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Irish Rally to Down Duke, 56-54
Player Stats
Devils Power Past Purdue, 64-53
The Nutshell
Previewing Purdue at Duke
By Rob Clough
November 30, 2011

Big Ten - ACC Challenge Matchup in Cameron

Purdue -- Thursday, December 1st, 7:00 PM, Cameron Indoor Stadium, ESPN3

2011 Purdue Snapshot: 21-12, 9-7 Big Ten, NCAA Second Round

Last Meeting: Duke Overpowers Purdue, 53-41, on November 27, 2007, Paradise Jam.

Current Records: Duke 4-1, Purdue 6-0

Current Rankings: Duke #7, Purdue #13 (AP)

Significant Losses: In terms of attrition, the Boilers lost only forward Ashley Wilson, who only played in twelve games. Of greater concern is that starting forward and leading rebounder Drew Mingo tore her ACL prior to the season. Mingo was near death last year with meningitis but bounced back to play in 29 games and boost her team into the NCAA tournament.

Returning Players: The team's leading scorer last year was Brittany Rayburn, a 6-0 guard who is a tough matchup for anyone. She can shoot the three (31) and get to the foul line (6 times per game, hitting 89%). She averaged 14 ppg and 3 rpg. Guard Courtney Moses is the team's playmaker, averaging 12 ppg, 3 rpg and 3 apg; she also shot an impressive 41% from three. FSU transfer Antoinette Howard put up 7 ppg and 4 rpg as the team's top substitute. Several other players swapped starts. Post Alex Guyton put up 7 ppg, 4 rpg and 1 bpg. Forward Sam Ostarello contributed 3 ppg and 4 rpg; center Chelsea Jones added 3 ppg and 2 rpg; guard Chantel Poston put up 3 ppg and 2.5 rpg; and wing Dee Dee Williams averaged 2 ppg & 2 rpg. Finally, guard KK Houser sat out all but one game last year with an ACL tear. In 2010, she averaged 6 ppg, 2 rpg and 2 apg.

The Skinny: : Purdue is a solid, experienced team with size, depth and shooting. Rayburn's picked up right where she left off last year and is averaging 15 ppg, 5 rpg and 44% from three. Houser is healthy and putting up 11 ppg and 3 rpg. Morris was averaging 8 ppg before showing signs of "concussion-like symptoms"; she sat out Purdue's win over Kansas State was a result. Ostarello has played quite well thus far in Mingo's stead, putting up 7.5 ppg and 7 rpg. Five other players are averaging around fifteen minutes per game and scoring between 3 and 5 ppg. Duke's depth will not be an advantage in this game. Like Duke, Purdue has struggled to score against physical opponents. They narrowly defeated Bowling Green on the road and barely overcame a middling Kansas State, scoring just 46 points in the latter game.

Duke knows how to win ugly, but the loss to Notre Dame revealed that the team is still searching for someone to take charge in the waning moments of the game. This should be Chelsea Gray's role, but I think this is an instance where the three point guard offense can sometimes lead to diffusion of responsibility. Last year, everyone knew that Jasmine Thomas wanted the ball for the biggest shots. This year, sophs Chloe Wells and Gray hesitated a bit down the stretch and that left Shay Selby to take shots she's probably not that well suited to attempt. The fact that Selby has now been suspended indefinitely (at least through the holiday break) means that this is a game where starting Richa Jackson at wing might not be a bad idea, given that she's proven herself as an aggressive scorer & rebounder and has the size to make things tougher for Rayburn. None of Duke's current starters match up all that well with her, and she's responsible for nearly a quarter of Purdue's points. At this point, Wells should be able to pressure Houser (or Moses, if she returns for this game) into turnovers without Selby helping her; Houser averages 5 per game. If Duke can force Rayburn into a bad shooting night and keep Houser out of the lane, they will be in great shape. That's because Duke has a real advantage in the post. Ostarello, Jones and Guyton are role players going up against Elizabeth Williams (a star) and Haley Peters (a reliably productive scorer). Duke's ability to bring a veteran in like Allison Vernerey also gives it a big edge. Tricia Liston also has an opportunity to get more minutes with Selby out at both guard and wing and will have a chande to prove that she can display multiple facets to her game.

Look for Purdue to hack away at Duke if the Devils get good position; the Devils left a lot of points at the foul line against Notre Dame. This is a big game against a ranked team. This means that big game players have to be productive; if Chelsea Gray is passive and Elizabeth Williams has trouble getting the ball, then this could be a very ugly, knock-down affair. If those two step up and make everyone around them better when the double-teams come, then Duke will win by double digits. The success of this Duke team will be based solely on the players' ability to improvise & adapt to the game plans of opponents with elite players and coaches.

  • Rayburn at the foul line or open for three.


Irish Rally to Down Duke, 56-54
Player Stats
Devils Power Past Purdue, 64-53
The Nutshell

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