Duke 81, Clemson 58. January 10, 2002. Littlejohn Coliseum.
In an arena where Duke has lost five of their last seven games, the
Devils won by their largest-ever margin of victory in Littlejohn. Duke's
"Elite Eight" all made significant contributions to the win. Five
players scored 8 or more points. Five players had 7 or greater
rebounds. Three players had 5 or more assists. The team as a whole shot
54% for the game and still found time to gather 14 offensive rebounds.
In turn, they limited Clemson to 6 offensive rebounds and 24 for the
game. As a team, Duke is nearly +8 on rebounding margin for the year
despite being rather thin in the post.
The game started out with a 7-0 Clemson run, and visions of last year's
blowout loss to the Tigers had to be dancing through Coach G's head.
Even worse, 2 Duke turnovers in the game's first two minutes helped set
up the run. The Tigers had to be feeling good about it since it was
sparked by Marci Glenney, who had been underachieving up to this point in
the year. But Duke then did an amazing thing: they held Clemson without
a basket from the 17:51 mark of the first half to the 8:17 mark--over
nine minutes! In the interim, Duke scored 22 points to take control of
There was a lineup change in the game, with Monique Currie starting in
place of Sheana Mosch. There's no question that Currie has been playing
better than Mosch of late, though it is a bit strange to see the starting
lineup consist of three sophs and two frosh--with 2 juniors and a senior
coming off the bench! To their credit, the bench made some big
contributions, combining for 13 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists and 2
Back to the game: Wynter Whitley started Duke's scoring with a jumper
on a Tillis feed, getting fouled on the attempt. She missed the free
throw but Tillis got the offensive board and passed to Currie for a
basket. Vicki Krapohl then dished to Wynter in the lane, where she
posted up for a basket. Duke was going inside first, trying to take
advantage of an unusually soft Clemson post game. With Erin Batth's
departure, the Tigers have had trouble getting someone to step up.
Still, Clemson had played well recently, winning 6 of 7 and beating teams
like Penn State, FSU, Miami (OH) and Virginia.
Krapohl dished to Tillis for a three, which gave Duke their first lead
with fifteen minutes left in the half. Alana Beard then got a steal and
runout to increase it, and followed that with another one a few plays
later. Both came off Glenney, who was benched for the entire second
half. With Clemson backing off Duke a bit and protecting the post, Duke
went to work on the perimeter. Beard hit a three on a Gingrich pass and
then Michele Matyasovsky found Mosch for a short jumper. The bench was
making an immediate impact. Baskets by Beard and Whitley pushed the lead
up to 22-7.
Clemson finally scored on a foul shot and started a 5-2 mini-run. A
pushing foul after a missed shot on Currie gave Clemson another couple of
shots from the line. But the Tigers missed their next 4 shots, while
Tillis and Beard both hit jumpers to put Duke up 28-12 with four minutes
to go in the half. Clemson missed a couple of front ends on
one-and-ones, and Duke made them pay each time. In the last couple of
minutes of the half, Tiger star Chrissy Floyd emerged from her game-long
slumber to hit a three and spark a 10-5 run. Back-to-back turnovers from
Gingrich didn't help matters any either. Krapohl hit a huge three with
17 seconds left in the half that was answered by a layup at the buzzer.
Clemson had made a run but blew several free throws, which could have
made the halftime lead single-digits. Instead, Duke had a working margin
and they were ready to add to it.
Duke started the half on an 8-0 run, giving them complete control of the
game. The Devils made the run with good ol'-fashioned rebounding,
grabbing 5 in the first three minutes of the half. Scoring machine
Currie had 6 of the 8 points. Duke led 47-29 with fifteen minutes left
in the game when they went on a 10-0 run that shut the door on the
Tigers. Two Clemson turnovers during the run led to back to back threes
from Beard and Matyasovsky. Duke's lead never dipped below 21 the rest
of the way, and it got as big as 74-43 with six minutes left. About the
only flaw Duke had was turning the ball over too many times (22). Some
of these came right after Duke steals, and Clemson did take advantage,
outscoring Duke on points off turnovers 26-18. But this key, glorious
stat showed why Duke won: Points in the Paint--Duke 40, Clemson 22. Five
years ago, that figure would have been unthinkable.
Next up for Duke is one of their biggest games of the year: the annual
rumble with State in Raleigh. This one's on Sunday the 13th on Fox
Sports Net at 6:00pm. The Wolfpack Women have struggled at times this
year, losing 5 out of 6 at one point (including a 16-point thrashing by
Virginia). But the Pack just went to Chapel Hill and upset the Heels
behind an extremely strong inside attack. The good news for Duke is that
the Pack use an even shorter bench than Duke's, so that won't be a
factor. State is always fired up for this game, and it should be a good one.