|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 March edition examines the season-to-date accomplishments and postseason roles of Duke's 11 active players (who are also featured in our individual photo galleries linked above).
Key Stats: 9.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg. 1.5 spg
What She's Accomplished: For the second year in a row, Christmas was first-team
All-ACC Tournament. While she didn't make any of the regular season All-ACC
squads, she's once again started to come around at the most important time of
year. A key to her revival has been the sudden return of her three point shot.
AWOL for nearly two months, she suddenly started hitting them. That has
expanded her game once again, as it's opened up her ability to drive and get to
the foul line. She's gone to the line 137 times this season, more than any other Duke
player, and has converted at a 71% clip. When she can hit jump shots, she
becomes Duke's biggest matchup problem because of her ability to mix it up in
the paint. It should be noted that Karima scored her 1000th career point in
the ACC finals; she became the 27th player in Duke history to do so, and she
now has a total of 1004.
Postseason Role: Consistent secondary scorer. The role that Karima started to
seize in the regular season finale and carried through into the ACC tournament
must continue. She needs to look to penetrate and shoot very early in the game
to establish herself and create an attack mindset. That will encourage her to
attack the basket as well; Karima should ideally lead the team in offensive
rebounds. Defensively, she should take on the other team's primary wing scorer
but has to be careful not to commit silly fouls early in the game. Rima is on a
roll right now and has to keep herself in the game above all else. Staying out
of foul trouble against Georgia Tech and UNC was a key to Duke winning both
Karima Christmas attacks the basket in the ACC Championship game.
Key Stats: 15 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg, 2 spg, 39% 3FG
What She's Accomplished: Jaz was MVP of the ACC tournament for the second year
in a row, a feat that only Iciss Tillis has managed to accomplish. Jaz was
first team All-ACC and made the ACC's All-Defensive squad as well. She was
awarded the Kay Yow award for the second year in a row as the top
scholar-athlete in ACC women's basketball, which included her membership on the
All-Academic team. On Duke's all-time list, she's currently #7 in scoring, tied
for #6 in assists, #3 in steals, tied for #15 in blocks, #5 in threes made, and
#19 in free throws made. Jasmine deserved ACC player of the year in my view,
based on the way she led her team and made key plays at both ends of the floor
all year. She seems to have rediscovered her shot after a mini-slump toward
the end of the regular season but at the same time has been getting to the foul
line more often. She's Duke's leader and really stepped up to the plate in the
ACC tournament, making some incredible shots in the final.
Postseason Role: Primary shot-maker and perimeter defender. Jaz will continue
to pick her spots and let Christmas and Gray do their thing as much as they are
able, but when she feels it's time to attack, she will go to the hoop, spot up
for threes and pull up for mid-range jumpers. Regardless of when she's taking
the shots, she must always do it on the offensive and never feel like she's
Duke's only option on offense. That's not an attack mode mindset but instead a
"I'm the team's only chance" mindset. She tends to thrive when it's clear that
she's the best of many Duke scoring options instead of having to feel like she
has to carry the team on her back.
Jasmine Thomas finishes the job in Duke's ACC 74-66 ACC Semifinal win over Georgia Tech.
Key Stats: 8 ppg, 9 rpg, 2 bpg
What She's Accomplished: On the strength of her defensive prowess, Krystal made
third team All-ACC. She's currently the #9 rebounder and #4 shotblocker in
Duke history. Her offense has been sporadic, yet she hit several key shots in
the ACC tournament, particularly in the Georgia Tech game. Down the stretch of
the regular season, Krystal became a rebounding machine, posting several
double-digit board tallies. She's an intimidating defender more thanks to her
feet than her hands, as she's willing to insert her big frame into the middle
of action and disrupt an offense. She's especially effective in transition.
Krystal is also an effective shotblocker, which can also help back opponents
out of the paint.
Postseason Role: Defender, rebounder and scorer when opportunities arise.
Krystal is a clear third or fourth option on offense in realistic terms. That
said, when she gets open and demands the ball, her teammates need to find a way
to get it to her. Look for Chelsea Gray to feed her the ball from the wing and
Chloe Wells to do so off the dribble.
