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Duke Curbs Great Danes, 83-48
Player by Player
 
Duke Crushes Okie State, 73-45
The Nutshell
Previewing Duke at Oklahoma State
By Rob Clough
December 11, 2010

Devils Travel to Stillwater to Face Riley-less Lady Cowgirls


Oklahoma State -- Sunday, December 12, 2:00 PM, Stillwater, Oklahoma (Iba Gallagher Arena)

2010 Snapshot: 24-11, 9-7 Big XII, NCAA Tournament Second Round

Last Meeting: Duke Zone Lassos Cowgirls, 77-68.

Current Records: Duke 10-0, Oklahoma State 8-0

Current Rankings: Duke #5, Oklahoma State unranked (but receiving votes)

Significant Losses: The Cowgirls lost its two heavy lifters from last year's team. Mighty mite Andrea Riley was one of the nation's leading scorers at 27 ppg, 3 rpg, 7 apg, 2 spg and 30% shooting from three (with 8 attempts a game!). She took nearly a third of the team's shots and was a threat to score the moment she stepped over the halfcourt line; her quickness also got her to the line an average of 9 times a game. Forward Tegan Cunningham put up 17 ppg, 7 rpg and 39% shooting from three. Also gone are a number of role players, including forward Megan Byford (3 ppg, 4 rpg) and guard Ally Clardy (1 ppg, 1 apg).

Who's Coming Back: A number of solid role players have returned to Stillwater, led by 6-2 forward Toni Young, who averaged 7 ppg and 6 rpg last year. Guard Lakyn Garrison put up 5 ppg, 2 rpg, 1 apg and 34% shooting from three. Wing Precious Robinson averaged 8 ppg, 7 rpg and 1 bpg. 6-2 Center Lindsey Keller averaged 3 ppg and 3.5 rpg. Guard Carolyn Blair-Mobley averaged 1 ppg and 2 rpg.

The Skinny: The Cowgirls have been a bit of a pleasant surprise so far this season. They're undefeated despite losing the massively talented Riley and steady post presence Cunningham. Of course, last year's squad didn't have much balance, played good-but-not-great defense and wasn't very steady on the boards. Granted, while this year's team hasn't gone up against the sort of opposition they will face in the Big XII, they're still holding foes to an impressive 46 ppg on 31% shooting. The Cowgirls are forcing 22 turnovers a game (for a +7 margin) and are crushing opponents on the boards (+16 a game). Their schedule hasn't consisted entirely of patsies. They beat Wisconsin on December 5th by 8 points, a margin comparable to what Duke beat them by (though the game was in Stillwater). The went to The Pit and beat New Mexico in double overtime; that arena was packed with 7000 screaming Lobo fans. While the Cowgirls have been averaging a steady 2600 fans a game playing mostly nobodies, don't be surprised to see something on the order of 6000 fans show up on a Sunday afternoon.

Young is currently leading the team with 15 ppg as one of three double digit scorers. She's also putting up 9 rpg, 2 spg and 1 bpg. The team has been energized by the presence of one of the most productive freshman classes in the country. Guard Tiffany Bias has stepped into Riley's role, averaging 10.5 ppg, 3 rpg, 5 apg, 3 spg and 21% from three. 6-6 frosh center Vicky McIntyre is putting up 10 ppg, 6 rpg and 1.5 bpg. Frosh wing Jenni Bryan is coming off the bench to average 5 ppg, 4 rpg and 2 apg, while frosh center Kendra Suttles is contributing 5 ppg and 4 rpg. As for the other veterans, Garrison is averaging 7 ppg and 2 rpg, Keller is chipping in with 5 ppg and 5 rpg, and Robinson's numbers are way down at 4.5 ppg & 6 rpg.

The Cowgirls' big weakness is shooting. They're shooting just 27% from three as a team and don't have a single player who's a deadeye shooter. The Cowgirls would rather drive and attack the rim, either scoring or going to the line. They're averaging nearly 20 free throw attempts a game and have made 29 more free throws than their opponents have attempted. This is the area of greatest concern for Duke, who have a tendency to hit hard on defense and get whistled up for it. The coaching staff and players have to try to get a feel for how the game will be called by the officials very quickly in order to adjust. If it's being called tight, Duke would be wise to use a variety of sticky zones and use caution when going after steals and springing traps. If the officials are letting things go, Duke should be as physical as possible in disrupting OK State's screens. This is obviously a concern in any game, but considering that the foul line is one of the Cowgirls' biggest weapons, the Devils have to take it away quickly.

Offensively, Duke has to value the ball and be careful not to throw the sort of cross-court passes that can be intercepted by quick opponents, or try to jam the ball into the post against players who are successfully fronting. Duke needs to be patient and use the sort of post/pass out/repost sequences they were able to use successfully against Albany. McIntyre has played very well so far but hasn't gone up against a physical player like Krystal Thomas. Duke's experience should also be a big aid if both K.Thomas and Karima Christmas are focused from the beginning of the game. Where the game will be won or lost will be on the boards. The Cowgirls averaged nearly 21 offensive rebounds a game, a factor that helps mitigate their poor shooting. If Duke takes away that aspect of their game, the Devils will win easily. If OK State keeps it even or outrebounds Duke, then this game could go either way. Throw in the facts that this is a road game and that finals start less than 24 hours after this game, and you have the potential for a distracted Duke team.

I expect OK State coach Kurt Budke to actively work to take away Duke's areas of emphasis on offense: posting up and penetration. Look for him to mix zone with various presses in an effort to slow down and frustrate the Duke offense. If Duke takes care of the ball, exploits the press to score and works the ball inside-out for its long range attempts, they should be fine. If they try to shoot over the zone or don't make the zone move or collapse, then Duke could go through some long scoring droughts. Hopefully, the team will be focused enough to slog their way through a match-up that screams "trap game."

   
  • Quick shots and turnovers by Duke's guards.

 






Duke Curbs Great Danes, 83-48
Player by Player
 
Duke Crushes Okie State, 73-45
The Nutshell

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