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Duke Dominates Virginia

Duke 86, Virginia 69. January 20, 2002. Cameron Indoor Stadium.

| Notes
| Herald-Sun | N&O

It's remarkable to consider that in a game against Virginia where Duke
only played well sporadically on defense and missed a number of easy
shots on offense, the Devils still won easily. It's even more shocking to
realize that Duke has won 9 of its last 10 against the Hoos, a program
that simply owned the Devils for years. And while Virginia is shockingly
young, starting 3 frosh in this game, they aren't a bad team. After some
early struggles against Richmond and Tulane and being blown out by Georgia
Tech, the Hoos have upset NC State in Raleigh (by 16 points!) and won at
Maryland. In fact, they were bidding to go above .500 in the ACC with a
win at Duke. But the fact of the matter is that Duke had 8 players who
adjusted well to Virginia's defensive game plan and exploited what it left
open to them. And all 8 played well at one end of the court or the other,
if not both.

What I had feared might happen in this game never came to pass. Duke
had been playing extremely well in the ACC, earning some huge road wins,
and had a week off before playing Virginia. Last year, Duke flopped
against FSU in Cameron under the same conditions. But Duke started the
game focused and intense, scrambling from the opening tip to get the
ball. Duke missed a couple of easy shots right at the beginning of the
game, but early offensive rebounds gave Duke some extra chances. Alana
Beard started things off with an offensive rebound and then Iciss Tillis
hit a beautiful hook in the lane. Pesky Vicki Krapohl grabbed an offensive
rebound and Tillis wound up spotting up for an 18' jumper. Tillis then
rewarded her by relocating a pass to her for a wide-open three that she
sank. With over two minutes gone by, Duke already had a 9-0 lead.
Virginia frosh Brandi Teamer, a leading candidate for ACC rookie of the
year, had a miss, a rebound and a foul.

Duke turned it over a couple of times and didn't score for nearly three
minutes, but Virginia could only muster 5 points in that time. Duke
opened things up a bit when Sheana Mosch hit Tillis in the corner for a
three. This came after Mosch had hustled to grab an offensive rebound. The
Devils had looked a bit hesitant to shoot for a few possessions, passing
the ball around and taking awkward shots or turning the ball over.
Tillis cured that problem rather quickly with her shot. Shooting
specialist Anna Crosswhite of UVa got open for a second time on
a high screen and hit another three to make the score 12-8 with six
minutes gone by, but the Hoos were having a number of problems getting
the ball inside.

Beard found the always-mobile Tillis inside on a cut, and a Teamer
turnover led to Monique Currie pulling up for a 15' jumper. This was the
first shot she had attempted all game, putting more pressure on the
Cavs. Teamer got Virginia within 16-10 with a short jumper, but a 7-0
Duke run gave them a bit of separation. It started with Currie finding
Tillis on a cut, with Iciss once again using her superior speed to blow
by opponents. The Hoos were in the midst of missing 6 straight shots and
Duke continued to make them pay, as Iciss again found Krapohl for a
wide-open three from the wing. Virginia simply wasn't covering her.
Mosch finished the run with a short jumper to give Duke a 23-10 lead with
ten minutes left in the half.

Duke again went cold for nearly four minutes, with 3 turnovers and 3
missed shots. Virginia could only muster a 5-0 run, built mostly on
offensive putbacks. The regular UVa offense was generating nothing.
Duke had to step up its offensive execution and use the dribble-drive
more effectively, and that's just what they did. Krista Gingrich drove
and found Beard for a layup while Mosch pulled up from 10' to restore
Duke's lead. Virginia pulled within 29-19 on Telisa Quarles' first three
of the game with about four minutes to go, but Duke was rearing up to
deliver a knockout blow.

Playing Currie for the drive, Mo simply pulled up from three point
range and let fly, burying her shot. Krapohl missed a three, but Currie
flew in to tap the rebound back to her, and Vicki took another open shot
and buried it this time. The game really turned when Quarles turned the
ball over and Duke got 2 offensive rebounds before Beard pulled up from
17' and sank a shot. Duke suddenly led 37-19. To Virginia's credit,
they didn't give up. Quarles got open for another three and then cut the
lead to 37-24. But Gingrich found Michele Matyasovsky on the wing for a
Duke three, blunting Virginia's momentum. The Devils carried a 40-26
lead into the half.

Considering that Duke went seven minutes without scoring in the half,
seeing them up by this much was a credit to the defense. Duke forced 9
turnovers and rebounded reasonably well, except for a period when
Virginia was scoring on offensive boards. Scoring was balanced, with
Tillis leading the way with 11. Beard shot poorly but was defending well
and grabbed 4 boards. Duke wasn't at its best but was still plenty good,
and Virginia seemed a bit stunned that their game plan hadn't rendered
Duke harmless.

