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Duke Runs Surpass Wolfpack, 83-59
Player by Player
 
Devils Take Down FSU, 73-66
The Nutshell
Previewing FSU at Duke
By Rob Clough
January 12, 2012

2012 Devils-Noles Matchup a Different Look


Florida State -- Friday, January 13th 2012 @ 7:00pm (Cameron Indoor Stadium) - RSN TV

2011 FSU Snapshot: 24-8, 11-3 ACC, NCAA Second Round

Last Meeting: Devils Offense Swamps Noles, 87-70.

Current Records: Duke 12-2, 3-0 ACC. FSU 10-7, 2-1 ACC

Current Rankings: Duke #7/#6 (AP/USA Today), FSU is unranked.

Significant Losses: Second leading scorer, point guard and team leader Courtney Ward moved on after a fine career, averaging 12 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 apg, 2 spg and 40% from three. Also departing is fellow starter Christian Hunnicutt, who put up 5.5 ppg, 5 rpg and 4 apg. She was the team's defensive stopper and also acted as a playmaker.

Returning Players: Center Cierra Bravard got into great shape for a team that really needed her, and she responded by doubling her scoring and rebounding output. She averaged 15 ppg and 8 rpg, shooting 54% from the field as a junior. Redshirt junior guard Alexa DeLuzio turned herself into a fine scoring threat, contributing 12 ppg, 4 rpg and 37% shooting from three. Soph wing Natasha Howard had a high-impact frosh season, averaging 11 ppg, 7 rpg and 37% shooting from three. Junior wing Chelsea Davis was a key bench contributor, scoring 7 ppg and grabbing 3 rpg. Spring redshirt junior wing Chasity Clayton put up 7 ppg and 4 rpg, numbers that were somewhat less than expected. Guards Leonor Rodriguez (3 ppg), Olivia Bresnahan (2 ppg) and Tay'ler Mingo (2 ppg) got spot minutes, as did forward Lauren Coleman (1 ppg).
Florida State coach Sue Semrau.
Florida State coach Sue Semrau is looking to right the Seminole ship after losing long time point guard Courtney Ward to graduation.

The Skinny: The struggles FSU has faced this year have been surprising. The simple fact is that Mingo was not ready to replace Ward, and the other options for lead guard aren't any more appealing. Their lack of depth at guard has been responsible for most of their losses, as well as the continuing mismatched nature of their talent. This is a team that features four double-digit scorers and a fifth who averages 9.7 ppg, yet they have had problems beating good opponents. The problem is that those five double-digit scorers overlap more than a little, and the stylistic differences between halfcourt plodders like Bravard and speedsters like Clayton have led to chemistry problems. This was the case last year, of course, but now it's clear that the presence of Ward and Hunnicutt glossed over those weaknesses in many games. Bravard has been a devastating force this year (15 ppg, 7 rpg), and Deluzio is acting as playmaker (3 apg) as well as long-range threat (14 ppg, 35% 3FG). Howard is still a bit more of a role player than the superstar she was projected to be, averaging 11 ppg and 9 rpg. Davis provides solid bench support for the post, putting up 10 ppg and 4.5 rpg. Clayton is averaging 9.7 ppg and 6 rpg, but she takes a curious number of three point shots despite only shooting 29% from distance.

The Noles have pressed Spanish player Leonor Rodriguez into service as a starting combo guard, sharing ballhandling and passing duties with Deluzio. The experiment has yielded mixed results (she's averaging 4 ppg and close to 3 apg), but she is shooting 40% from three. At the very least, this move served to stop the bleeding. FSU is now more efficient on offense, even if they are somewhat limited. FSU is not a very good defensive club in terms of pressure, forcing just 6 steals per game. They're not a great long-range shooting club (31%) and they are modestly ahead of opponents in terms of boards (+4.5). Whether or not they win games depends less on teamwork than their best players having great individual games. Thus, Duke needs to press their advantages in rebounding and turnover creation in this game. FSU doesn't turn the ball over a lot (19 per game) relative to their lack of ballhandling, so Duke will need to force the tempo and unleash a variety of traps. A big key for Duke will be Elizabeth Williams. If she can go toe-to-toe with Bravard by herself, Duke will be in a position to stop the bulwark of FSU's offense. The Devils need to be careful with Deluzio, who will shoot if she gets an opening, because they haven't done a great job with hot outside shooters this year. Davis, Howard and Bravard can all go after offensive rebounds, so the Devils will have to be extra careful to keep an extra body down low. That's another reason why Williams is so important: without her rebounding, Duke would be vulnerable to the sort of second-chance points that hurt them so dearly against NC State and Virginia. If Duke can run and get some easy transition buckets, hit open threes and make sure they don't have many unforced turnovers, they should be in great shape. FSU may be down, but their talent is not to be underestimated. Duke has to take their top threats seriously and find ways to slow them down--preferably by getting them in foul trouble.



   
  • Elizabeth Williams in foul trouble

 


Editor's Note - to read more about Florida State and the other ACC teams, please check out our 2012 ACC Preview at Amazon.com.



Duke Runs Surpass Wolfpack, 83-59
Player by Player
 
Devils Take Down FSU, 73-66
The Nutshell

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