Duke successfully capped off a tough two-game road trip by outpacing #19
Boston College, 67-49. This was Duke's third victory over a top-25 team
in five games, made all the more remarkable by a Georgia Schweitzer
playing at less than 100%. The game was tight early in the first half,
but BC went on an 8-0 run, fueled in part by turnovers but mostly by BC's
dominance on the boards. But in the last six minutes of the half, Duke
went on an 11-0 run, fueled by Rometra Craig (4 points) and Alana Beard
(5 points). Craig, Schweitzer, Parent and Beard all had steals during
the run, with Beard grabbing 2. Michele Matyasovsky was also key with a
couple of rebounds, after BC had done a great job of keeping Duke off the
boards. The Eagles held a 22-17 rebounding edge at the half, even though
Duke led by 1. Duke negated this with a 10-3 edge in steals. Neither
team shot very well, but Duke was barely treading water at 33%.
After BC briefly took the lead in the second half, Duke went on a 17-2
run. Iciss Tillis, after a poor first half, took command, scoring 10
points (including 2-2 from three). Matyasovsky was again doing the
little things, blocking a shot and getting the rebound, getting a steal and
cutting for a basket. Duke was up 44-30 and would lead by no less then
12 the rest of the way. Duke pushed the lead up to 20 a couple of times,
but BC managed to claw their way back. Each time, however, Schweitzer or
West would hit a three. Combined with a 23-14 second-half rebounding
edge, Duke was in no danger.
Coach G blamed the poor start on fatigue, but it was the team's
commitment to pressuring the ball that won the game for them. BC's
starting point guard, Brianne Stephenson, got hurt early on. She did
continue to play but wasn't as effective. On the other hand, BC frosh
Rachel Byars, averaging 24 points a game, was held to a big zero, thanks
to Rochelle Parent.
A few more random comments:
** BC was undefeated at home last year. They had a crowd of 3491
supporting their team. This is great experience for Duke, being able to
win in front of large, hostile crowds. Duke once again gets a little
payback after BC beat Duke in Cameron in the preseason NIT last year.
** Georgia Schweitzer continues to climb in the record books. She's 40
points away from Carey Kauffman's 1228 and #10 all-time in scoring. She's
36 in assists, just passing 300 recently. She's 16 away from becoming
Duke's all-time leader in threes. With 126 steals, she's one shy of
joining the top ten. And amazingly enough, with 36 blocks, she's only 4
short of entering the top ten there as well.
** Duke plays next in their own Duke Classic. The Devils will play at
3:00pm both Saturday and Sunday, in a tournament that supports Duke's
Ronald McDonald House. The Devils square off against Duquesne on
Saturday and either Radford or Toledo on Sunday. While Duke is much
better than any of these teams, fatigue may play a factor. I expect the
bench to be used extensively.
** Speaking of the bench, Coach G has used a long one thus far. She went
8-deep against BC, with Matyasovsky, West and Craig combining for 21
points, 9 rebounds, and 7 steals. Penn State hero Crystal White played 6
minutes, getting 1 board and 1 block. Remember that Krista Gingrich is
also going to be a factor down the road. Duke needs her ballhandling
ability and shooting. Georgia could use the help at the point to free
her up for easier shots. The biggest x-factor is Missy, who knows that
in certain games (like Penn State) she may not play much, but then will
get huge minutes in other contests. LaNedra Brown and Olga Gvozdenovic
did not even make an appearance against BC. It looks like Crystal may
have jumped ahead in the rotation, but it's still very early in the
season. With the tough part of the schedule over for now, I suspect that
Coach G will use the time for further evaluation of the bench.
** The frosh scored 41 of Duke's 67 points. They also 14 of 40 rebounds
and 9 of 17 steals. They also had 6 of 20 turnovers.
** Alana Beard's line (get ready):
18 points (6-12, 2-2 from three, 4-5 from the line), 5 rebounds, 2
assists, 3 turnovers, 3 blocks (!), 5 steals. She is **averaging** 4
steals a game. Ay yi yi!
Just for chuckles, I'd like to note that Chris Moreland's frosh scoring
record was 439 points. Alana currently has 88. The frosh steal record
(held by Katie Meier) is 58. Alana stands at 21. (Incidentally, Sheana
Mosch, Peppi Browne and Georgia Schweitzer rank 2-3-4 in that category.)
** Iciss Tillis isn't far behind. 12 points (4-11, 2-4 three, 2-4 FT), 6
rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 steal. 10 of those points came in
the second half. Once Iciss becomes a more consistent player, she will
be an unstoppable force.