Duke tried to get Wynter Whitley more involved in the offense in the
second half, and while she struggled to connect, she did have a couple of
big plays early on. First, she powered in and got fouled, hitting 1. Then
she hit a cutting Beard for an easy two. Monique Currie then picked up
a board and threw a bomb to Beard, who blew in for a layup. The Devils
were up 45-26 as Virginia had missed 6 shots in three minutes. Duke's
overall execution was much more consistent in the second half, rarely
going more than a minute without a score. As a result, the margin rarely
dipped below 20 until there were about three minutes left.

A Teamer basket was met by a Currie banker. A Quarles jumper was matched
by Beard dishing to Tillis for a turnaround jumper in the lane. That sparked
a 6-0 Duke run, with Gingrich finding Matyasovsy to cap it off. That gave
Duke a 53-30 lead with thirteen minutes to go. The Devils didn't stop
attacking. Two Teamer baskets sandwiched a crazy Tillis scoop shot, a
basket that had the Hoos shaking their heads. Virginia finally rattled off
a 5-0 run to get the lead under 20, but Mosch simply beat the Hoos downcourt
for a transition layup. Beard then posted up for a turnaround jumper on
the next possession to make it 59-40 with ten minutes to go.

Virginia kept fighting hard, going on a 7-2 run to pull within 61-44.
A three pointer from Anna Prillaman (normally a starter but sent to the
bench for breaking a team rule) and a three point play from massive
Lynette O'Reggio gave Virginia a temporary boost, but Duke simply
countered with an 8-2 run of their own. It was the Alana and Mo Show for
the next few minutes, as they relentlessly attacked the Hoos. Both
scored 4 points apiece during the run, half each on free throws and the
other half on assists from the other. They are a truly potent offensive
duo, one that will be very entertaining to watch for the next few years.
With seven minutes left, Gingrich hit Krapohl for another three, putting
Duke up 72-48. At this point, Virginia knew they had no chance to win
the game, but continued to play hard in order to get better. This is by
far the most coachable-looking Ryan team I've seen in some time; as this
group of frosh develops, Virginia will soon be back as a major league

A Currie foul sent Virginia to the foul line, and they once again managed
to pull within 20. Duke then traded baskets with them, with Gingrich
hitting a couple of spirit-crushing threes. Tillis and Beard came out of
the game with about three minutes to go, leaving Currie out there to do
her thing. She blew by Virginia's defenders for an athletic and graceful
drive to the basket, and did it again with about a minute left, getting a
three point play. Virginia hit a couple of late threes to bring the
final margin under 20, but there's no question that Duke was in complete
control the entire second half. Simply put, Virginia did not have the
talent to keep up with Duke's loaded roster. Teamer and Quarles are both
great players and did their best to keep their team in it, and Crosswhite
had one of the better games of her career, but it simply wasn't enough.
It didn't help that talented point guard LaTonya Blue had to play with
what looked like an oven mitt on her hand to protect an injury, but the
Hoos had no answer for Duke's bench. The Hoos actually had the edge in
bench scoring, but that's mostly because starter Jocelyn Logan-Friend
played just 4 minutes. While Virginia held Duke to just 8 fast break
points, they were punished by Duke's 24-12 advantage on second-chance
points and 20-11 margin on points off turnovers. Still, this is a pretty
good squad that I think will only get better this year, and has a chance
to get to postseason play--perhaps even the NCAA's if they go on a win

As for Duke, it was a game that displayed a surprising amount of
maturity for such a young team. Coach G has noted that the defections
this year were a blessing in disguise, because this group has pulled
together, with each player knowing not only that they will play, but that
they will be needed to play well. It's added a level of sharpness and
poise not often seen in recent years when Coach G has sent in reserves.
The team must continue to work on its defense, however, and continue to
improve on the boards.

** Negatives:

1. Perimeter defense. Virginia had many open looks at the basket from
three. They were manufacturing them using a series of clever screens, but
Duke needed to rotate over more quickly and break through screens. An
awkward player like Anna Crosswhite was given way too many good looks at
the basket, and her shooting ability is such that this is a huge mistake.
The dangerous Telisha Quarles had trouble penetrating, but also got several
open looks. Duke will really have to shore up in this area when it comes
to playing a perimeter-oriented team like UNC.

2. Fouling. This was especially true in the second half, when Duke was
simply putting Virginia at the line too many times. What's worse is that
many of them were three-point plays. No one was in any serious foul trouble,
but it was still a mental breakdown.

