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Blue Devils Win Classic - Part 1

by Rob Clough

  • Duke 97, Duquesne 66. November 25th, 2000. Cameron Indoor Stadium.
  • Duke 71, Toledo 41. November 26th, 2000. Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke won its ninth consecutive Duke Classic title this weekend, beating
a decent Toledo team in the finals. My report will be in two parts, with
Saturday's action first.

As expected, Duke's romp over Duquesne gave Coach G a chance to try some
different combinations, evaluate her bench, and use some different looks on
defense. The second half was used almost exclusively to get the ball inside,
an experiment that had mixed results. While Duke mixed the spectacular with
the groan-inducing, the most pleasant surprise emerging from this game was
the return of Krista Gingrich. She was in uniform, although I didn't expect
to see her play. However, she was inserted with about five minutes left
and did quite well. Duke will now face the Toledo Rockets for the Duke Classic
championship tomorrow. The Rockets won their game against Radford with
great ease. Coach G was not pleased overall with how things went, especially
in the second half. She thought the team played distracted, although she
did give credit to Duquesne for playing hard. Coach G was especially displeased
with the team's zone, although she did like the intensity of the man-to-man

Looking at the boxscore, Duke played every one of its 14 players, with
9 players getting double-digit minutes. Schweitzer and Parent rested for
most of the second half, and no Duke player was in for more than 25 minutes.
Rometra Craig led the Devils with 17 points, Rochelle Parent carved up the
Dukes with 6 precision assists, and the rapidly-improving Crystal White had
5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Schweitzer had a very efficient game, knocking
down 5 of 7 shots for 14 points and had 4 assists to only 1 turnover. Duke
shot an impressive 64% as a team, with many of those buckets in transition.
Duquesne shot only 36%, and couldn't match Duke's percentage from three:
9-15 (56%) for the Devils, and 6-16 (38%) for the Dukes. Both teams shot
poorly from the foul line, with the Dukes launching some shots that nearly
bent the rim. The Devils wound up at 64% (16-25) and the Dukes at 56% (14-25).
The Devils had 24 turnovers to Duquesne's 26, and the Dukes were able to
keep things even in the second half as a result. Duquesne's 18 offensive
rebounds and ability to get to the foul line kept this from becoming a very
ugly game indeed.

The game was tight for about the first three minutes. This was aided in
no small part by Alana Beard picking up 2 quick fouls and having to sit out
for seven minutes. Duquesne was in a zone and Duke started to use precision
passing to find open shooters. Of Duke's 36 field goals, an amazing 29
came on assists, and 8 of these were threes that came on relocation passes
in the first half. Duke hit 3 consecutive threes to go up 14-6 with
about fourteen minutes left in the half. And the shots came from different
players: West, Tillis and Schweitzer. The three from West sparked a 9-0
run that included an impressive finish from Crystal White on a Mosch feed,
a Craig steal that she turned into a short jumper, and Mosch locating West
for another three. Duke continued to bomb away, with 2 Craig threes trumping
5 points from Duquesne. The Dukes did cut the lead to 27-14 with about
nine minutes left, but then the Devils broke off a run that basically put
the game away.

It was a 15-1 run that lasted over five minutes, and featured Schweitzer
coolly destroying Duquesne. She started with a three, then spotted up for
a 10' baseline jumper on a nice delivery from Craig, and cut for a layup on a
Gebisa pass. Coach K went deep into her bench at this point, and they
responded positively as Olga Gvozdenovic found Vicki Krapohl for a three.
The most spectacular play came when Iciss Tillis found Mosch for a layup on
an outrageous bounce pass--one of several highlight reel plays for the
precocious frosh. Duke finished the half with a 7-5 margin, as Duquesne
was finally starting to recover from the pounding. But there were again
some nice plays, like a startling pass from White to Brown in the post
and a leaping Craig rebounding a miss. Duke went into the half leading 49-20
and in complete control. This was despite Beard hardly playing at all
because of her foul trouble (she picked up a third later in the half and
that was it for her) and Duke generously giving the Dukes a lot of cracks
at the foul line.

