DWHoops - We cover Duke Women's Basketball - Delivering Images & Insight Since 2006 Join DWHoops DWHoops Member Login About DWHoops DWHoops Site Archives DWHoops Twitter DWHoops on Facebook DWHoops Feed Latest Photo Galleries 2015 Duke Schedule


Tar Heels Hold Off Virginia, 64-56
 
Balanced Devils Thrash Heels by 40, 96-56
The Nutshell
Previewing North Carolina at Duke
By Rob Clough
February 6, 2012

Arch Rivals Clash in Cameron


North Carolina -- Monday, February 6th 2012 @ 7pm (Cameron Indoor Stadium) - ESPN2

2011 UNC Snapshot: 28-9, 8-6 ACC, NCAA Sweet Sixteen

Last Meeting: ACC Champs! #1 Duke Blows Away #6 UNC, 81-66.

Current Records: Duke 18-3, 9-0 ACC. UNC 16-5, 7-2 ACC

Current Rankings: Duke #5/#6 (AP/ESPN), UNC #23/#24 (AP/ESPN)

Significant Losses: The Heels lost three seniors who combined for 36 ppg, 13 rpg and 10 apg. The team's best player was Jessica Breland, who returned after sitting out a season due to being treated for cancer. She averaged 12 ppg, 7 rpg and 2 bpg and really came on strong in March. The team's leading scorer was Italee Lucas, who put up 16 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg and 34% shooting from three. Point guard Cetera DeGraffenreid averaged 8 ppg, 3 rpg, 5 apg and 2 spg.

Virginia had no answer for Chay Shegog Friday night in Chapel Hill - she scored 20 points on 9-11 shooting.
Virginia had no answer for Chay Shegog Friday night in Chapel Hill - she scored 20 points on 9-11 shooting.
Returning and New Players: This has been a weird season for the Heels, one filled with injuries, a pregnancy, and other events that caused a number of players to miss games or put players out for the season. The one constant has been center Chay Shegog, who has finally emerged as a consistent force in the paint, averaging 17 points, 8 rebounds, and nearly 3 blocks per game. Nine different players have started this season, with the only other every-game starter being utility forward Krista Gross (9 ppg, 7 rpg, 2 apg). After getting shoulder surgery in the fall, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt has returned to offer some rebounding and toughness, putting up 9.5 ppg and 6 rpg. Though she likes to take the three, she's only hit 2-15 on the season. As far as its shooters go, frosh Brittany Rountree (9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3 apg, 38% 3FG) and senior surprise Candace Wood (7 ppg, 34% 3FG) have been holding it down for the Heels. The team's point guard is senior She'la White, who's regressed this year in averaging 7 ppg, 3 apg and just 26% from three. Senior forward Laura Broomfield has battled a stress reaction in her foot as well as a scratched cornea this year, but she's still managed to average 9 ppg and 10 rpg. Other spare parts include junior center Waltiea Rolle (returning from pregnancy but only averaging 3 ppg and 1 rpg), frosh forward Danielle Butts (6 ppg, 4 rpg), and backup point guard Shannon Smith (4 ppg, 2 rpg, 2 apg).

The Skinny: This is a huge game for the Heels, who have quietly moved into third place after outlasting Virginia (see our coverage of that clash here. They've already defeated second place team Miami, and a win against Duke would put them just a game behind the Blue Devils for the league lead. That said, the Heels have mostly feasted on the ACC's lesser teams to get to this point and have to play Duke twice, Georgia Tech, Miami & Florida State on the road and NC State down the stretch. If they win the league, they certainly will have earned it. A win by Duke would most likely prevent the Heels from winning the league. Neither rival has done very well on the road in the McCallie era, as the Heels haven't won in Cameron since 2008. UNC has been an odd team this year, and it's still hard to get a read on how good they actually are. Injuries and personnel shifts have changed the team's identity on multiple occasions, but one thing is obvious: coach Sylvia Hatchell was desperate to reinstate Rolle and Ruffin-Pratt, because her team was really struggling prior to that point. Indeed, they nearly lost to East Carolina after getting blown out by South Carolina (a loss that's looking better after the Gamecocks beat Tennessee last Thursday). Even with a full lineup, the Heels found a way to lose against lowly Clemson in Chapel Hill. The flogging at the hands of UConn was certainly the team's nadir (not to mention a common problem in these parts), but they haven't lost since.

UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell always has her Tar Heels well prepared for Duke.
UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell always has her Tar Heels well prepared for Duke.
On paper, this is a very competitive game. The Heels have an accomplished low post scorer in Shegog, who can also softly hit short jump shots. Rountree and Wood can run hot and cold, but when they're on the Heels can really stretch opposing defenses. Gross is a solid glue player who can defend, shoot and pass the ball. White isn't shooting well but she has a solid 3:2 assist/turnover ratio. Broomfield is a rebounding machine, and TRP can run the floor. The Heels force 21 turnovers a game, hold opponents to 34% shooting, block 7 shots a game and are +6 per game on the boards. The real question for them will be motivation and discipline. Facing their arch-rivals will certainly give them motivation; this won't be a situation like Clemson where the Heels were sluggish for long periods. I expect them to try and test Elizabeth Williams in order to get her in foul trouble, and to use Rolle a lot more than they have in recent games in order to either double Liz or else potentially block her shots. (Sometimes it's easy to forget that Williams is indeed still a freshman going through the learning process of how to best attack taller players.) Doubling the post has been Hatchell's M.O. for a long time (it certainly was against Virginia whose posts were totally shut down Friday night), and I don't see it changing here. This means Liz has to be smart with the ball when she gets it, making quicker passes and keeping the ball off the floor. Haley Peters will likely get plenty of open looks in the high post and will need to exploit that shot. When the ball doesn't go into Shegog, the Heels will look to attack the rim with TRP, Gross and White. Duke's probably not quick enough to contain them consistently, which means that the zone can be a big defensive weapon. If TRP wants to pull up at the three point line and ignore the rest of her teammates, that's a shot Duke will be able to live with.

The Heels turn the ball over 20 times a game, and Duke will look to exploit that. In the halfcourt, the Heels will likely shadow Tricia Liston in the way that UConn did, which means that Gray needs to be alert and look to take open shots when they arise. If she and Richa Jackson are in attack mode, then that will be a very good thing for Duke, so long as they don't forget to get Williams as many touches as possible. This is a game where the recently passive Allison Vernerey needs to step up, because her quickness will be the perfect counter to Rolle's size off the bench; I also anticipate her length bothering Shegog on some shots. The game will ultimately come down to rebounding, as it often does. If Broomfield piles up offensive rebounds and gets her team lots of extra attempts, Duke will be in trouble. If it's the Devils who can dig out offensive rebounds and get to the foul line, then they'll be in great shape. Despite their struggles, this Tar Heel team must be respected, not just because they're the only ACC team to beat Miami this season, but simply because of the rivalry at hand.



   
  • The Heels ruling the boards

 




Tar Heels Hold Off Virginia, 64-56
 
Balanced Devils Thrash Heels by 40, 96-56
The Nutshell

DWHoops.com is an independent media organization covering ACC & Duke Women's Basketball since 2006.
We support but are not affiliated with Duke University Athletics or The Atlantic Coast Conference.

Website Content Copyright 2007-2014 DWHOOPS.COM (Orin A. Day, Durham, NC, USA.) All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy and Terms