** Positives:

1. Rebounding. Duke didn't block out as well as they would have liked
(giving up 14 offensive boards), but the Devils were very active themselves
at both ends. Their 20 offensive boards came as a result of hustle and
quickness. Currie, Tillis and and Beard all had 4 or more offensive
rebounds. Even 5'4" Krapohl had 5 rebounds! Part of this was due to
Virginia not sending a lot of players to the boards in order to stop
Duke's transition game, but the Devils did most of it with hard work.

2. Offensive execution. Virginia dropped back quickly to stop Duke's
devastating transition game, which meant that there were often open three
point shots available. Duke did a good job in finding open shooters quickly,
and they made them pay. Duke's improved halfcourt execution is the single
biggest factor in their resurgence after their early-season problems. Duke
also kept their turnovers under control, with just 13 for the game.

3. Bench play. I want to single out the bench for their contributions not
just in this game, but in every game since Crystal White and Rometra Craig
left the program. And since Mosch went to the bench, there's been a great
level of calm brought to the court as Coach G will often sub in Mosch,
Matyasovsky and Gingrich in all at once--bringing in her most experienced
players. In this game, the bench scored 20 points, had 8 assists and 5
rebounds. They did particularly well in stopping Virginia runs with big
baskets. Most of all, they played 60 minutes, nearly a third of the game.


** Whitley: Wynter really struggled at the offensive end, missing short
jumpers, threes and layups. What's worse is that she worked very hard to
get in position for these shots. On the other hand, she was simply great
at the defensive end, holding Teamer in check for a half and blocking
3 shots. She also played the passing lanes well, coming up with 3
steals. Despite her difficulties on offense, Wynter has played a crucial
role in controlling other teams' post players. This was a huge concern
coming into the season, and she's simply done a great job. Her
rebounding has also picked up as of late, another area that needed
improvement. I'd love to see a breakout offensive game for her soon to
boost her confidence in that area.

** Tillis: Iciss was her usual statsheet-stuffing self, again frustrating
a team with her incredible offensive versatility. She's truly proven herself
both as a consistent offensive performer (15.4 ppg is #5 in the ACC) and
rebounder (8.4 rpg is #3 in the ACC). Her decision-making and shot selection
are still erratic at times, but the fact remains that she's a risk-taker.
Sometimes the risks pay off, and sometimes they don't. But when they do,
you get things like that ridiculous scoop shot she made on the break that
stunned the crowd. But the reason she's become great is that she's
learned the difference between good and bad shots. Her jumpers in the
lane are nearly impossible to stop, and her ability to pull up from just
inside the three point line at the top of the key makes her very hard to
guard. Her three is falling with regularity and she's still great on the
break, but her best moves have been her turnaround jumper in the lane and
her hook shot. She does rely on her quickness too often at times, and
I'd love to see her continue to get stronger. But I'm amazed at her
progress this year--at this point, there's no question that she's a first
team All-ACC performer.

** Beard: An average day by Beard's standards, but a great one nonetheless.
18 points, 8 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals in just 28 minutes are pretty
much what she averages at this point. She came out after she was whacked
in the forehead with an elbow, and it looked like it was right at her
stiches. Good thing she was still wearing her headband, but she did look
a bit woozy after that. Alana was shockingly only 3-9 from the field in
the first half, missing a couple of easy layups, but she recovered with
a 4-5 second half. She stopped taking jumpers and instead started
posting up smaller defenders. Her quickness in getting to the post and
ability to get off her turnaround jumper make her tough to spot in the
paint, unless the other team has a top-notch shotblocker. I guess the
reason why she looked a bit ragged here is that she never settled into an
"Alana groove", where she would scored 6 or 8 points in a couple of
minutes. Such moments are awesome to watch, like the 25 points she
dropped on Maryland in the first half of that game. Also, Coach G has
changed the defense such that Alana no longer puts as much pressure on
the ballhandler to get steals, preferring instead to spring halfcourt
traps with Alana leading the charge. Beard is also one of the team's
most vocal players on defense, yelling as she's covering someone.
Defending Nikki Teasley this week will be one of the biggest challenges
of her career. She'll have to rely more on her smarts than her quicks,
because Teasley is every bit as athletic as she is.

** Currie: Mo was pretty quiet in the first half, just taking a couple of
jumpers and getting an assist. She worked hard on the boards and on
defense, but didn't seem to want to shoot. That all changed in the second
half, when she went crazy offensively. Currie attacked UVa off the dribble
whenever she had the ball, and they simply couldn't stop her. She was
absolutely relentless on the offensive boards and was one of the few Duke
players who was going to the free throw line. Mo really is a new kind of
player at Duke. While the Devils have had quick players before, they
haven't had someone who combined athleticism with incredible strength.
As Mo continues to go through Duke's weight-training program, she could
become unstoppable driving to the basket ala Jason Williams. And she
meshes perfectly with Beard, taking advantage of her playmaking and the
fact that defenses will double down on her. Monique needs to continue to
work on her ballhandling and decision-making as she expands her skill
set. She's already a good passer (averaging 2 assists per game), but at
this point, her concentration is on penetrating and rebounding. And
she's doing quite well at both.

