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Video Interview: MaChelle Joseph
Duke Plods Past Badgers, 59-51
The Nutshell
Previewing Duke at Wisconsin (ACC/BigTen)
By Rob Clough
December 1, 2010

Road Trip Concludes in Madison

Wisconsin -- Thursday, December 2, 8:30 PM, Kohl Center (BigTen Network)

2010 Snapshot: 21-11, 10-8 Big Ten, NCAA Tournament First Round

Current Records: Duke 7-0; Wisconsin 2-5

Significant Losses: The Badgers lost two significant parts of their offense in second-leading scorer Rae Lin D'Alie (9 ppg, 5 rpg, 4 apg, 2 spg, 40% 3FG) and Teah Grant (6 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg). D'Alie was one of the team's best shooters and did a little bit of everything at both ends of the floor. Gant also started every game and was a solid role player.

Who's Coming Back: The Badgers return three starters and three important bench contributors, but they've been bit by the injury bug in the early going. Leading scorer and point guard Alyssa Karel missed three games with a knee injury this year, but put up 14 ppg, 3 rpg and 34% from three. 6-4 center Lin Zastrow has missed the past couple of games with a knee injury after averaging 8 ppg and 5 rpg last season. The other returning starter is forward Tara Steinbauer, an inside-outside player who averaged 9 ppg, 6 rpg and 45% from three (in just 20 attempts). Guard Taylor Wurtz was the first player off the bench, averaging 6.5 ppg, 3 rpg and 40% from three. Forward Anya Covington (5 ppg, 3 rpg) and volume shooter Jade Davis (3 ppg, 1 rpg, 29% threes) contributed off the bench.

The Skinny: Things have been a bit rocky of late for the Badgers, thanks in part to those injury problems. After easy victories against Saint Louis and William & Mary, UW was pounded by Wisconsin-Green Bay, a mid-major power that beat the Badgers last year as well. Without Karel, UW floundered and turned the ball over 24 times. Doing that against a ball-control team like WGB is a surefire way to be beaten by double digits. Karel returned by Zastrow got hurt early in an overtime loss to Kansas where the Jayhawks took advantage of UW's hole in the middle by outrebounding them by 20. In a game that was otherwise even, KU getting to the line 46 times and earning a 22-13 edge in second-chance points carried the day.

Terri Mitchell and Marquette handled the Badgers in Madison thanks to their ability to get to the line (23 times), a lack of defensive pressure by UW and some careless turnovers. BYU, a common opponent for Duke and Wisconsin, forced 19 turnovers, got to the line 25 times and took care of the ball themselves. The Badgers lost the next game to St Mary's in California, Wisconsin was outrebounded and only got to the line 6 times. The Gaels blew a big lead and then came back from a 6-point deficit against the Badgers, and salted the game away at the line down the stretch. The Badgers simply couldn't get the stops when they needed them, despite forcing 19 turnovers overall.

Obviously, Wisconsin needs Zistrow back badly to help protect the rim. Without her, I'd expect Duke to attack the basket at will, dominate the offensive boards and get lots of second opportunities. If she's back, or if Wisconsin opts to blunt Duke's dribble penetration with a matchup zone, the Devils can still get points by making passes to the corners, lots of quick ball reversals and sending several bodies to the offensive boards. Wisconsin isn't a running team, preferring a more patterned offensive style. The Devils have to disrupt that pattern, force contested shots and take care of the ball. Above all else, Duke has to dominate the glass, preventing any second attempts and kickstarting their own breaks with crisp passes after rebounds.

Wisconsin is fairly deep, which has saved them in games where they've had severe foul trouble. However, that depth isn't necessarily all that productive, as the bench has only provided limited firepower. When Karel, Covington and Steinbauer are out of the game, Wisconsin struggled to score. Attacking them off the dribble and forcing Wisconsin to either play physical defense (risking fouls) or to back off (and give Duke open looks) will be a key to keeping the Badgers off-balance. I expect Chloe Wells to start on Karel, but for Jasmine Thomas & Chelsea Gray to get cracks at her. Karima Christmas will have the job of keeping Wurtz off the boards, while Krystal Thomas & Kathleen Scheer will have a height advantage over Steinbauer & Covington. Shutting down those two will force Wisconsin outside, where Duke should flood the passing lanes and then get in the faces of those guards, daring them to drive. The Devils will need to fight road fatigue, as this is the last of a long road trip; the Charlotte game showed what can happen if Duke doesn't focus in on an opponent on the road to start the contest. It's still a road game in a Big Ten stadium that will likely draw 5 to 6 thousand fans, so the Devils have to focus, work on taking the crowd out of the game, and patiently wear this opponent down. It's been a formula that's worked so far for them, and this will simply be another test in that regard as Duke represents the ACC in the annual ACC-Big Ten challenge.

  • Karel getting hot or going to the foul line.


Video Interview: MaChelle Joseph
Duke Plods Past Badgers, 59-51
The Nutshell

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