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UConn Continues Duke Mastery, 83-52
Duke Pummels NC A&T, 87-36
The Nutshell
Preview: NC A&T at Duke
By Rob Clough
January 2, 2015

Final Pre-ACC Test for Blue Devils

NC A&T -- Friday, January 2nd, 2015 @ 6:30 PM EST (Cameron Indoor Stadium)

2014 NC A&T Snapshot: 24-7, 13-3 MEAC, WNIT First Round

Current Records: Duke 8-4, NC A&T 7-6, 1-1 MEAC

Current Rankings: Duke #10, NC A&T is not ranked.

Significant Losses: The biggest loss is that of guard Tracy King, the team's leading scorer and the only player who averaged double-digits at 13 ppg. Also gone are guards Ariel Bursey and DeAndra Davis, who averaged 8.5 and 9.6 ppg, respectively. Combined, the three guards hit 63 of the team's 128 treys on the season.

Returning & New Players: The Aggies are the rare mid-major team that has great size. 6-3 center Aprill McRae is averaging 12 ppg and 4 rpg, while 6-3 power forward Eboni Ross is putting up 9.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 1.8 bpg. Both missed a few games, which certainly disrupted the team's ability to compete. Clemson transfer Natiece Ford just became eligible and is slowing working her way into the lineup; at 6-2, she adds another big body to the lineup off the bench. The team's three long bombers are Debbie Smith (8.4 ppg), Christina Carter (8.5 ppg and 2.8 apg as the lead guard) and Adriana Nazario (6.8 ppg), who missed most of last year with an injury. Kenya Hailey is the wing starter, though she doesn't do much that shows up on the stat sheet. Off the bench come guards Dana Brown (4 ppg) and Michelle Fitzgerald (3 ppg).

The Skinny: The Aggies are now at full strength and have had a few games to work toward their team strengths, which are defense and interior play. This is a team that forces turnovers but isn't especially adept at scoring, averaging just 58 ppg. While its superior size and defense gets it extra possessions, the Aggies simply aren't very good at cashing in on these extra chances, shooting only 38% from the field, 25% from three and 68% from the line. Their strengths are pretty much Duke's strengths, only Duke is far deeper and even bigger across the board. Even if McRae and Ross get their points (which is not a given, thanks to Duke's interior defense) and the Aggies force some turnovers, the Devils will apply their own pressure and cash in. In a war of attrition, Duke has a huge advantage thanks to its post depth, but the presence of Azura' Stevens is a real game changer because of her versatility. Her ability to attack the hoop, pull up to shoot and then post up will be something A&T hasn't defended before. If she stays out of foul trouble, look for her to have a big game. I expect this game to be slow-paced and kind of ugly at times, with Duke mucking out a few big runs to hold A&T at arm's length before they wear them out in the second half.

  • Duke losing the rebound battle.


UConn Continues Duke Mastery, 83-52
Duke Pummels NC A&T, 87-36
The Nutshell

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