by Rob Clough
The Devils won their third tourney of the year by
beating Arkansas State 45-41 and
nipping Oral Roberts 62-51 in the finals. Both games
featured solid defense by Duke, a welcome return after getting burned by
Clemson. Both contests also featured a lot of sloppy play and poor
shooting, as Coach G struggles to get a consistent level of play from the
bench. But there was one very pleasing factor in both games: the
reemergence of Georgia Schweitzer as a dominant force. She averaged 18
ppg, 4 apg, 7 rpg, 6 spg (!) and only turned the ball over 3 times.
Georgia was also 4-7 from three and proved that while Alana Beard is a
magnificent player, it's Schweitzer who is the leader of this team.
Georgia is now in 7th place all-time in scoring with 1292, having just
passed Tye Hall. Next up Payton Black's 1312 points. Georgia's also
just 4 three pointers away from tying Jen Scanlon's career mark.
The tournament was held in Cancun, which meant that this was as much a
vacation for the players and the coaching staff as it was a chance to
play basketball, not to mention a chance to develop team chemistry.
Against Arkansas State, a decent team that Duke had to respect, the
Devils came out strong. They held ASU to 24% shooting and forced 29
turnovers, but also gave up 19 offensive rebounds and were outrebounded
overall, 40-32. The bench played pretty well here, scoring 32 of Duke's
69 points, getting 9 rebounds, 4 steals but also turning it over 8
times. Of particular interest is Olga Gvozdenovic's line. In just four
minutes of play, she scored 5 points, grabbed 5 boards, and turned it
over 3 times! Other than Schweitzer's 20 points in the contest, the only
other double-figure scorer was frosh Rometra Craig, who scored 10 points
and nabbed 2 steals. Her efforts in this game led to her being named ACC
Frosh of the Week, an award that Duke has almost
completely owned so far this year.
Duke grabbed an early 12 point lead against Oral Roberts and was never
in any real danger, but they could never quite put them away, either.
The Golden Eagles were within 9 with three minutes left, but Georgia once
again helped seal the deal. Her stats for this game where monstrous: 17
points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 7 steals! And a number of the steals came
down the stretch. She said afterwards that she had been upset with the
way she had been playing, but attributed some of that to finals stress.
Now that that was all over, she wanted to have fun playing basketball
again, and fun she indeed did have. Also playing a big part in the game
were the super sophs, Mosch and Matyasovsky. After not doing much in the
first game, Mosch broke out with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists.
Matyasovsky had 8 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. The rest of the bench
was not quite as productive, with the exception of Craig, who had 7
points. They combined for 1-6 shooting and had 6 turnovers--not the kind
of contribution Coach G wanted.
Uberfrosh Alana Beard had a decent showing overall, but shot just 6-19
from the field in the two games. She did still managed to average about
10 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 3.5 spg and 1 bpg despite fouling out of both
Of greater concern is Missy West's game, which has gone south. While
she played 22 minutes in the first game, her only popped up for 4 against
Oral Roberts. She was 0-3 from three in her appearances and didn't show
up in the hustle stats, either. This may have been a matchup-related
benching, or perhaps Coach G just wanted to use her younger players a bit
more. I believe that Missy will wind up playing a lot of minutes down
More perplexing was Crystal White only getting two total minutes of
playing time. She's proven to be a strong defender thus far and a
surprisingly apt scorer, but she apparently has yet to separate herself
from the pack that includes Lello Gebisa, LaNedra Brown and Olga
Gvozdenovic, all of whom got a minute or two of playing time this
weekend. And this leads to Coach G's central dilemma: how deep should
the bench go?
I believe that she'd love to play everyone a lot, but the fact remains
that the team's productivity goes downhill when too many bench players
are in. The team's current rotation has seven reliable players, eight
when you throw in West. I think Coach G would love to have a post
reserve other than Matyasovsky around, someone who can play great
defense. That player has not yet emerged, which means that this
team is not quite a finished product as of yet.
Duke gets a very strong test on the 30th, playing against top ten Iowa
State in Cameron. Playing against a top-notch, high-scoring center like
Angie Welle will be a huge challenge for Iciss Tillis and Rochelle
Parent. Duke will have to focus on rebounding, limiting turnovers, and
getting to the foul ine. This will be one of the best games of the year
in Cameron, so come check it out.