rapid clip, so the Devils will likely double-team her as much as possible. Foster has been a solid supporting scorer, putting up 10 ppg and 6.5 rpg, all while leading the team in assists. She is strictly acting as a penetrator.

Tech does two things very well: rebound and pressure the ball. Duke is a better rebounding team, but Tech could hurt Duke's ability to get offensive rebounds with their sound effort in blocking out. Tech is also a relentlessly physical team, punishing and rattling opponents with body-to-body defense, elbows and lots of contact. Regins is one of the more physical players in that regard, so look for coach MaChelle Joseph to increase her minutes against Duke for that reason. Tech will try to use a full-court press at every opportunity and will especially spring it when non-ballhandlers happen to have the ball in their hands. Thet Jackets like to push tempo and force other teams to rush things. This means that Duke will have an opportunity to get some fast break baskets if they can break the pressure and are careful with the ball. However, Tech's outstanding rebounding (especially on the defensive end) means that the Devils can't simply depend on their offensive rebounders to get more possessions if they start missing shots. By the same token, great Duke defense could be squandered if they don't block out; this is how Boston College upset Duke and how Virginia Tech nearly upset them.

The Jackets' lack of shooting is a weakness that can be exploited. This is a game that calls for variations on zones to keep them off-balance and is a game where zone presses could be effective. The Devils need to have a safety guarding the basket in case someone breaks through, but don't have to worry about players pulling up for threes. As long as Duke controls the boards and limits turnovers (no more than 20), their superior size and depth should be enough to win. If Tech wins the rebounding battle, then this will be a very close game. Georgia Tech hasn't beaten Duke since 1994, and they are hungry for a signature win to boost their NCAA seeding--especially since Florida State just beat them in Atlanta. That was Tech's only home loss of the season, and it will be clear that they'll not want to repeat that, either.

  • Jackets crashing the offensive boards

Devils Survive the Hokies, 65-53
Player Stats
An Open Letter from Debbie Leonard

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