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Devils Survive Charlotte, 61-55
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Duke Knocks Off JMU, 75-58
The Nutshell
Previewing Duke at James Madison
By Rob Clough
November 29, 2010

Devils Head North to Face Dawn and the Dukes


James Madison -- Tuesday, November 30, 7:00 PM, JMU Convocation Center

2010 Snapshot: 26-7, 13-5 CAA, NCAA Tournament First Round

Last Meeting: 12/18/09 (Cameron Indoor Stadium) Devils Outduke the Dukes, 79-65.

Current Records: Duke 6-0; James Madison 3-2

DWHoops File Photo by Orin Day
Dawn Evans gutsy 2009 performance in Cameron earned her a high slot on the DWHoops 2010 Wooden Award ballot.
Dawn Evans gutsy 2009 performance in Cameron earned her a high slot on the DWHoops 2010 Wooden Award ballot.

Significant Losses: The Dukes will not return frontcourt contributor Sarah Williams, an inside/outside player who averaged 9 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 29% from three. Wing Nichelle Glover also moves on after putting up 5.5 ppg and 4 rpg.

Who's Coming Back: While there are several solid role players returning for JMU, the only player who really matters is All-American guard Dawn Evans. The mighty mite dropped 31 on Duke in Cameron last year despite pretty good defense from the Devils. Any time Evans steps across the halfcourt line, she is a threat to take and make a shot. She averaged 25 ppg, 3 rpg, 4 apg and 34% from three last year as she led the Dukes to the NCAA tournament. What makes Evans truly deadly is her speed, which allows her to get to the basket at will. The threat of her jumper makes teams come up to guard her, and her quickness gets her to the hole. That allowed her to go to the foul line an average of 7 times a game last season.

Also returning is her sophomore backcourt partner Tarik Hislop, who was the team's only other double-digit scorer at 10 ppg. She also averaged 4 rpg, 2 apg and shot 31% from three. Central to that success of the frontcourt was the play of crafty Lauren Jimenez, a forward who averaged 9 ppg and 5 rpg. Also returning are 6-3 forward Kanita Shepherd (4.5 ppg, 4 rpg), 6-3 forward Jalissa Taylor (5 ppg, 7 rpg), wing Kiara Francisco (5 ppg, 3 rpg) and wings Nikki Newman (3 ppg, 5 rpg) & Courtney Hamner (3 ppg, 2 rpg, 33% 3FG). That size helped the Dukes hold a +6 advantage in boards per game.

The Skinny: JMU lost its first game of the year to MEAC champ Hampton in a game where Evans was 8-28 from the field, Hislop was 4-13 and no one else stepped up in the scoring department. As a whole, the team shot just 27% from the field. Even in JMU's win over Central Florida, Evans was just 11-30. The difference in that game was that she went to the foul line 11 times, which boosted her to a 34 point night. The other key was the emergence of BC transfer forward Lauren Whitehurst, who scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. If she can develop into a consistent third scorer, the Dukes will have a chance to make some real noise this year. JMU's formula is to take care of the ball, hoist up shots, grab offensive rebounds and get to the line. With multiple players 6-2 or taller, they have the size to do this against most opponents. They don't have a true low-post scoring threat (Whitehurst is the closest thing they have), but they have a lot of bodies who work hard and play their roles ably. The Dukes have turned the ball over just 11 times a game this year, are +3 on the boards and have gone to the foul line 25 times a game. It's Duke's job to tackle their strengths head on without being reckless. The Devils need to disrupt their offense and force around 20 turnovers. Duke needs to block out and prevent second chance points (this is probably their top priority). The Devils need to play physically without giving a fairly limited offense free points at the foul line.

JMU and Head Coach Kenny Brooks have taken on the challenge of a tough schedule to boost their RPI, and also get them ready for postseason play and a surprisingly rugged CAA. In the Caribbean Classic, JMU dropped the first game to #21 Iowa, 67-61. Evans had 32, but only Whitehurst joined her in double figures as the Dukes put the Hawkeyes on the line 30 times. It should be noted that Iowa crushed ACC team Virginia Tech by 30 the next night. Against Montana in the next game, Evans got help from Jimenez with 18 points & 8 boards, while Hamner played 35 minutes and scored 15 points--all on threes. It spoke to the fact that if JMU is going to win, they'll have to get Evans help, especially on nights when she shoots 6-24.

JMU's bigs can be foul prone, especially Whitehurst and Newman. If Duke can exploit this, JMU is left as a one-woman gunning team. Evans is going to hoist up shots no matter what Duke does, so the Devils simply have to keep pressure on her and rebound her misses. The Devils will likely give Evans a number of different looks on defense: J.Thomas, Chloe Wells, Chelsea Gray and Shay Selby. Watch for Gray to attempt to bait Evans into committing an offense foul. JMU's gym will likely be packed to watch their team take on the Devils, so Duke must be prepared to work against a team with a true home-court advantage, much like Auburn had.

Once again, the Devils must be patient. JMU will make some early runs, but Duke has to counter by using its depth and picking apart the defense with passing. Any scoring drought by JMU must be exploited by Duke upping the tempo. Duke should take threes judiciously, preferably as the result of dribble penetration and kick-outs. We'll see if Duke's flow on offense can continue in a third straight road game.

   
  • A single moment where Evans is unguarded.

  • Evans getting more points from the foul line than the field.
 






Devils Survive Charlotte, 61-55
Player Stats
 
Duke Knocks Off JMU, 75-58
The Nutshell

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