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Duke Wraps Up Tour In Style

Duke defeated the defending WNBL champion Sydney Panthers
75-69 to close out their games in Australia. The win
squares their record at 2-2 against some top-notch competition. The
victory was all the more satisfying because Duke came from 10 deficit
heading into the fourth quarter to win. The Devils scored an amazing 30
points in the quarter, 13 from Alana Beard.

Alana was particularly devastating in this contest, scoring 31 points
and getting 8 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists and a block. She led the
defense, which was apparently key to getting the win. Duke put a lot of
pressure on (11 steals) and controlled the boards (46-42), two very
encouraging signs for the season. Less encouraging was the 1-10 mark
from three point range. That includes two of the team's best shooters,
Krista Gingrich and Vicki Krapohl, not scoring a single point, though I
obviously don't know how many shots they took.

Iciss Tillis also had a huge game, scoring 16 points and grabbing 7
rebounds, 5 steals and blocking a shot. Iciss had foul trouble
throughout much of her experience in Australia, but she certainly fought
through it and her production on the boards was especially inspiring.
Sheana Mosch also had another good game with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
she's also shown that she's committed herself to being a good rebounding
guard. This could be a much bigger strength for Duke this year than I
anticipated.

Rometra Craig had 8 points while Crystal White had 7. Michele
Matyasovsky had another disappointing game with only 2 points. Alana has
been saying all the right things, talking about how the team still has a
lot of work to do and mentioning how well her teammates played, and
desiring a family atmosphere for the team. But there's no question that
this is her team, and it will be up to her to keep everyone involved,
focused and on the same page. But it's encouraging to see her absolutely
take over a game, despite fatigue, and lead her team to victory.

It sounds like Mosch and Tillis are close to cementing their starting
roles for next year's team. Both put up very good numbers in every game,
though Iciss' scoring was erratic, probably because of foul trouble.
Crystal White also helped herself a lot and Matyasovsky didn't help
herself at all. Craig played well but will be strongly challenged by
Monique Currie. Hopefully Michele will be able to use this experience to
prepare for the season and make more of a consistent offensive
contribution.

More photos--check out Alana & her surfboard!