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Duke Whacks Wake

Duke 91, Wake Forest 46. January 6, 2002. Cameron Indoor Stadium.




For reasons to stupid to go into, I was unable to attend this game.
However, I listened to it on the radio and studied the play by play.
There isn't much to say about this one, however. This was a tight
contest for about the first ten minutes of the game. Wake came out
fairly poised and played solid defense. Moreover, their improved
athleticism (behind such players as Tonia & Bianca Brown and Adell
Harris) helped them keep up with the ultra-quick Devils. In fact, Wake
came up with 2 early steals and 2 T.Brown threes to take a 12-10 lead.
Duke had 3 early turnovers but countered with back-to-back threes by
Alana Beard and Vicki Krapohl. Duke stopped turning the ball over, but
Wake remained hot, holding a small lead for the next five minutes as the
Devils would fight back to stay close. Iciss Tillis had 5 points while
Monique Currie knotted the game at 19 with twelve minutes to go in the
half. Currie was a bit tight since a number of her old high school
teammates were in town to see the game, and she missed some shots and
picked up 2 quick fouls. Coach G kept her in the game to keep her
confidence up, and Mo responded.

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A couple of Wake turnovers led to 5 straight Duke points, with Krista
Gingrich notching a three and Beard scoring yet again. Wake responded
with 4 straight from big center Tiffani Listanbee and the Deacs trailed
just 24-23 with nine minutes to go. This is when everything went
pear-shaped for Wake. After Duke turned the ball over and then missed 2
shots, Wake turned it back over each time. Finally, Wynter Whitley
spotted up for three and hit it. Wynter is usually reluctant to take
such shots, and her hitting it sparked a run. The Deacs, in their next 8
possessions, had 5 misses and 3 turnovers, while Whitley's shot sparked a
16-0 run. Currie scored 5 points including a 3-point play, Beard hit
another three and so did Gingrich.

Wake was able to stop the bleeding a bit by scoring a bit in the last
three minutes of the half, but they were down by a stunning 18 points.
Those four scoreless minutes dug them a hole they simply couldn't get out
of. Duke for its part kept up the pressure on all fronts: Vicki Krapohl
hit a three, Sheana Mosch scored a transition basket off a Tillis feed,
Tillis dished to Michele Matyasovsky on an inbounds play. Duke only
turned the ball over twice in the last thirteen minutes of play, and
Wake's slower lineup simply couldn't pressure the ball. It didn't help
that their best player, Eafton Hill, was just getting back from a broken
foot. She was largely ineffective in this game, playing just eight
minutes and turning the ball over twice.

Wake came out with a 3-0 run to start the second half, but they pretty
much caved after that. The Devils went on a 13-4 run over the next six
minutes, which was less a run and more a grinding, workmanlike effort.
They did it with offensive stickbacks, free throws and a steal by Krapohl
that led to a Beard basket. There was a three minute period where Duke
went without a point, but the Deacs just blew the opportunity by missing
4 straight shots. With twelve minutes left in the game, Duke led 61-39.
The team's goal at that point was to stay focused and continue to play
hard. And that they did.

Both teams warmed up for a bit, with Mosch and T.Brown hitting some
jumpers. The lead was 68-44 with nine minutes left. Seven minutes
later, the lead was 86-44. Yup, that was an 18-0 run as Wake simply
couldn't hit anything. That's what 6 missed shots and 6 turnovers will
do to you, as Duke got 4 steals and got their fast break cranked up all
the way. Currie scored 8 and Tillis 4, while Beard and Mosch finished in
transition. After Wake scored with two minutes left, Duke tacked on 5
more points to make this as thorough a rout as you'll ever see.

Now: what did this game mean? Probably not a whole lot. Wake doesn't
have a single quality win, and the Duke loss was their fourth in a row.
Hill's absence has really hurt them both in the scoring column and on
defense. Wake has only managed to crack 50 points once in the last four
games. But Duke took a bad team and kept pounding away at them, with
everyone contributing. Five players had 3 or more assists, with senior
point guard Gingrich leading the way with 6. Duke cut down on its
turnover problem (with only 11 for the game) and outrebounded the Deacs
after a slow start. Impressively, Duke held Wake to just 9 offensive
boards despite their missing 34 shots.

Individually, