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DWHoops 2012 NCAA First Look
 
2012 NCAA Tournament - ACC Capsules
Devils In Detail - March 2012
By Rob Clough
March 15, 2012

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 2012 edition looks forward to the NCAA Tournament.

Shay Selby

Key Stats: 6 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg, 30% 3FG

What She's Accomplished:: Shay has certainly had an up-and-down season. She started the year as part of a three-guard starting backcourt, was suspended for several games, and returned to the starting lineup late in the regular season. Her stats are modest, but she likes to take big shots. She's made some that have turned games around, and she's missed some that had a big impact on the game's ultimate outcome. There's no question that she has the ability to be a game-changer, given that she can shoot, she can attack the basket and she can make great passes. Her passing takes some of the pressure off of Chelsea Gray, and her shooting gives Duke an additional weapon.

Post-Season Role:: Shay needs to make good decisions above all else. She's battled her tendency to freelance and dominate the ball with trying to subsume her game to the team's needs but becoming too passive as a result. Shay needs to put some pressure on the ball, hit open shots and take care of the ball. Getting double-digit scoring out of her in every game should be considered a priority.

2012 Shay Selby photo gallery




Shay Selby Shay Selby.


Kathleen Scheer

Key Stats: 3 ppg, 3 rpg

What She's Accomplished: Leener is hustle personified. She can affect games in subtle ways thanks to her unrelenting pursuit of the ball and willingness to put her body on the line every second she's on the floor. She can also block shots and play up to four different positions with varying degrees of effectiveness.

Post-Season Role: Scheer has never been much of a scorer or shooter at Duke, and I don't expect that to change no matter how much the Blue Devils might need more scorers. However, she has the potential to change the outcome of a game by getting an extra possession or providing a last-second defender against someone breaking to the basket. If Leener can simply hit open shots and shots at the basket, she might be able to swing a close game in Duke's favor.

2012 Kathleen Scheer photo gallery




Kathleen Scheer Kathleen Scheer.

Allison Vernerey

Key Stats: 5.5 ppg, 3 rpg

What She's Accomplished: Alli has been one of Duke's least consistent players on a game-to-game basis. When she's on, she provides a nearly unguardable presence on the low block. In Duke's ACC-title clinching wins against Miami and UNC, Alli was a huge low-post scoring presence and worked quite well in particular with Liz Williams. She's also Duke's most important defensive player other than Williams, especially when Duke goes to a zone and she stands at the top of it, her long arms blocking movement and her 6-5 frame blocking vision.

Post-Season Role: When Alli disappears in a game, she really disappears. Duke needs the most aggressive and dialed-in version of Vernerey possible. With Richa Jackson out for the year, Vernerey is one of the players who has a real chance to step into the resultant scoring void. When she does this, Duke can beat good teams. When she doesn't, Duke must depend even more on its three leading scorers. Balance is this Duke team's greatest strength, and Vernerey must help extend Duke's balance out to the bench on a consistent basis.

2012 Allison Vernerey photo gallery




Allison Vernerey Allison Vernerey.

Chelsea Gray

Key Stats: 12 ppg, 5 rpg, 6 apg, 3 spg, 39% 3FG

What She's Accomplished: Gray is well on her way to becoming the best point guard in Duke history, and is one of the top players in the country this year. No player in America can match her combination of size, shiftiness, shooting ability and court vision. If you are open, she will find you. She can get any shot she wants, any time she wants. She's also the Closer, typically playing better down the stretch and hitting big shots. She broke Kira Orr's record for single-season assists and she's far from being done with that.

Post-Season Role: Chelsea needs to understand that if she can't get the ball to Williams for a good shot, she needs to continue to improvise. That improvisation may well involve pulling up for a shot or finding a teammate. Communication is key for this Duke team, because every player needs to be talking on offense when she has the ball. They need to help her by getting open and then calling for the ball, and Gray needs to help them by taking over the game a few minutes at a time. She prefers to set others up and that's certainly fine, but Duke has so few players that almost everyone needs to think of themselves as a scorer. Above all else, Chelsea has been the unofficial leader of this year's team. That's a role that's been thrust upon her (not entirely welcoming of it, either), and she simply has to accept that her talent will give her that job whether she likes it or not. It's time for her to seize the moment and lead her team to victory.

2012 Chelsea Gray photo gallery




Chelsea Gray Chelsea Gray.

Tricia Liston

Key Stats: 11 ppg, 4 rpg, 44% 3FG

What She's Accomplished: Tricia is the most improved player on the team after working extremely hard this past summer on her body and her game. She essentially doubled her scoring and rebounding output and raised her three point shooting percentage by 6%. When her shot is falling and she's diversifying her game by attacking the basket, she is a fearsome offensive force. She has the most 20+ point games of any Duke player this year. Her ability to get on a roll and drain shots can break a game wide open in just a couple of minutes; the beating Duke gave UNC in Durham was a reflection on her ability to hit shots.

