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Duke Tramples FSU

Duke 102, FSU 80. January 27, 2002. Leon County Civic Center.

| Box | Notes
| Chronicle
Coach G talked to her team about the need to come out strong on the road,
especially against weaker teams. Their opponents need to know that
beating Duke will be a struggle, even on their home turf. This was
doubly true against Florida State, a team that has struggled but that
has three superb scorers in Shinikki Whiting, Tasheika Morris and veteran
April Traylor. Duke needed to get into a steady scoring rhythm early on
that forced their opponents into rally mode.

To that end, Duke started the game in a full court press. The Devils
jumped out to a 3-0 lead on an Iciss Tillis three point play after a
Krapohl pass. Iciss stole the inbounds pass and dished it to Alana
Beard for an easy layup. Wynter Whitley stole the next inbounds pass and
found Monique Curry for a jumper. With less than a minute gone by,
Duke led 7-0 and FSU was forced to take a time-out. The 'noles rallied
a bit after a couple of Duke turnovers, pulling within 9-7 with 16:25
remaining. This is when Duke called in its bench, which went from doing
a solid job in the past few games to utterly dominating the opposition
in this one. Michele Matyasovsky and Krista Beard led an 8-0 run with
a couple of threes, while Beard hit a short jumper. The rest of the half
was an attempt by FSU to get the score below ten, and Duke answering
every threat. A team like FSU can't be stopped from scoring the whole
game, but their defense is porous. Duke had to be aggressive in transition
and had to be able to make some shots from the perimeter. The Devils
won because they did this the whole game.

What the bench did in this game deserves special mention. They scored
an astounding 51 points on 19-27 shooting, including 7-9 from three.
Mosch, Matyasovsky and Gingrich also combined for 10 rebounds, 11 assists,
4 steals and just 1 turnover. Considering that FSU did quite a bit of
pressing on their own in an effort to get back into the game, that last
figure is particularly noteworthy. In the first half alone, the bench
scored 33 of Duke's 57 points, only 5 fewer than the entire FSU team's
38 first half points. All of this was accomplished in 63 minutes of playing
time. It's tough to figure out exactly why this is happening, but
I'll hazard a few guesses. First of all, having three former starters
come off the bench would be an advantage for anyone. Second, it's quite
clear that everyone on the team is either happy with their role, or at
least is sucking it up without complaint. With the way this team is
clicking on offense, everyone is getting shots and opportunities to
score. Six of Duke's eight players were in double figures in this game.
So even though the bench isn't starting, they're getting starter's minutes.
But I think the biggest reason they're doing well is the way that Coach
G is using them. Instead of piecemeal substitutions when foul trouble
comes or starters get tired, Coach G has been sticking in all three subs
at once. They play like more of a cohesive unit that's out there to
attack the defense in different ways rather than simple backups. One
thing is clear: since the new semester started, Duke's bench has played
its best ball of the year. On a day when Alana Beard was in foul
trouble and not a huge factor on offense, Duke hardly batted an eye.

Back to the game narrative: FSU got the lead below 10 on a Whiting
basket, but Mattie hit back with a jumper on a Mosch assist. Duke slowly
built the lead up to 15 thanks to free throws and a rare Monique Currie
three. Her shot is slowly rounding into form as the year goes on, but
she's still at her best attacking the basket. Duke had a chance to
really blow the game wide open here, but missed several layups. Still,
FSU was only able to get it down to 10 with nine minutes to go in the
half. They had their chances to cut into the lead further, but missed
3 shots and committed a turnover. Mosch cut into their momentum by
hitting a three off a Beard feed. When Sheana takes and makes a three,
you know it's on, because she only does it when she's feeling "in the
zone." When she gets into that scoring groove, it's beautiful to watch,
because she just flows with the offense and every shot becomes makeable.

The bench scored 10 straight points in this period, starting with Mosch's
three. An FSU basket cutting the score to 11 was immediately answered
by Gingrich firing a pass to a streaking Mosch, who went up and got a
three point play. Matyasovsky got a steal, then rebounded a Beard miss
and stuck it back. Krista Gingrich answered a couple of FSU free throws
by nailing a three on a Mattie pass. With six minutes to go in the half,
Duke was cruising along at 33-18.

The next three minutes featured a torrent of scoring from both teams.
FSU scored 14 points, including a couple of threes. However, Duke also
scored 14 points, with Tillis scoring 4 and Mosch 5, including another
three point play. Gingrich hit a three and had a couple of assists,
finding Mosch in transition for one of them. This was FSU's best
offensive output of the game, and all it did was prevent them from
falling behind any further. Duke capitalized on that frustration when
Gingrich and Currie combined for 9 straight points, taking Duke's lead
out to 54-32 with two minutes to go. FSU committed two consecutive
offensive fouls and Gingrich & Currie made the most of it with their foul
shooting. Duke went cold in the last couple of minutes in the half
as FSU managed 6 points in a row. But Tillis passed to Mosch for her
third three point play of the half, giving the Devils a 19 point bulge
going into the half. That made for an amazing 15 points, many of them
coming at crucial moments.

The second half had three acts. The first act was the first three
minutes or so, when Duke pushed their lead into the 20's. Then came
a nearly four minute drought where the 'noles crept within 15 points.
Lastly, there was a nearly ten minute period where Duke relentlessly
ran FSU off the court, pushing the lead to 30, where only a late FSU
run made the score more respectable.

Mighty Iciss (as she's called on came out with a steal
and layup to set the tone for the half. Then she popped a jumper on
Duke's next possession to push the lead to 61-38. Another FSU turnover
led to a Currie basket. But after Mattie hit a shot to push the lead
to 65-42, Duke began their four minute scoring drought. To FSU's credit,
they came out with a press and rattled the Devils. Duke turned the ball
over 3 straight times and started to foul as well. The 'noles were also
suddenly dominating the boards, getting multiple offensive rebounds.
Despite all that, they were only able to generate an 8-0 run during
that period that left Duke leading by 15 with fourteen minutes remaining.

Beard broke the team out of its doldrums by stepping forward after
a foul-plagued game and scored 5 in a row, including a three. Vicki
Krapohl then followed suit to complete an 8-2 run that restored Duke's lead
to 21. Duke missed a few easy shots in a row, but their defense once
again held. Mosch and Currie took turns scoring over the next few minutes,
with Sheana twice zooming downcourt for transition baskets and Mo creating
her own shot. With nine minutes to go, Duke led 81-57.

The two teams basically traded punches for the next six minutes. Duke
outscored FSU 18-12 during this period, with Duke using its transition
game to punish the Seminoles. Beard threw a pass to Mosch for an
easy one, while Currie and Beard both scored early in possessions off
great passes. Mosch, Whitley and Gingrich all hit late threes, with Wynter
pushing Duke over 100 for the second game in a row. Duke had scored
32 points off turnovers and 12 via the fast break, and their bench outscored
FSU's (which used 11 players in all) 51-20. All-in-all, a strong win
that displayed Duke's growing maturity.