|A Closer Look at Duke's Roster|
Editor's Note: Devils in Detail is a periodic DWHoops feature that looks closely at Duke's roster.
This January edition covers Duke's 11 active players, who are also featured in our individual photo galleries
Key Stats: 9 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.5 spg
Current Role: Offensive rebounder, slasher, enforcer
How To Step Up: That's easy: Karima needs to score more. You can see that she's
even aware of it as she's taking more threes, but she's not looking very relaxed
while doing so. Opponents are clearly playing her for the drive (and for good
reason, as she gets to the line more than any other Duke player), but she's not
making them pay. The solution, which she's starting to dip into, is taking more
shots inside the three point line. Setting up between 15 and 18 feet
(preferably behind a screen) may be the way to go. All she needs is a shot or
two to drop for the lane to open up again. From there, she can expand out to
three point range once again. Defensively, Karima has been brutalizing
opponents all year. If she can get her scoring average consistently in double
figures once again, Duke's starting lineup will have the kind of devastating
punch that can knock many opponents out quickly.
Karima Christmas hits a layup in the blowout victory over Georgia Tech
Key Stats: 15 ppg, 4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.5 spg, 33% 3FG
Current Role: Leader, go-to scorer, facilitator
How To Step Up: Jasmine is a sure-fire All-American and even a dark horse player
of the year candidate. No player has had such a direct role in helping her team
win in so many close games this season anywhere else in America. That said,
Jasmine is often maddeningly inefficient. I'm not talking about her status as
a volume shooter, because that's something that she needs to do. She has to
keep hoisting up shots to build a rhythm, and she usually hits the important
ones. What I'm talking about is her carelessness with the ball. There are
times she simply stops paying attention to what she's doing and loses the ball,
frequently in the open court. It rarely happens in crunch time, but rather more
often when Duke's up in a game. One doesn't want Jasmine to become cautious,
because her daring is central to Duke's success, but a little more focus in
routine situations will clean up a few of Duke's turnovers in every game.
Other than that, Jasmine is the player opponents fear the most, and with good
reason. No one wants her to have the ball when Duke needs a basket and there's
less than a minute left.
Jasmine Thomas drives past Georgia Tech's Deja Foster
Key Stats: 8.5 ppg, 8 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 1 spg
Current Role: Chief post defender, rebounder, inspiration
How To Step Up: After a couple of poor showings in early January, Krystal has
become a better offensive presence. The reasons why are subtle. She's using
moves she's always had: up and under, half-hook, drop-step. What's different
on her part is that she's far more decisive when she gets the ball and isn't
bringing the ball down to take an additional dribble. She's also calling for
the ball much more often; her scoring was the key for Duke down the stretch
against NC State, because the Pack didn't have anyone who could guard her
one-on-one. Krystal's foul shooting has also improved, as has her passing out
of the post. The other thing that's changed is that her teammates are not only
looking for her more, they're doing so more effectively. The passes thrown over
her head or at her feet have decreased. Instead, Duke is feeding her the ball
from the wing at an angle that forces teams to either double-team her or else
allow her to get the ball in good scoring position. At this point, Krystal's
goal in an ideal Duke offense is to average a double-double--something like 10
points and 10 rebounds, much like she did against Clemson. Naturally, her
defense is tremendous and gets even better when the game is on the line.
Krystal Thomas puts up a shot against Clemson
Key Stats: 5 ppg, 4 rpg, 1 bpg, 1 spg, 37% 3FG
Current Role: Power forward
How To Step Up: The power forward battle this year is between two players who
are similar in terms of their games. Both Kathleen Scheer and Haley Peters are
effort players whose work ethic and relentlessness can never be question. Which
player starts has simply been a matter of numbers: which player is more
productive? Coach McCallie tends to give players a two to three game audition
once they're tabbed as starters, during which time they can prove themselves
one way or another. Scheer's production steadily declined and Peters stepped
in. Against NC State, Leener's scoring, defense and passing proved crucial to
Duke's win, and so she's back in the starting lineup. What she needs to
concentrate on now is rebounding. Five boards a game should be her minimum,
and she should continue to work her effective mid-range game when she's open.
Defensively, she's really raised her game and that simply needs to continue.
Kathleen Scheer hits a halftime buzzer-beating three against Clemson.
Key Stats: 4 ppg, 2 rpg, 1 apg, 1 spg, 45% 3FG
Current Role: Reserve point and shooting guard, energy player
How To Step Up: Shay needs to treat every minute of her stints as a sort of
team crisis wherein she needs to act. Be that taking a charge, demanding the
ball for a wide-open three or finding an open teammate, she has to bring
constant energy. When she relaxes, she has a tendency to disappear on the
floor. That's a big reason why she lost her starting job. It wasn't that she
did anything wrong but rather that her presence on the floor was barely
noticeable. On the other hand, when Duke is in trouble, Shay has often come
off the bench and provided instant offense or a key defensive play. Duke
wouldn't have defeated NC State without her contributions, for example. If
Shay can get into that mental space in a maximum of minutes, she will make
Duke's bench lethal. She's certainly shown that she can make it happen; it
just needs to happen in every game.