Well, that control went out the window when Duquesne started the second
half on a 6-0 run. They did it with tenacious offensive rebounding, 2 quick
fouls on Tillis, and 4 straight turnovers from the Devils. One of those,
from Schweitzer, led directly to a Duquesne runout. Duke finally scored
on a Craig drive from a Parent pass, and then Beard finally got the steal
and breakaway layup she had been hunting for. The Dukes hung around by
scoring 5 points, but the Devils absolutely slammed the door with an
impressive 16-2 run that put them up 72-33 with twelve minutes left.

That run featured lots of drives from Duke as they turned on the afterburners
in transition. Parent and Schweitzer both scored on drives while Beard
slithered her way in for one of her lefty layups. Matyasovsky got into the
act with a short jumper after using dribble penetration to get into the
paint. Beard stole the ball on the sidelines and tapped it ahead to Craig,
who finished nicely. But the real highlights came when Tillis threw a
behind the back pass to White for a finish, and when Iciss grabbed a rebound,
dribbled the entire length of the floor (inspiring awe from the crowd as
she glided down the court like a gazelle) and then dished to a cutting
Matyasovsky for a layup. Things started to ugly for Duke shortly afterward,

The Dukes went on an 8-2 run as they started to heat up from the perimeter,
thanks to sharpshooting post player Oxana Shetko, who led the team with 14
points. 2 Mosch free throws and a spectacular fast break that ended with
Craig finding Tillis on the run helped halt this for a bit, but Duke
started to turn the ball over. 7 turnovers in the next three minutes,
together with 4 fouls helped Duquesne get some much-needed easy scores and
cut the lead to 80-49. They weren't done, as 5 more fouls and 4 more turnovers
let Duquesne actually cut the lead to 26. Duke was in no real danger, but
having 12 points cut off your lead was more than a little embarrassing,
especially when you miss 4 straight free throws.

Duke finally woke up with Beard getting a three point play and Gingrich
entering the game. Just her presence on the court (which drew a standing
ovation) seemed to energize the team. She started her season by hitting
a nice 10' baseline jumper. The teams traded baskets to finish up an
excruciating last five minutes of play. The teams were fouling each other
left and right, and Duke in particular was not reacting smartly to Duquesne's

This team is talented enough to make a lot of mistakes and win, but Duke
will need to play a lot harder and a lot smarter tomorrow, or Toledo could
make the game very interesting.

** Positives:

1. Shot selection. Duke took lots of open threes, short jumpers, and easy
layups. Very little was forced. The only time Duke got in trouble was when
they tried to get too cute with their passing or picked up the dribble and
got turned over.

2. Ball movement. Sensational in the first half on the perimeter, and
efficient in the second half in terms of the transition game. Schweitzer
and Parent in particular kept things sharp and simple.

3. Pressure. Duke forced Duquesne point guard Shiri Sharon into 11 turnovers.
The Devils used traps and heavy ball pressure to force her into bad decisions.
Duke clearly overmatched them when they turned the pressure up.

** Negatives:

1. Blocking out. Only White and Gebisa were effectively blocking out. The
other post players let too many loose balls get away.

2. Ballhandling. Mosch and Krapohl did an extremely poor job of handling
pressure, and Beard made some silly passes. I think Duke was expecting
Duquesne to lie down in the second half, but instead they turned up their
pressure and took advantage of many a lazy pass.

3. Foul shooting. This is going to come back to bite Duke in the butt one
of these days. I am mystified as to why Craig can't hit free throws.