Krystal Thomas rejects an Alex Montgomery layup in the 2011 ACC Tournament
Key Stats: 3.5 ppg, 3 rpg
What She's Accomplished: Leener has been ultra-enthusiastic this season, no
matter what her role. She scrapped hard in her 15 starts and had good numbers
early in the year. When she became less productive, she was no less supportive
of her younger teammates who moved ahead of her in the rotation. There was a
period late in the regular season where she was Duke's secret weapon as a
facilitator, making connecting plays at both ends. She was less of a factor in
the ACC tournament and her minutes have dropped as a result, but she's done a
nice job of being a calming presence. One of Scheer's best achievements this
year was being named to the ACC All-Academic team.
Postseason Role: Reserve post player and energy player. There may well be times
that she's called upon to provide a lift by grabbing a rebound, making a smart
pass or even hitting a short jumper. Don't expect her to be called upon for
Kathleen Scheer grabs an offensive board in Duke's 66-53 win over Boston College.
Key Stats: 4 ppg, 2 rpg, 1 apg
What She's Accomplished: Shay's back in the starting lineup and this arrangement
seems to be clicking. As coach McCallie has noted, Shay brings a little
attitude to the floor as she confidently attacks the basket and shoots her
sweet jump shot. She actually leads the team in three point shooting at 40.8%
and seems to specialize in back-breaking shots from the corner.
Postseason Role: Designated shooter and ballhandler. Shay needs to play with a
lot of energy in short bursts. She needs to continue to scrap after the ball,
trigger fast breaks and take open shots.
Shay Selby gets a steal in Duke's home win over Carolina.
Key Stats: 6 ppg, 4 rpg
What She's Accomplished: After an up-and-down season, Alli has really come on as
of late. Her aggressiveness going to the basket has been a huge asset for
Duke's overall offensive balance, especially when working in tandem with
Krystal Thomas. Moving over to power forward has helped her go up against
shorter foes while still allowing her to use her quickness. Vernerey plays
through pain and sickness, having overcome a startling array of maladies this
season. Alli also gets in done in the classroom, having earned a spot on the
ACC All-Academic team.
Postseason Role: Primary post scorer. The team needs to feed her the ball in
good spots, and Alli has to be smart enough to stay in motion to get the best
look at the basket. Defensively, she needs to continue to blanket more mobile
forwards and close out on shooters and penetrating guards. With her length, if
she's simply in the right spot at the right time she will bother shooters and
convince penetrators to go elsewhere.
Allison Vernerey gets past UNC's Jessica Breland in the first half of the 2011 ACC Championship.
Key Stats: 8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3 apg, 2 spg, 40.5% 3FG
What She's Accomplished: Chelsea was honorable mention for All-ACC and was named
to the All-Freshman team. Despite missing a number of games due to injury and
starting slow this season thanks to a stress reaction in her foot, people
noticed the remarkable things of which she's capable. Her game is both fluid
and funky; it's the former because of the way the offense flows when she's in
the game and the latter because of the unpredictability of her moves with the
ball. Her court vision is exceptional as she blends the spectacular and the
routine. Gray's presence has meant that Jasmine Thomas doesn't have to make as
many decisions as she did before. Gray's presence means that Duke has another
shooter on the floor. Gray's presence means another player who can take a
charge and grab a rebound. Gray tends to excel in big games, so I'll be
curious to see what she's capable of during this postseason run.
Postseason Role: I'm guessing she'll be the first player off the bench and play
20-25 minutes a game, alternating between on and off the ball depending on
personnel. When she's in the game with Jasmine, Chelsea will stay at point,
looking to get the ball inside or to any open player. She'll also look to push
tempo but won't be shy about looking for her own shot. Shen she's in the game
with another guard, Chelsea may well play off the ball, looking to generate her
own offense. How far Duke goes in the postseason may well hinge on just how
creative Chelsea can be, and how much she can impose her will on the game.
Chelsea Gray takes it to the hoop.
