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Duke Mangles Carolina

Duke 102, UNC 82. January 24, 2002. Cameron Indoor Stadium
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In the Gail Goestenkors era, Duke has had some success against UNC. After
losing 6 of her first 7 games against Sylvia Hatchell's club, she has since
gone 9-6. But one thing was common to her wins: her team won because they
executed better and were more disciplined. UNC was always tougher, more
physical and much more athletic. But in this game, Duke won because they
were tougher, quicker and stronger than the Heels. Coach G has admitted
that one of the reasons they bring in guys to practice against the team
is toughen them up for the Carolina game. In fact, she instructed the men
the last couple of practices to use every dirty trick they knew of to
pound on her team. While it made her players mad, Coach G correctly noted
that they would thank her for it later. Truer words were never spoken,
as the Devils calmly stood up to UNC's physical style. But the shocking
thing about this game was that the Devils simply ran the Heels out of
the gym. Not just in transition (where they enjoyed a 12-4 edge), but in
the halfcourt as well. In particular, the Heels seemed to have no idea
what to do with Monique Currie, a player quick enough to drive past the
ultra-quick UNC team and strong enough to laugh off contact. Mo burned
UNC from outside, off the dribble and in the post.

Alana Beard also quite obviously had a monster game, continuing to
cement her credentials as the ACC's best player and a potential Kodak
All-American. But it was Michele Matyasovsky's performance that summed
up what this team is all about: unselfish, hard-nosed play. While her
game impact has been variable this year, she knew she had to step up in
this game and she did, almost notching a double-double and battling inside.
With Wynter Whitley struggling and Iciss Tillis in foul trouble, Michele
came through. As the players were noting afterward, any player can be
a star on this team, depending on circumstances. Duke's bench played 69
minutes, scored 26 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and had 6 assists and 4
steals. The "Elite Eight" are really a team with eight starters and a
tremendous amount of maturity. In a game where Carolina had all the
motivation in the world to play hard (to fight their way back into the
ACC race), it was Duke that came out with intensity at both ends of the

Teasley did not start this game, possibly as a continuation of her
punishment after being suspended for "unsportsmanlike conduct" following
an 18-point loss to Georgia Tech. She had also mentioned liking coming
off the bench sometimes, feeling she was more effective. So the Heels went
with frosh forward Nikki Bell, who wound up playing all of ten minutes.
UNC took a brief lead on a free throw after superb point guard Coretta Brown
blew by Vicki Krapohl. Currie passed to a cutting Beard for a basket,
and Duke never trailed again. A couple of missed Heel jumpers led to Beard
rebounds, and Duke took advantage when Krapohl passed to Iciss Tillis on
the wing, who was wide open for a three. Star frosh Leah Metcalf countered
with a drive of her own, but Krapohl passed to Currie near the basket,
who used a fadeaway to score. With just a couple of minutes gone by, Duke
led 7-3 in a game that had no real rhythm.

Teasley entered three minutes into the game, but missed her first shot.
Currie blew a layup in transition, but Matyasovsky blocked a Chrystal
Baptist shot and Tillis wound up with the rebound. Iciss drove and passed
to Mattie, who responded by nailing a 15' jumper. Whenever she hits her
first shot, she seems to get more confident. The next three minutes of
play were somewhat ragged as UNC started to pile up fouls and Currie &
Tillis took advantage. Duke blew another transition basket when Sheana Mosch
missed a tough shot, looking for a foul. A turnover by Krista Gingrich
led to an easy Baptist basket thanks to a great Teasley assist. With
thirteen minutes to go in the half, Duke led 12-9.

Duke was getting almost nothing inside, and so went to Tillis in an
effort to fix that. Iciss immediately posted up and hit a smooth turnaround
jumper in the lane, but UNC penetrated again for another easy Baptist
hoop. Beard hit the offensive boards for a stickback and then Matyasovsky
went to work on the boards. She rebounded a Teasley miss and gave the
ball up to Gingrich. Mosch then drove and passed it back out to Krista,
who nailed a three. Mattie then grabbed another rebound, and this time
Krista passed to Alana, who pulled up for another three. Duke was using
UNC's favorite mode of attack and pushed their lead to 22-11. UNC used
a couple of offensive boards to score after Bell had had her first attempt
erased by Currie.

Alana stole a UNC rebound and was immediately fouled, making both shots.
Currie made one of her few mistakes in turning the ball over, but the Heels
missed yet another three. A UNC basket was matched by a Currie postup
to keep the lead in double-digits. With seven minutes to go in the half,
the Heels cut the lead to 28-19, thanks to Teasley's one and only field
goal of the game. But Mo stormed back with a wacky, acrobatic layup
and then hit a 19' jumper on a Mosch feed. She ended her mini-run by
sticking back a Mosch miss to give the Devils a 15-point lead and force
a time-out. Coretta Brown then stuck a long three, one of UNC's few easy
attempts in the game.

