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A Take on ACC Rookie of the Year

My pal IcissFan from the DBR boards wrote a thoughtful analysis of this
year's ACC Rookie of the Year race. Take it away, IF!

We're just a bit past the halfway point for this year's ACC women's
bball season, it's as good a time as any to look at the ACC's rookie of
the year race. Much earlier in the season, the snap shot showed it to be
a 2 woman race with UNC's Leah Metcalf (pre-season ROY) vs Duke's own
Monique Currie. There were several players, with UVA's Brandi Teamer
among them in a second tier of contenders. That situation has now

Currie has continued her consistently strong play, maintaining a stong
offense while improving her defensive effort. Metcalf endured a bit of a
shooting slump, but has maintained her game in all other areas. In fact,
along with Coretta Brown she remains as one of the most consistent
performers on this year's Tar Heels. The mid-season surprise, however is
the outstanding all-around play of UVA's freshman Brandi Teamer. Teamer is
the strongest of a very nice freshman class Debbie Ryan assembled at UVA
this year. The frosh are combining with the few remaining veterans to give
UVA a good run at a winning conference season, higher than most picked for
them pre-season following the departure of all-everything Schuye LaRue to
the pro leagues of Europe.

Back to ACC ROY: While Monique Currie maintains herself as the most
consistent front-runner for this honor, Brandi Teamer is putting up some
very strong numbers as well. At this point, these two are very, very close
to dead even in this race. Metcalf, though no slouch is currently sitting
on top of a strong second tier of talented frosh, which also includes
Virginia's LaTonya Blue (currently hampered by a broken bone in her hand).
While the only other rookies appearing in the top 10 in any ACC statistical
category are Virginia's Jocelyn Logan-Friend and Lynette O'Reggio, Duke's
own Wynter Whitley is making a strong case as a 1st team all-ACC rookie
through her tough post defense, which is absolutely essential for Duke to
be successful this season.

Currie and Teamer's overall stats are so close, I say that currently
they are too close to call. Take a look at their stats in all games to

Player- MPG / PPG / RPG / FG% / FT% / Assist / A/TO / Bl / St

TEAMER--30.7 / 15.2 / 9.1 / 46.7% / 60.4% / 26 / 0.33 / 13 / 25

CURRIE--26.3 / 15.1 / 5.7 / 50.9% / 75% / 39 / 0.8 / 13 / 30

Further, here's their stats in their first and second head-to-head
matchups of the year:


TEAMER- 16.0 / 8 / 5 / 60% / 50% / 0 / 0/5 / 0 / 1

CURRIE- 23.0 / 14 / 10 / 60% / 40% / 1 / 1/2 / 0 / 1


TEAMER- 36.0 / 20 / 10 / 47% / 60% / 0 / 0/3 / 0 / 0

CURRIE- 32.0 / 18 / 10 / 60% / 71% / 3 / 3/3 / 0 / 2

I think this race warrants one of those "really good discussions" we
basketball fans love so much to have. On the one hand, we've got a rookie
post player (Teamer) starting all season on a team that is seriously
re-grouping from a disappointing couple of seasons and the loss of their
star. On the other hand, Duke has the rookie wing player (Currie) playing
on the conference-leading team alongside last year's National Rookie of the
Year. The matchup goes pretty much as you would expect between an
excellent post vs excellent wing player, except for one category - Field
Goal percent.

Teamer and Currie are dead-even in Points per Game, blocks, steals and
Field Goal percent. Teamer has a wide lead in rebounds per game (as one
would expect a post player to have) while Currie leads in assists and free
throw percent but maintains a 3-fold lead in the assist/turnover ratio (as
one would expect a wing player to have). The one stat that doesn't
follow the logic is the Field Goal percent. Nationally and
conference-wide, almost all of the leaders in this category play the post.
The obvious reason is they are more likely to get the ball closer to the
basket and have more opportunities for higher percentage shots. Duke's
Monique Currie is following in teammate Alana Beard's footsteps in being
a wing player placing high in this cateogory. The reasons that both Currie
and Beard maintain such a high FG% are 1) they each get a lot of fast break
(layup) opportunities each game, 2) they each create shots for themselves
(and each other) by driving into the lane 3) they get offensive
rebounds/put-backs and 4) they can post up (usually) shorter wing players
on opposing teams.

As well as matching up closely stat-wise, each player brings a similar
amount of intangibles to their team. Mo Currie is flashy, she's strong,
she finishes well, she's an excellent running buddy for the excellent
Alana Beard. She can do things (like flying) that no other woman in the
Duke program has done before. The stand-out in my mind is one play where
she left the ground at the freethrow line, becoming horizontal. She snaked
her body around the first defender, arrived (still airborne) at the post
player. Mo, then changed direction (mid-air) to avoid the post defender,
then spying the basket, twisted around the defender to flick the ball in
the hoop.

Teamer, on the other hand, IS the heart of the rebuilding UVA team. A
few solid players remain from previous years (Quarles, Prillaman and
Crosswhite), but Brandi has become the go-to player for this team, an
impressive feat for any freshman to accomplish. Brandi is simply
everywhere on the floor for this team, at all times. She's slashing,
she's rebounding, she's setting up her teammates, she's scrambling
for loose balls.

Here's what UVA Coach Debbie Ryan says about comparing the value of
these two players to their respective teams: "Brandi, in terms of what she
means to our team, is evident when she takes the court--she's had
double-doubles almost every night," Ryan said. "Monique's also a great
player who is very important to her team, [but] if you take Monique off of
Duke's team, or you take Brandi off of our team, I think you see [which
player is more important] in terms of wins and losses."

My take is that if we're looking at the same picture at the end of the
year that we are right now, the razor's edge choice has got to be Monique
Currie. With all else being relatively equal, you've got to give it to
the player who's contributing to a winning program, rather than the one
playing on the team struggling to stay above .500. It's still 4 weeks
until the ACC tourney. A lot can happen by then.

by Rob Clough