Key Stats: 3 ppg, 2 rpg
What She's Accomplished: Richa has persevered through her shoulder and knee
injuries, maintaining her attack mindset and willingness to mix it up. She hit
a couple of key baskets in the ACC final, coming off the bench with no fear as
she hit those jump shots. While she loves to attack the basket, the form on
her jumper is excellent. She is truly a force on offense and is no slouch on
Postseason Role: Richa's defense is not yet at the level of some of her
teammates. As such, she's not quite ready for crunch-time minutes. That said,
she has the potential to be quite a load in relief of Karima Christmas if she
can continue to take good shots and block out.
Richa Jackson gets some pointers from Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie during the 2011 ACC Tournament.
Key Stats: 6 ppg, 2 rpg, 39% 3FG
What She's Accomplished: Tricia probably had the farthest to go as a frosh in
terms of adapting her body and game to the college level. She's made
remarkable strides though is still a work in progress. At her best, she's a
heady player who can score in a number of different ways. She can spot up for
threes, use a hard pump-fake to draw away defenders and then go baseline for a
pretty spinning drive. Tricia was the last of the frosh to earn a start, at
the very end of the year, and did a nice job of stepping up her game. She's an
underrated rebounder, especially when it comes to blocking out. Tricia isn't
going to shut anyone down defensively, but she's shown the hustle to want to
make plays. After cutting her finger before the ACC tournament, she didn't
play all that much, but that wound up being a matter of match=ups as much as
anything. Liston is a gamer who's learned to adjust on the fly, thanks to an
excellent work ethic.
Postseason Role: Designated shooter. If Duke starts to slump from the floor,
the offense gets stagnant or there is foul trouble, look for Liston to come in
off the bench. Coach McCallie is very much an instinctive substitutor, so she
may well choose to throw her in at any time to make a shot, rebound a bit or
just get the offense flowing again.
Tricia Liston gets an open look from three point range in the 2011 ACC Tournament.
Key Stats: 6 ppg, 4 rpg
What She's Accomplished: Haley's experienced some extremes this season, as many
freshmen do. She's gone from being a valuable reserve to solid starter to
end-of-the-rotation player and back again. The performances she had late in
the year against UNC and in the ACC tournament indicate a player who's finally
come to terms with how to play against elite athletes for the highest of stakes
and do it with confidence and verve. She's become a scrappy rebounder and
determined shot-maker, both from the perimeter and in the post. She's done all
that as she's made the ACC All-Academic team, which is an impressive feat for a
Postseason Role: First post player off the bench, energy player. Haley's
ability to take opponents outside could be a crucial part of Duke's attack.
She must be careful to make decisions quickly but carefully; she doesn't want
to be caught dribbling too much or picking up her dribble. When she has the
ball, she must be purposeful with it. She should be confident enough to
understand that she can hit shots and make great passes when she gets the ball
and doesn't need to defer for most of the game.
Haley Peters drives into the teeth of the Tar Heel defense.
Key Stats: 4 ppg, 1 rpg, 2 apg
What She's Accomplished: Like most of the frosh, Chloe is a gamer and a winner.
Chloe chose to come to Duke despite knowing that playing time would be hard to
come by, with veterans Jasmine Thomas & Shay Selby as well as superfrosh
Chelsea Gray. She showed defensive scrappiness from the get go and an ability
to run the floor. She's had trouble at times overcoming her short stature to
see over zones, leading to occasional overdribbling, but of late she's become
more aggressive in attacking opposing defenses. She made several key plays in
the ACC championship game, including a perfect pass to a cutting Krystal Thomas
and a gutsy jump shot in the lane that the Heels dared her to take.
Postseason Role: Coach McCallie is not afraid to put Chloe in at any time. Of
late, she's been used in the second half as a way of throwing a fresh body at a
tired opponent. If Selby or Gray get into foul trouble, don't be surprised to
see her in a bit earlier.
Chloe Wells drives and dishes in Duke's ACC Quarterfinal win over Wake Forest.
Devils in Detail will return.