Then came a "did you see that?" moment for Duke. Teasley had the ball
and pulled up for one of those long threes of hers. She had been nailing
shots effortlessly in warm-ups, and was looking to heat up in the game.
But to her great surprise, Beard leapt up, blocked her shot, and recovered
it. Teasley had to foul her to prevent a runout, but she looked shaken
the rest of the game. A couple of Currie free throws on a UNC "over-the-
back" call gave Duke a 14 point lead, but an off-balance, acrobatic three
point play by Kenya McBee cut Duke's lead to 11. Another crazy Currie
drive resulted in a basket, but Heels made it 41-30 with over three minutes
left. It was Alana Time.

First she got fouled on her way to the basket and hit both shots. After
a Mosch steal, Alana then drove and dished to Krapohl, who sank a three
that brought the crowd to its feet. Then she grabbed her own board after
having it blocked by Sutton, posted her up, and sank a turnaround jumper.
A Gingrich steal put the ball back in the hands of Beard, who ran a perfect
break, finding Mosch as her target. Sutton finally scored on a putback
to stop a 10-0 run, but Beard rebounded her three point play foul shot.
Duke ran some clock until finally Beard drove the lane and passed back to
Krapohl, who hit another gigantic three. The Devils went into the half
with a stunning 54-32 lead.

The most stunning stat for Duke in the first half was their 13-2
advantage in points off turnovers. The Heels commit 18 a game, so it
wasn't surprising that a little Duke pressure could turn them over. What
was surprising was that Duke only committed 5 turnovers of their own in
the first half, especially since the Heels force 23 a game. Hatchell did
not dare press Duke, because she knew what their fast break was capable
of. Her team had no answer for Currie and her 15 points, and Beard still
got 14 despite having an average shooting night. Duke had some foul
concerns in the frontcourt, with Whitley, Currie and Tillis all picking
up 2.

I was curious to see how the teams would come out in the second half.
Would Duke be complacent and let the Heels back into it right away? Would
the Heels play with more focus and intensity? The answer to both questions
was "no." Beard came right out and drove in for a layup. Sutton missed
3 shots, turned the ball over once and fouled in the half's first three
minutes. Tillis turned a rebound into a transition basket for Currie with
one great pass. Beard then drove by Teasley and got fouled, making both
shots. Tillis grabbed a Beard miss, missed the layup, got her own rebound,
and stuck it in. The Devils had rattled off 8 straight points to start
the half to push their lead to 30.

The Heels struck back at last with 6 straight points, but Krapohl found
Beard for a 17' jumper. Things started to get rough and sloppy at this
point, with 4 fouls from Duke in the next couple of minutes. Beard picked
Metcalf clean to put Duke up 66-42 with fifteen minutes left, but Teasley
was driving and got to the line to sink a pair. Duke then went on a 6-0
run fueled by a nice Matyasovsky hook shot over Sutton, a Mosch steal and
runout, and a couple of Beard foul shots. The lead was back up to 28
with thirteen minutes left, but the Heels were playing much more aggressively.

A UNC layup was then trumped by Gingrich finding Beard on the wing for
three, and 2 Bell free throws were one-upped by Krapohl driving and passing
to Tillis for a trey. The Devils now had a 30 point lead with twelve minutes
left, but went cold for nearly six minutes. Duke didn't help their cause
any when Currie and Matyasovsky both missed the front of one-and-ones, but
the Heels were having trouble scoring as well, only cutting the lead to
78-51 before Mosch hit a couple of freebies. The Heels ran off 5 straight
before Currie passed to Krapohl on the wing for a three that made Duke's
lead 83-56 with just under ten minutes left.

The Heels were in foul trouble and decided to see if Duke would beat them
from behind the arc by going to a straight-up 2-3 zone. It worked for a
while, with Krapohl, Tillis, Gingrich and Beard missing threes. Meanwhile,
the Heels went straight at the basket, drawing foul after foul and hitting
layups. In four minutes, they ran off ten straight points to cut the lead
to 17. But the senior Gingrich stepped up and sank a momentum-shifting
three, finally bringing the Heels out of their zone. Two consecutive
Matyasovsky jumpers, the second coming off a big offensive rebound, restored
the lead to 20 with four minutes left.

