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2011 ACC Tournament Seeding
Duke Squashes Virginia, 71-48
The Nutshell
Previewing Duke at Virginia
By Rob Clough
February 23, 2011

Devils Must Win to Stay Atop ACC

Virginia -- Thursday, Feburary 24th, 7:00 PM, John Paul Jones Arena

2010 Snapshot: 21-10, 9-5 ACC, NCAA First Round

Last Meeting: 2/26/10: Duke Rebounds To Pound Cavs, 83-65

Current Records: Duke 24-3 (10-2 ACC), Virginia 15-13 (4-8 ACC)

Current Rankings: Duke #7, Virginia unranked
DWHoops File Photo by Orin Day
Virginia Head Coach Debbie Ryan
Virginia Head Coach Debbie Ryan

Significant Losses: One of the greatest Hoos of all time, wing Monica Wright, moved on to the WNBA after a fine career at Virginia. She averaged 24 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2 apg, 4 spg and shot 31% from three. Most impressively, Wright shot a free throw every five minutes as she carried a painfully young team into the NCAA tournament.

Who's Coming Back: Virginia has a bit more experience this season and will be led by senior guard Paulisha Kellum (6 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg). Junior forward Chelsea Shine is the leading returning scorer at 8 ppg; she also averaged 5 rpg & 1.5 bpg. Junior Ariana Moorer will return as the likely starting point guard after putting up 7 ppg, 4 rpg and 2.5 apg. Wing Whitny Edwards could start at two-guard after averaging 7 ppg, 5 rpg and shooting 30% from three. Her twin Britny was more of a bit player (3 ppg, 2 rpg). Soph point guard China Crosby tore her ACL after only 13 games, but she showed potential after averaging 6 ppg, 2 rpg and 2 apg. Soph wing Lexie Gerson (5 ppg, 2 rpg) could push for a starting job after several promising showings last season. Finally, rising soph posts Simone Egwu, Erinn Thompson & Telia McCall are all in various stages of competitiveness at the moment. Thompson had serious injury problems last year, playing only in three games. Egwu started 29 games, averaging 4.5 ppg and 4 rpg. McCall will push her after putting up 4 ppg and 4 rpg.

The Skinny: The Hoos were picked 10th in the ACC's preseason festivities, and while it looks like UVA will finish in 8th place, it's still not where coach Debbie Ryan expected her program to be. The Hoos played a tough preseason schedule as they lost to Tennessee, Ohio State, Iowa State, West Virginia and James Madison. The Hoos then opened with Miami, FSU and Georgia Tech in the ACC (the latter 2 on the road) and lost all three. Virginia then cruelly lost an overtime game to Maryland that they had all but won, but they bounced back to beat Virginia Tech. After a tight loss at UNC, the Hoos lost a game they'd really like back: a 10-point defeat at Clemson wherein they gave up 84 points to a Tiger club that struggles to put points on the board. After splitting games with Wake Forest and FSU, Virginia won an epic 4-OT game at NC State then followed that with a revenge game on the road against Maryland. Suddenly, the Hoos were 4-7 in the ACC with an RPI in the mid-40s. Winning out in the regular season would mean a potential NCAA bid.

Unfortunately for the Hoos, they got spanked at home by the team they were tied with in league standings, Boston College. The Eagles are now in position to snag an 8th NCAA bid, leaving the Hoos in dire straits. Essentially, they have to beat Duke to even be considered for consideration, and then need to beat Virginia Tech and win a game in the ACC tournament. It's important that Duke should be well aware of this, because this is a do-or-die, season-saving scenario for their opponent. Anything less than Duke's best effort could result in another embarrassing road loss for the Devils.

Virginia is unusual in that they don't have a single scorer averaging in double figures. Forward Shine is good for 9.8 ppg and 5 rpg, game in and game out. She's not a star but is remarkably consistent. Moorer is putting up 9 ppg, 4 rpg and 3 apg as one of UVa's main perimeter scorers. Kellum is solid with 7 ppg and 3 rpg, while W.Edwards averages 7 ppg and 3 rpg. Gerson and Crosby also put up 6 ppg. In the post, Egwu is averaging a solid 6.5 ppg and 5 rpg, though she does disappear from the offense for long stretches. Two frosh have been significant difference-makers for Virginia: wing Ataira Franklin is averaging 8.5 ppg for the season but 12.5 ppg in ACC play, shooting close to 50% from three. Forward Jazmin Pitts is putting up 5 ppg and 4 rpg.

The best way to beat Virginia is to have a diverse attack and to dominate the boards. BC used their superior size to dominate the Hoos inside with a combined 28 points and 14 rebounds from their posts, but they also shot 9-17 from three. Krystal Thomas and Allison Vernerey have to take the battle inside to Egwu & Shine, but Duke will need Jaz Thomas, Tricia Liston and others to hit jump shots. Virginia is not a great shooting team overall, but the Devils have to put a blanket on Franklin or else risk her getting hot. Ideally, Duke wants to keep UVa off the foul line and force them to take contested jumpers. Considering that no one on their team is great at creating their own offense, this could result in lots of rebounding opportunities for the Devils.

What Duke doesn't want to do is press too much. Virginia can run and has the ballhandling to break a press and score off of it. By the same token, Duke won't want to send more than a couple of players to the offensive boards, because if they don't get the rebound, the Hoos will be in great shape to get a runout. Duke needs to apply pressure but be patient and grind out possessions. This is Duke's last road game of the year and a final chance to pick up a road win against an RPI top-50 opponent. Duke has to match and then surpass the energy of their opponent, and they need to do this in every game.

  • Do Not Want: Virginia on the boards.


2011 ACC Tournament Seeding
Duke Squashes Virginia, 71-48
The Nutshell

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