Shay Selby delivers her trademark no-look pass against Temple
Key Stats: 5 ppg, 4 rpg, 1 spg
Current Role: Reserve post
How To Step Up: Alli's offensive confidence seems to have greatly ebbed as
opponents have figured out that the best way to deal with her is to shove her
out of bounds. Her poor performance at the foul line (sub 50%) may also be be
playing a part in her timidity at that end of the floor. The rest of the year
needs to be spent rebuilding trust between Vernerey and her teammates. They
need to know that she'll be aggressive when she gets the ball, and she needs to
know that they still trust her to do the right thing. Alli will be spending the
summer working on her skills, but there's no question that her defense this
season has been nothing short of sensational. Her ability to cover a lot of
ground with little effort makes her dynamite in the back of Duke's zone. Alli
still needs to demand the ball and act decisively when she gets it.
Allison Vernerey tries for a stickback
Key Stats: 8 ppg, 4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2 spg, 37% 3FG
Current Role: Point guard, decision-maker, closer
How To Step Up: Chelsea needs to continue to be bold. She holds the key to Duke
potentially being a consistently creative offensive team. Of course, the line
between "bold" and "reckless" can be exceedingly thin at times, and Chelsea has
crossed it on more than one occasion. That said, she always seems to make the
right decision when it counts and when the pressure's on. At that point, Gray
keeps things simple and direct, using her considerable skills to quickly hone
in on open teammates or else use one of her baffling fakes to get to the
basket. Another thing Chelsea should be doing is actually attacking the basket
more. When she gets a little stronger in her upper body, she'll be able to do
that more effectively, but this is a habit she should start now. That aside,
Chelsea grows better game by game, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a huge
breakout game or two later this season--perhaps when Duke needs it most.
Chelsea Gray simply loves to play basketball, and shows it
Key Stats: 2 ppg, 2 rpg
Current Role: Wing substitute.
How To Step Up: Richa is quick, wiry and aggressive. She just had the
misfortune of dealing with injuries, which set her back in terms of practice
and development. In earlier games, she looked lost on the floor. In the
Clemson game, she looked relaxed and confident. While she may have a way to go
in terms of being a regular rotation player (after all, no team can play 11
players in real games), she can make an impact by attacking the basket,
generating steals and getting rebounds. Her play right now is all about
synthesizing what she's learned in practice for next season. At the same time,
she needs to be ready at any time to play, in case coach McCallie needs someone
to give her team energy.
Richa Jackson completes a three point play against Clemson
Key Stats: 6 ppg, 2 rpg, 1 apg, 40.5% 3FG
Current Role: Shooter and offensive facilitator
How To Step Up: Tricia's first focus needs to be on defense and rebounding.
She'll never be a lock-down defender, but she has to concentrate on being in
the right place at the right time. Playing good defense off the ball makes it
easier to compensate for a lack of lateral quickness, and anticipating shots
has already made it easier for her to be an effective rebounder. Her extensive
work-outs doing agility drills have certainly paid off for her at this point of
the year. Tricia's also doing a nice job trying to vary her offensive game.
She's not just a spot-up shooter, but rather a player who is constantly moving
and can use her size (6-1) to post up smaller guards. She's not bullying them
so much as she's establishing position and shooting over smaller players. As a
result, she's getting to the foul line a fair number of times. At this point,
she simply needs to keep up her concentration and intensity, staying aggressive
while making good decisions. Liston loves to pass and she has a way of moving
the ball around nicely when she's in the game. When Duke is going up against
the most physical and athletic opponents, she needs to keep up as best as
possible, using hustle plays to contribute when her shot isn't there.
Tricia Liston ties up Clemson's Jasmine Tate for a Duke steal
Key Stats: 6 ppg, 4 rpg
Current Role: Power forward.
How To Step Up: Haley's had higher highs and lower lows than the other players
on the team, but this certainly has nothing to do with her effort or b-ball IQ.
Instead, it's a matter of confidence playing a brutally physical position.
Haley simply has to stay the course and continue to focus on defense and
rebounding above all else. She needs to stay out of positions where she's
forced to make a lot of quick decisions on offense. If she's not open or
doesn't have an open lane, she should pass the ball and keep moving. As long
as she keeps hustling after rebounds and loose balls and communicates on
defense, she'll be fine and will continue to get big minutes. Whether or not
she starts will depend solely on how productive her minutes are.
Haley Peters puts it on the floor in Duke's win over Maryland
Key Stats: 4 ppg, 2 apg, 2 spg
Current Role: Back-up point guard, energy player
How To Step Up: Chloe's production has been somewhat erratic, and part of that
is a matter of confidence and continuity. She's trying to figure out where she
fits in while proving that she has something to contribute to her team. In
particular, being a contributor may well mean just making one or two plays a
game to help her team, as opposed to carrying her team, the way that she did in
high school. She's showing signs that she's internalizing this lesson; she's
taking fewer threes and is attacking the basket more. Chloe at times has
trouble seeing over tall zones and needs to continue to recognize this
limitation when she's running point. Chloe is using her strengths, like her
quick hands, to provide a presence as a defensive pest as a change of pace. As
long as she doesn't overreach (like taking long, pull-up threes), Chloe will
continue to help her team.
Chloe Wells drains a wide open pull-up against Clemson
Devils in Detail will return after the conclusion of the ACC regular season.