** Krapohl: The Hoos were sagging off Vicki the entire first half, and
she made them pay each time. She's a good shooter, and when given the
amount of room that she had by Virginia, she's going to knock down her
shots. More importantly, Vicki did a nice job with the ball, only making
one mistake that resulted in a turnover. This is a great example of a
player knowing their role and executing it well. There were no assists
for Vicki in this game, but with Virginia isolating her, that's no
surprise. She's shooting an obscene 54% from three this year (27-50) and
has taken more attempts than anyone else. The team as a whole is
shooting over 40% from three, and this is without a pure shooter in the
bunch. Every player has hit at least one from long range, and four
players are shooting over 42% (Gingrich, Beard, Tillis & Krapohl). Only
about a fifth of Duke's shots are from three, but they've demonstrated
that they can use this as a weapon when necessary.

** Mosch: Sheana's numbers look modest--7 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists--
but she hit some big shots for Duke. The Hoos conceded her the jumper,
and she made them pay twice with a baseline 15' shot and a driving 10'
jumper that she popped. In the second half, she stayed aggressive and
drove the length of the court for a basket. This broke up a Virginia run
rather quickly. I like her coming off the bench if for no other reason
than her playing more aggressively. With players like Beard and Tillis
in the lineup, she's sometimes been reluctant to call her own number when
she has the ball. But coming into the game for Currie or Beard, she's
needed a bit more to produce. And she's still getting plenty of playing
time, notching 23 minutes against Virginia. Both her rebounding and
playmaking have been solid of late, but she could still step up a bit
more on offense.

** Matyasovsky: It was nice to see Mattie show off her shooting touch.
She sank a three late in the first half that gave Duke back the momentum,
and hit a couple of long jumpers in the second half to further frustrate
Virginia. This was a highly efficient game for Michele, hitting 3 of 4
from the field, picking up a couple of boards and committing no
turnovers. Her only problem--and this has become a trend--is with
fouls. There are times when she's overmatched as a post player and has
to foul to prevent being beaten. But Duke doesn't really have many other
options at this point, so she's taking her lumps like a good solider, and
providing a spark wherever possible.

** Gingrich: With a week off to rest her leg, Krista looked much more
refreshed and agile than in recent games. She took a couple of
off-balanced jumpers in the lane with the shot clock running down, but
helped put UVa away with some threes toward the end of the game.
Incidentally, Krista is now tied for #6 all-time at Duke in threes with
Kris Meiman and Naz Medhanie. Her shooting aside, Krista looks more and
more comfortable as a point guard, finding Matyasovsky, Krapohl and Beard
for baskets. She's still a step slow on defense, but her presence as
Duke's eighth player has made a big impact on the health of this
team--physical and mental.

** Cameron Craziness: The crowd of 6023 tied for sixth all-time in Duke
women's history at home, with a number of visiting high school teams and
Girl Scout troops ensuring a good turnout. The crowd was reasonably loud
and supportive considering the one-sidedness of the game, thrilling to
spectacular plays by Tillis and Currie. Before the game, Coach G and former
coach Debbie Leonard honored Virginia coach Debbie Ryan with a special
plaque commemorating her 25th year at Virginia. Duke also did this last
year with NCSU coach Kay Yow, and shows the level of comaraderie that
exists among some of the ACC's coaches. During halftime, the first five
inductees for the Duke Women's Hall of Honor were introduced. They
included Sue Harnett, Chris Moreland, Katie Meier (coaching her Charlotte
team to a win over ECU) and WNBA teammates Georgia Schweitzer and Michele
Van Gorp. Also in attendance today were Hilary Howard, Lauren Rice and
Rochelle Parent--stalwarts all. Hibby had been playing in Sweden but just
hurt her leg and may quit hoops and go to law school.

** Next Game: This is the Big One, folks. Duke vs UNC, the most fierce
rivalry in the conference. Two teams that always play intense basketball
regardless of their records. The Heels desperately need a win in this
game, because they lost to Wake Forest on Monday night and are now 3 games
behind Duke in the standings. They didn't have Nikki Teasley's services
in that game, suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct after losing to a
suddenly-potent Georgia Tech squad. But she'll be back on Thursday night
at 7:00 in Cameron, and she's always played well against Duke. Who can
forget her amazing performance in the 2000 ACC finals? With big-time
scorers like Coretta Brown and Leah Metcalf at her side and a capable
center in Candace Sutton (who abused Tillis last year) in the middle, the
Heels will be going all-out for a victory in Cameron. Don't miss this one.