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Duke 107, Virginia 73

Recap | Box | Daily Progress

For some reason, Duke tends to react well to crises. The surprising
transfer announcements of Rometra Craig and Crystal White, right before
Duke's first ACC game, might have been a distraction for the team.
But just like Alana Beard's injury last season, Duke redoubled its focus
and absolutely throttled a pretty good Virginia squad on the road. How
thorough was it? It was Virginia's worst loss ever at home. Six
different Duke players were in double figures. Three Cavs fouled out
trying to guard Duke. Duke went on a 19-0 run in the first half after
already leading by 5 to put the game away. The Devils led by as many as
40 over their former tormentors. Duke shot 60% (and 66% in the first
half) and was 7-11 from the three point line after struggling all year.

Let's focus on the last part first. After a season of nothing but
struggles, Krista Gingrich came out and scored 17 points on 5-7 shooting,
including 4-5 from three. She also had 2 assists and 0 turnovers. After
playing like she had been in a fog all year, Krista came out and proved
that she's still a good player who can contribute a lot to this team.
Duke needs ballhandling, leadership and shooting, and she provided all
three. She will need to prove that she can do this on a game-to-game
basis, but this game will go a long way in reestablishing her leadership
on this team.

Speaking of leadership, this was the best game Sheana Mosch has played
in a while. Her 15 points were a solid showing, but more impressive were
her 7 rebounds--3 offensive. The team is at a point where with only 8
players, everyone is needed. Everyone has to step up, and each player
will have that opportunity. The distribution of minutes was great--no
one played less than 18 minutes and no one played more than 30. That
won't be true for every game, but it may not be far off, either.

For a second straight game, the Vicki Krapohl experiment at point
worked very well. Vicki hit a three, grabbed a couple of boards, had 4
assists and only 1 turnover and had 2 steals. Basically, if she has this
line in every game she'll be doing her job well. Letting Alana go back
to wing and create rather than half to worry about setting everyone else
up has made her more productive. Letting her create also sets up easy
baskets for others--she had 9 assists.

Everyone played well, which is the first time all year you can say
that. (Virginia coach Debbie Ryan joked that she wished White and Craig
were still around, because maybe Duke would have put someone out there
that they could guard.) Whitley was solid in the post and shot well from
the line, though she turned it over too much. Tillis was her usual self,
hitting from all over the floor but still picking up 6 boards.
Matyasovsky was 3-3 from the floor. Currie had a double-double with 14
points and 10 rebounds. Every player contributed, and one hopes that
this "all-for-one" attitude will carry over to the rest of the season.

Virginia is a very good young team that was not ready to compete at
Duke's level. But they will win some games in the ACC this year, and
they are certainly at a level similar to South Carolina or Toledo. Duke
could have easily lost this game if they hadn't come in with the level of
intensity that they brought.

Interesting stats: Virginia missed 40 shots but had 17 offensive
rebounds. Duke missed 27 shots but had 18 offensive rebounds. The Cavs
only had 11 defensive rebounds as Duke dominated this category. Every
player but one had an assist for Duke. Beard was 9-10 from the field and
hit her first three of the year.

Duke next plays against a Georgetown team that just upset top-25 George
Washington on Saturday the 8th. Duke will need to refocus after a big
win and give the Hoyas the respect they deserve.