** Tillis: Wow, can she be spectacular. There are times when she's a walking
highlight film, like with a gutsy bounce pass in transition to Mosch. Her
range makes her a unique player, and while Duke is doing their best to make
a post player out of her, Coach G is still giving her the freedom to take
smart threes. She hit one early in the game that sent Duke on its way.
But more than anything, she loves to run, and her display in the second half
sent heads a-shaking. Beyond the moves I described earlier, the most
impressive may have been a steal that she drove downcourt and dished off to
Craig. Rometra was covered but simply found a streaking Tillis for the
layup. This is not to say that Tillis' game is perfect, however. Her
biggest problem is knowing when to pass. She's so aggressive with her outlet
passes, wanting to run at all times, that she sometimes throws them into
traffic. She also throws some of them too high. At times, she has trouble
finishing around the basket, especially when throwing up hook shots. Of
course, she's just six games into her college career, so these things will

** Parent: Solid as ever, one of Duke's smartest players ever. This is someone
who has a firm grasp on the offense and knows how to find players when they
get open. Her defense is also excellent, as evidenced by her taking her 9th
charge of the season. She even took it to the hoop a few times when she
was open. Her first basket was a drive on a great Tillis entry pass that
she just dropped in with nice touch. She found West cutting on Duke's next
possession, a classic staple of Coach G's offense. Ro then skipped the ball
over to Schweitzer and West on the next two possessions, and both hit threes.
When she reentered the game a few minutes later, it was more of the same
as she found Schweitzer for a three, and then drove and dished off to
Georgia on the baseline, who nailed a short jumper. Parent also was active
in the passing lanes, picking off a pass. In the second half, Craig drove
but ended up stuck in the lane. She passed to Parent, who ended up driving
all the way and finger-rolling it in. She topped off her game with a couple
of foul shots, and graded out at close to perfect.

** Beard: This was Alana's first somewhat rough game, thanks to her foul
trouble. She still managed to shoot 3 of 4, grab 3 boards, get 3 steals
and dish out 3 assists. Her jumper is starting to fail her a bit, as she's
missed a few mid-range jumpers. She needs to start hitting some of those
or teams will be playing her exclusively for her penetration. Of course,
Alana can hurt teams in many ways, not the least of which is her passing.
When she came back in after sitting out her two fouls, her first play was
a drive and then dish back to Craig for three. For someone whose scoring
ability is so potent, she's amazingly unselfish. The second half saw Alana
do what she does best--drive. She picked up one of her usual runout steals,
slithered through a couple of players for a basket, and then took a West
pass and got the basket plus the foul. She got another steal and dished
off to Craig for an easy hoop as well. Beard was really getting into the
other players' heads, with one of them actually pushing her after Alana's
arm was draped over her. Like Tillis, however, Alana can be turnover prone
because she wants to run so much. She threw the ball away 3 times in the
second half alone. Her control of her dribble sometimes gets a little shaky
as well, but otherwise she is both incredibly talented and fundamentally

** Mosch: Not a great game for Sheana. She played point at times and this
didn't work out all that well, thanks to some lazy passes. Her first half
was actually quite promising. She hit White in transition and then found
West for a three, and used her ability to penetrate to get to the foul line.
But in the second half, she turned the ball 3 times and looked flustered
playing point. Sheana was up and down at times last year, and tended to
follow a bad game with a good one, so we'll see what she does on Sunday.

** Schweitzer: Except for one errant pass and an airball three, this was a
near-perfect game for Georgia. She led the Duke guards in a dominant first-
half shooting performance, hitting both of her threes, a short jumper and
cutting for a layup. She also found Tillis and Craig for a layup. Remember,
her shoulder's still hurting, as evidenced by the big icepack she wore on it
after the game, but she refuses to talk about it. In the second half, she
had a nice drive for a bucket and a steal, but mostly sat on the bench as
others were running the team.

** West: Very strong first half, a slightly less impressive second half. In
addition to burying 2 of her 3 attempts from long range, she also cut for a
bucket and hit a tough pull-up 8' jumper. She also pulled down two rebounds
in traffic. While her only second half point came on a free throw, she did
have a couple of nice assists to Beard and White, both of them very precise
passes. She also had only the fourth block of her career.