Carolina had one last big push left in them, holding Duke scoreless for
a minute and a half but only managing to score 6 points. Beard and Currie
took over again to put them away, outscoring the Heels 10-6 down the
stretch. Alana had a layup, a steal and runout (what the team calls a
"blatant steal"). Monique had a turnaround jumper and a spectacular
three point play, while Mosch had a transition basket. In the end, the
Heels were only able to get as close as 14, while Duke ran off enough time
to eliminate the threat. Coach G noted that her players got a bit impatient
in the second half, trying to score off the first pass instead of patiently
working the ball around. Carolina took advantage and exploited the drive,
which Duke didn't adjust to stop. Still, the Devils were incredibly
efficient and passionate for most of the game, dealing the Heels an early
knockout blow. The other thing to note about this game is how well the
bench played. In the first half, when Alana sat down for a few minutes,
the team didn't skip a beat as Monique became the default go-to player.
When Tillis fouled out with five minutes to go, Mattie simply stepped up
her level of play several notches, and Duke did just fine. Gingrich and
Krapohl were virtually interchangable throughout.

This game put Duke three games ahead of their nearest competitor, which
happens to be Georgia Tech, surprisingly enough. Conveniently, they
happen to be Duke's next home opponent, so this will be a key game for both
teams. The Devils are on the road for three of their next four games,
another key stretch for the team. But Duke's overall effort in this game
should be savored for a moment. Perhaps the best thing about it is that as
Alana put it, Duke played hard because they play hard every day--she didn't
bring anything extra to this game, because she always goes all-out. Spoken
like a winner!

** Negatives:

1. Fouls. Granted, this was a physical game and it was important that
Duke stand up to UNC's physical play. But in the second half, Duke
was committing some dumb fouls that were stopping the clock and sending
the Heels to the line.

2. Boxing out. UNC is not a good rebounding team in general, but Duke
gave up 16 offensive rebounds to them. The Heels made the most of it,
scoring 14 second-chance points.

** Positives:

1. Valuing the ball. Duke was incredibly sharp with the ball, making
great passes and not forcing things while remaining aggressive. As Coach
G pointed out, Duke made 4 or 5 passes on many of their possessions,
waiting until the right shot opened up.

2. Perimeter defense. Carolina is one of the best three-point shooting
teams in the league, and the Devils shut them down cold (2-14). It
got to the point where the Heels stopped taking outside jumpers.

3. Unselfishness. While Duke's one-on-one ability was important at
various times during the game, it was their passing that really won it.
Gingrich and Krapohl combined for 8 assists and then combined for 5
three pointers when UNC collapsed inside.


** Whitley: Wynter was struggling early on, allowing 3 straight offensive
rebounds. The taller Candace Sutton intimidated her a bit inside and
as a result she was 0-3 from the field. One miss came after she rebounded
her own shot, and the other was on a drive to the basket that went
nowhere. She did come back and play good defense inside, battling Baptist
very effectively. As a frosh, I think she's hitting the proverbial wall
a bit and just needs to recharge her batteries. A breakout game against
FSU would be just what the doctor ordered for her confidence.

** Tillis: Iciss certainly had her moments, but was severely hampered
by foul trouble in the second half before being disqualified. Despite
playing just 23 minutes and shooting 4-12, she still had 12 points,
8 rebounds and 2 assists. More important than any of that was her
incredible defense on 6-6 Candace Sutton. Sutton used her footwork,
quickness and size last year to abuse Tillis twice. Iciss clearly
remembered this, because she played one of the best defensive games of
her career against her. The key was moving her feet--Iciss is much quicker
and more graceful than Sutton, and her improved defensive positioning
enabled her to use her long arms to hamper the tall Heel. Sutton shot
just 2-8 in the first half, and this is almost entirely attributable
to Iciss' defense. Even with foul trouble, she was able to get her rebounds
in. Iciss didn't dominate because of those fouls, but she did plenty to
hurt the Heels.

** Beard: The best thing about Alana's performance, and perhaps her
game in general, is that she lets the game come to her. She was just 4-9
from the field in the first half, but didn't force her shots. Beard
scored just in point in a 9-minute span in the first, but concentrated
on defending Teasley (1-4 in the half), rebounding (5) and playmaking
(3 assists). She was the dominant player late in the first half when
Duke took complete control of the agme, scoring 4 points but getting
those 3 assists. When UNC paid more attention to Currie in the second
half, Beard simply took over, scoring 8 points in the first four minutes
of the second half. Her block on Teasley was the stuff of legends, but
while Alana suffocated her on defense and made sure to find her whenever
she was on the court, it really was just another matchup for her. Another
key play for Alana came late in the second half. The Heels had pulled to
within 90-76 with two minutes left, and Coach G decided to call a time-out.
Duke ran their "Back Black" lob play that places the ball beyond the
reach of the defenders trying to steal the inbounds pass, and Alana caught
it and scored. That ended the run, and Duke was in complete control
down the stretch. Beard really did a little of everything in this game:
hitting jumpers, stretching out on drives, forcing steals, hitting free
throws and even blocking a shot. One of her nicknames is "Inspector
Gadget" because of her long arms, and she displayed that on one drive.
She drove all the way against two defenders, and then extended her left
arm (with the ball) out at a right angle from her body to avoid the
shotblocker, and flipped it in.

