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Some Women's Links

In anticipation of the Duke-Tennessee game on tomorrow (at the odd hour
of 12:30 PM, Eastern),
ESPN's Michelle Voepel has a great column up on Duke's
recent troubles and the way the team has come together. Of particular
interest is Virginia coaching legend Debbie Ryan giving Gail Goestenkors
a pep talk.
has a new diary entry, nearly a month after her first one, that
also touches on Duke's recent turmoil. She notes that Lauren Rice sent
her an email reminding her that the 1999 Final Four team lost three of
its first four games (two of them routs), and that they should draw as
many lessons as they could from the experience, because it would make
them a stronger team. Both of these are great reads. Finally, has some notes for the big game, which will be
on Fox Sports Net.

One thing to watch for in this game will be the kind of defense
Tennessee coaching legend Pat Summitt chooses to employ. She is
well-known for an aggressive, trapping man-to-man style that works
because of her team depth and athleticism. But Duke's opponents this
year have been successful at times with a zone, although the Devils have
become quite a bit more adept at not only patiently attacking zones and
finding good shots, but at knocking down their threes with alarming
proficiency. Teams that played Duke straight up, even extremely athletic
squads like Texas Tech and Louisiana Tech, got battered but Duke's
ultra-quick transition game. Tennessee is one of the few teams in the
country that can match Duke in that area, but their inside game is much
tougher than Duke's at this point. I see the key matchups of the game as
Wynter Whitley vs Michelle Snow, and Duke's ballhandlers vs Tennessee's
point guards. Snow is an incredibly quick and powerful center, perhaps
best known for her pair of dunks last year. But she has substance as
well as style, and this year has not only been a consistent scorer, she's
been a dominant defender. Whitley needs to be at the top of her powers
defensively and must have a solid rebounding performance. Tennessee's
point guards, Kara Lawson and Loree Moore, are two of the best in the
country. Lawson is more of a scoring threat while Moore is a great
defender and distributor. Both will likely seek to pressure Vicki
Krapohl, Krista Gingrich and especially Alana Beard, who has been
susceptible to turnovers as of late. On Duke's side, don't be surprised
to see some hybrid or junk defenses used to disrupt Tennessee's offense
as Coach G tries to turn them into a jump-shooting team.