** Craig: Another strong game from this very athletic and opportunistic
player. She's improved a great deal since her first game and has now pretty
much cemented her way into the rotation. Her one crippling flaw is her
free throw shooting, which seems a mental issue since her jumper looks rather
nice. In fact, she hit 2 of her 4 attempts from three and hit a very difficult
8' jumper at a dead stop. This displayed her amazing level of poise for
a frosh, because many young players would have just kept going to the basket
and get called for a charge, but she had the presence of mind to pull up
and trust her jumper. She also plundered the passing lanes a couple of times,
and crashed the boards to rebound a miss right before the half. In the
second half, she used her ability to drive to score several times. The last
such score came on a drive and a beautiful turnaround jumper in the lane.
It's obvious that she's spent some time in the post in her high school career,
because she is very comfortable operating there. She also led the team in
assists in the second half, finding Matyasovsky on a cut, Tillis on the break,
and Parent on a drive. Other than a couple of turnovers caused by some
overzealous passing and the aforementioned problems at the line, this
was a great overall game.

** Matyasovsky: A great second half from one of Duke's most versatile players.
Her first basket came on a nice drive and it obviously caught Duquesne
off-guard, because she used her perimeter skills well there. She used her
ability to move without the ball to score on a cut, and her ability to run
the floor and finish to score on a transition feed from Tillis. Lastly, she
displayed her range by hitting a three in the corner on a Gingrich feed.
Mattie hit all 4 of her attempts and threw in a block, a steal and an
assist to Brown for good measure.

** White: Some players can block shots. Crystal is a **shot-blocker**. She
had a huge first-half stuff that led to a Duke break. She was faked out
a couple of times, but she really provided a nice inside presence. And now
she's starting to finish inside as well, and even make some slick post passes.
She's clearly Duke's most improved player since the early part of the season.
Her ability to finish when being led with good passes makes her a potentially
dangerous scorer, but she must improve her short offensive game since she
missed a few easy ones inside. She is a tough rebounder who can take a hit
inside and still keep the ball. Crystal has a very bright future in front
of her and Coach G will need to find a way to continue to give her minutes.

** Krapohl: A rough game for Vicki. She hit an early three and pressured
the Duquesne ballhandlers into some errors, but did not handle the pressure
well in the second half. She turned the ball over 3 times because she was
getting hounded, but did hit Brown with a nice pass that alleviated a lot
of frustration. The great thing about Vicki is that despite her struggles,
she's always giving maximum effort, and as she gets stronger this will pay off.

** Gebisa: Lello had a great boxout in the first half for a rebound, and
a great pass in the post to Schweitzer for a layup. She still has that
annoying tendency of not holding on to the ball, and can still be pushed
out of the way without much trouble. Lello did contribute a really nice
block and hurried another shot.

** Gvozdenovic: Made a nice impact early on with a strong rebound and a
relocation pass to Krapohl for a three. Two quick fouls (one offensive)
sent her to the bench, and the only things she did in the second half were
taking an ill-considered 17' jumper and picking up a couple of more fouls.
She does look a lot stronger and is moving very well after recovering from
her knee injury, but at times it seems like she doesn't quite know how she
fits in with this team.

** Brown: Showed off her scoring knack once again by being in the right
place at the right time, and also picked up a couple of offensive rebounds.
She was ready for a quick White pass and drove right to the bucket, but
she was really impressive in her second half appearance. She had a couple of
offensive rebounds and played some solid defense. She scored on a couple
of cuts and took passes from Krapohl and Matyasovsky. Nedra can really run
the floor, but she's struggling to find playing time. Another problem in
this game was foul shooting--she only hit 1 of 4. Still, she got in some
solid minutes and took advantage of her opportunities.

** Gingrich: Looked good out there, with no noticeable problems moving around
after her calf injury. Her jumper looked smooth and she picked up an
assist by finding Matyasovsky for a three.

Cameron Craziness: Despite the absence of students due to Thanksgiving,
there were nearly 3800 people in attendance. The vast majority of them
were Duke fans. With the game out of hand, there wasn't much cheering going
on, other than oohing and ahhing at whatever spectacular play Beard or Tillis
would pull out of their hats.