** Currie: Monique's supreme confidence in her own ability made her nearly
unguardable for portions of the first half. There was no hesitancy in
her moves, whether she was taking fadeaway jumpers or attacking the basket.
My favorite play of hers in the game, however, demonstrated that she's
a very savvy player as well. UNC often used a stack formation on
inbounds plays, where the players would line up perpendicular to the
baseline and someone would pop out. The Duke players would line up
between them, with the result looking like a scrum. UNC loves to use this
play because it's hard for the refs to see some of the jostling and
elbowing, and they can often get an advantage on inbounds plays with it.
On one exchance, Currie saw that Teasley was being extra aggressive in
trying to get position, but she stood her ground because she knew what
was coming next. Bam! Out flew a Teasley elbow into Mo's chest, and she
sold the call by flying back. The refs called a foul, Teasley was
furious that she had cost her team a possession, and Currie calmly went
to the foul line and hit both shots. About the only thing she did wrong
was dribble into traffic with no particular plan a couple of times,
getting the ball stripped. Mo also intimidated with a couple of strong
blocked shots.

** Krapohl: Another flawless game for Duke's ultimate know-your-role
player. Vicki's mission is to not make mistakes, hit open jumpers, harrass
on defense and make sharp passes. In this game: mission accomplished.
Not only was she solid in this game, but her 2 threes at the end of the
half severely deflated Carolina's hopes, while her third three halted
a 12-0 UNC run. Vicki also took a huge charge that stopped a UNC run.
A 9-point, 6 assist game proved that she can compete with anyone in the
ACC. She is by far the most improved player on the team. Vicki is also
involved with my favorite pre-game moment. Right before Duke huddles up
before tip-off, Alana holds her hand up as high as it will go (and that's
pretty high because of her tremendous wingspan). Vicki then leaps up
to high-five her, and it takes every inch of her vertical to do it! At 5-4,
she's definitely a team and fan favorite.

** Matyasovsky: One of her best games of the year, and one of her finest
rebounding games ever. She pulled down 5 boards in the first few minutes
of the game, using good quickness and positioning to do so. Her jumper
was definitely on, hitting several medium range shots available in the
seams of Carolina's zone. Mattie also hit a nice hook in the lane, showing
off her versatility. She has struggled at times on offense this year,
but her performance at both ends at a time when the team really needed her
was stirring. Michele also deftly avoided picking up a fifth foul late
in the game when Duke had no other post players to go to.

** Mosch: The Heel-killer didn't have a performance matching what she did
last year, but she was still quite instrumental in winning the game. This
was because she helped run the Heels to death. She missed some layups in
the first half, but finished nicely in the second. It was on defense where
Sheana was most effective, picking up 3 steals. One of them stopped a
UNC fast break, and another was a strip of a player going up in the post.
She had 3 nice assists after drives and also picked up a solid 4 rebounds
off the bench. I really can't say enough about her maturity, coming off
the bench as a team co-captain. I still think she has a couple of 30-point+
explosions in her this year; hopefully they'll come when Duke needs them

** Gingrich: Krista played well, hitting a couple of key shots. The
biggest came when UNC had gone on a 12-0 second-half run and had pulled
within 17 with six minutes left. She spotted up from the wing and just
nailed the shot. Her defense was solid and her decision-making was good,
with the exception of a couple of errant passes. The best news was that
she was able to play for 18 full minutes, going at top speed, with no
apparent limping. She may not be completely healthy, but she's definitely
playing through it.

** Cameron Craziness: This was a tremendous crowd, and despite the men's
game being on TV at 9:00pm, there were still plenty of fans (nearly
7000, in fact). Better still, there were more students at this game than
at any contest I've seen so far. While UNC tends to bring a lot of fans,
there didn't seem to be nearly as many of them here this time around. The
Duke fans were loud and active for this one, chanting "Please don't hit
me" and "You're no Tyson" after a Nikki Teasley foul (referring to her
recent suspension). There was a hilarious sign that read "Teasley Ate My
Baby". Coach G waved to the crowd after the game, the fourth-largest
home crowd in Duke history. The team drew on them at various times for
energy, and Currie in particular seemed to respond.

** Next Game: Sunday, January 27th at Florida State. The 'noles beat Duke
in Durham last year and still have a tremendous amount of talent. They've
struggled in the league (at 2-6) but certainly have the ability to beat
Duke with their offensive capabilities.