Post-Season Role: Tricia's inability to stick in the starting lineup can be directly traced to her inconsistency. When she gets passive in a game or is reduced to being a jump shooter, she stops being effective. Duke almost never runs plays for her in the sense that they set up specific screens to free her up for an open shot. This is unfortunate, given her willingness to run and keep running until a screen opens up for her. Instead, Duke's passers look for her after they've made a move. Her teammates do a great job of finding her on Duke's secondary break for open threes, which is difficult to defend. As one of Duke's only real weapons coming off the bench, Tricia has to be an instant impact player but also feel out the defense in order to figure out what her long-term impact will be in a given game. Liston could be the difference for Duke in any given game a big game could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

2012 Tricia Liston photo gallery




Tricia Liston Tricia Liston.

Haley Peters

Key Stats: 11 ppg, 5 rpg, 41% 3FG

What She's Accomplished: Peters is Duke's glue player: a tough woman who goes out and gets loose balls and isn't afraid to mix it up inside. Her versatility on offense can make her a tough cover, given her ability to shoot out to the three point line, put the ball on the floor and drive and get to the foul line. She's a perfect pressure valve for Elizabeth Williams, taking advantage of many a double-team to drain open jump shots. Her offense was the key to Duke's win over Maryland this year, for example. She earned her appearance on the All-ACC Third Team.

Post-Season Role: She's the third option on offense. Of late, Haley's been taking advantage of her 6-3 frame to post up and toss in jump-hooks. That's a great shot for her, especially on the left block, and a go-to move when opponents take away her regular jump shot. Haley is not always as aggressive as she needs to be in hunting her shots. On other occasions, she tries to do too much with the ball, dribbling into pressure. She needs to focus on that short jumper when available, pass the ball out of the post to open shooters, and scrap after rebounds. She especially needs to grab defensive boards and can't allow herself to be blocked out by players going for an offensive rebound. Essentially, Haley just needs to continue doing what she's doing: maintain aggressiveness on offense and tenaciousness on defense. If she's not at her best in every game, Duke stands a chance to lose early.

2012 Haley Peters photo gallery




Haley Peters Haley Peters.

Jenna Frush

Key Stats: 1 ppg

What She's Accomplished: Jenna's work ethic is obvious, as she never relents on defense and is always moving. She's the player that others high five when they're being introduced as starters before the game, which is a telling sign of how much energy she brings to her teammates, especially the #EJAK crew.

Post-Season Role: Jenna will continue to serve as an example and inspiration for her teammates. We might see her on the floor in a mop-up role if Duke takes a big lead.

2012 Jenna Frush photo gallery




Jenna Frush Jenna Frush.

Ka'lia Johnson

Key Stats: 1 ppg, 1 rpg

What She's Accomplished: Ka'lia is slowly getting more meaningful minutes in heated portions of games, due to Duke's lack of overall depth. She's played aggressive defense and in general has shown little fear.

Post-Season Role:Johnson already plays hard. Now she needs to play smart. She has to take good shots, apply pressure on defense without overplaying and losing her assignment and above all else, she must hold on to the ball. She's had some bad turnovers in recent games that have changed the course of events for the worse. Given her limited playing time, she needs to relax, take care of the ball, and above all try not to do too much.

2012 Ka'lia Johnson photo gallery




Ka'lia Johnson Ka'lia Johnson.

Elizabeth Williams

Key Stats: 14 ppg, 8 rpg, 1.5 apg, 3.5 bpg

What She's Accomplished: Elizabeth has had one of the greatest freshman seasons in Duke history. A run to the Elite Eight would likely elevate her to #3 all time in freshman scoring. She's poised to break Chante Black's mark for most rebounds by a frosh and destroyed the block shot mark a long time ago. She's also on the verge of the top ten in steals as well. She was not only the ACC rookie of the year, she also made first-team All-ACC. ESPN just named her their national freshman of the year. On a team that did not do a great job pressuring the ball, Liz erased a lot of mistakes. She took to being Duke's primary scorer quickly and naturally; teams that didn't double-team her or get physical with her were treated to flurries of baskets from the big, graceful post player. She's both even-keeled and intense and will provide a headache for every opposing coach on how to play her.

Post-Season Role: Liz has played big minutes in many meaningful playoff games, both as a prep star and internationally. In her first foray into the NCAA tournament, she will need to keep her focus at a razor-sharp level. That means trying to score in a more efficient manner and going to a counter move instead of just trying to plow through opponents. Many of her fouls have actually come at the offensive end this season, and Duke simply cannot afford to be without her for any extended period of time. It's especially important for Williams to be careful to avoid questionable moves given that the postseason often means an unfamiliar officiating crew. Liz has to be ready for a variety of defensive approaches and make quick, smart decisions. She has the chance to wreak havoc on many opponents who aren't ready for her breathtaking quickness and sheer aggressiveness on the offensive end. They may well be even less prepared for her shot blocking. If Duke is to have extended success in the NCAA tournament, Liz needs to continue to do what she's doing. Duke won't be able to afford an off game from her.

2012 Elizabeth Williams photo gallery




Elizabeth Williams Elizabeth Williams.

Devils in Detail will return in November 2012, looking forward to the 2013 regular season.



DWHoops 2012 NCAA First Look
 
2012 NCAA Tournament - ACC Capsules

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