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Duke Crushes Clemson, 92-37
Player by Player
Previewing Duke at Connecticut
Devils In Detail - January 2011
By Rob Clough
January 28, 2011

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 listed above.

Karima Christmas

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 Karima Christmas hits a layup in the blowout victory over Georgia Tech

Jasmine Thomas

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 Jasmine Thomas drives past Georgia Tech's Deja Foster

Krystal Thomas

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 Krystal Thomas puts up a shot against Clemson

Kathleen Scheer

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 Kathleen Scheer hits a halftime buzzer-beating three against Clemson.

Shay Selby

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 Shay Selby delivers her trademark no-look pass against Temple

Allison Vernerey

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 Allison Vernerey tries for a stickback

Chelsea Gray

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 Chelsea Gray simply loves to play basketball, and shows it

Richa Jackson

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 Richa Jackson completes a three point play against Clemson

Tricia Liston

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 Tricia Liston ties up Clemson's Jasmine Tate for a Duke steal

Haley Peters

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 Haley Peters puts it on the floor in Duke's win over Maryland

Chloe Wells

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 Chloe Wells drains a wide open pull-up against Clemson

Devils in Detail will return after the conclusion of the ACC regular season.

Duke Crushes Clemson, 92-37
Player by Player
Previewing Duke at Connecticut

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