by Rob Clough
Go Duke Recap
Clemson crushed Duke on Saturday the 10th, 95-73. While this was an
upset and the final margin was a bit shocking, this loss comes as little
surprise. Duke's last two efforts were not especially impressive, and a
long-time conference foe like Clemson was ready to take Duke on. Add in
the fact that Littlejohn has never been the friendliest of environs for
Duke and that Clemson had already taken its lumps at the hands of
Tennessee and Illinois, and you had an upset in the making.
The disappointing part about the loss was not Duke shooting 37% or
turning the ball over 19 times. Duke has been able to survive in those
sorts of games. The thing that really stings is Clemson's 48% shooting
percentage and 38-35 rebound margin. The Tigers are the worst rebounding
team in the league, and yet they dominated the second half 22-15.
Equally disturbing was Clemson star's Chrissy Floyd's game-high 23
points. No one Duke had could stop her, while the starting Duke guard
tandem of Mosch and Schweitzer combined for just 19. Duke's strong
point, its bench, was outscored 23-18 and turned the ball over 9 times.
The game started fairly even, with Duke holding a 1 point lead with
about six minutes gone by. Beard, Tillis and Parent contributed to this
11-10 lead. Clemson built a 9 point lead when Duke went cold for a
couple of minutes, but fought back behind a Matyasovsky three and some
Tillis free throws. At this point, Duke started sending Clemson to the
line on nearly every possession, and the Tigers cashed in as Duke would
often turn the ball over and then foul. Clemson's lead swelled to 12,
but an 8-0 Duke run where four different players scored cut the halftime
margin to just 4 at 41-37. Duke had been behind before and usually came
out smoking in the second half, but it wasn't to be this time.
Behind the red-hot shooting of Chrissy Floyd & Marci Glenney and Erin
Batth's low-post scoring, Clemson went on a 16-4 run in the first five
minutes of the half to send Duke reeling. Duke would fight back at
times, with Gingrich ringing up back-to-back threes to pull Duke within
8, but Clemson's own three point and foul shooting would simply push the
lead up again. Duke's last serious run came with about eight minutes
left, when jumpers from Schweitzer and Beard pulled Duke to within 9 at
71-62, but Clemson's guards just took over and ran off 7 straight
points. Things just got ugly from there as Duke sent Clemson to the foul
line over and over again, and they simply wouldn't miss.
For Duke, Alana Beard had 18 points on 5-14 shooting, along with 10
rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 3 steals and 2 turnovers. She was also 8-8
from the foul line, and turned in a solid performance, all things
considered. Georgia had 12 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist--not really
enough on a day like this. Iciss Tillis held her own with Batth, scoring
10 points to her 14, grabbing 4 rebounds and blocking 2 shots. The
biggest problem was that no one on Duke's bench could match the Tigers'
intensity. Nor could Duke turn Tiger miscues into easy points.
Duke will now take a week off and then go to Cancun to play in the Fun
In The Sun Shootout against some fairly weak competition, although
Arkansas State is a decent team. I suspect that this game will serve as
a wake-up call for Duke, as the younger players realize that they aren't
invincible and will need to work harder on defense in order to win. The
Cancun tournament will give Duke an opportunity to work on three areas of
concern: efficiency, consistency and intensity. Last year's team did not
have the same level of talent, but their excellence in those three areas
led them to an outstanding season. After Cancun, Duke will have another
week off before playing top ten team Iowa State in Cameron. That will be
a true final exam for this team before the real ACC season gets underway.