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Noles Smother Duke, 69-53
 
Wake Upsets Duke, 64-58
Previewing Duke at Wake Forest
By Rob Clough
February 13, 2016

Devils Aim for Season Sweep Against Streaking Deacs


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Wake Forest -- Sunday, February 14th, 2016 @ 2PM EST (Joel Coliseum) - ESPN3

2015 Wake Forest Snapshot:

13-20, 2-14 ACC (No Postseason Play)

Last Meeting: 1/7/2016: Duke Crushes Wake, 95-68

Current Records: Duke 17-9, 6-6 ACC; Wake Forest 14-11, 5-7 ACC

Current Rankings: Duke is not ranked, Wake Forest is not ranked

Significant Losses: The Deacs lost one of their greatest players of all time in forward Dearica Hamby, who averaged 20 ppg and 11 rpg last year. Lost to transfer are wing Nicole Floyd (6 ppg, 3 rpg), Mykia Jones (5 ppg, 2 rpg) and Taylor Gordon (4 ppg, 2 rpg). Wing Kelila Atkinson (8 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 apg) is out for the year with an injury. Bomber Millesa Calicott (5 ppg, 39% 3FG) graduated.

Returning & New Players: The Deacs are led by soph wing Amber Campbell (13 ppg, 4 rpg) and frosh guard Ariel Stephenson (13 ppg, 3 rpg). Stephenson is a volume shooter who's had some rocky games, but she can definitely score. 6-1 post Milan Quinn is putting up career numbers at 10 ppg and 9 rpg. Guard Kortni Simmons (9 ppg, 5 rpg) and post Jill Brunori (3 ppg, 5 rpg) have been solid contributors, but players are injured. Wing Ataijah Taylor has been solid at 6 ppg and 3 apgm while Destini Walker is averaging 5 ppg and 4 rpg. At post, 6-3 Kandice Ball is averaging 4 ppg and 5 rpg, and Italian post Elisa Penna has been a revelation after joining the team mid-season, contributing 10 ppg, 6 rpg and 37% from three.

Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover is working hard to bring the Demon Deacons into the middle third of the ACC and the accompanying first round tournament bye. A win over Duke would solidify that position, though Wake still has Notre Dame remaining.
DWHoops file photo by Orin Day

What's Changed And What's At Stake: After dropping their first five ACC games, the young Deacs have regrouped and won five of seven, including an upset over NC State. The Deacs are suffering from injuries, but they've cobbled together a solid eight-player rotation playing slow-down basketball. Stephenson is really coming on after a scoring slump, and Penna hurt Duke when they played earlier in the year.

This game represents Wake's best opportunity to break their 22-year losing streak to the Devils in quite some time. They'll be playing at home against a Duke team plagued by injuries and minus their All-American candidate. What's more, Wake is only a game behind Duke in the ACC standings, and a win would go a long way to guaranteeing a berth in the WNIT. Conversely, losing to Wake would severely damage Duke's chances of making the NCAA tournament. What should have been a routine ACC game for Duke now has high stakes.

The key to this game will be Duke's ability to get good perimeter shots. Duke still has a size advantage even without Stevens and should be able to do damage inside and grab offensive boards. However, much like against FSU, it will be up to the guards to put up points. Rebecca Greenwell had a great game against Wake in their first meeting and will need to score at least 15 points. Same goes for Angela Salvadores: she will need to look for her own shot in addition to setting up others.

Crystal Primm and Kyra Lambert will need to shuttle in and out to shadow Stephenson and Campbell, Wake's biggest guns. Penna will flash out to the wing to shoot threes (something she did quite well against Duke), and the Devils will need to rotate someone over to her whenever she leaves the post. If Duke can neutralize those three, then Wake will have a great deal of trouble scoring. Duke should be able to win this game, but they won't get it done if they turn the ball over, don't dominate the boards and especially if they put the Deacs on the foul line. They average 14 trips per game, and for a team that frequently struggles to score in halfcourt situations, fouling them would bail them out of tough situations. Needless to say, Duke also has to keep up their improved perimeter defense of late and not give the Deacs open looks. The team looked pretty demoralized after the loss to FSU, so we'll see if they can bounce back and even have a little fun playing together.



   
  • Deacs at the foul line.

 


Don't forget to grab brunch at NOSH Sunday morning!



Noles Smother Duke, 69-53
 
Wake Upsets Duke, 64-58

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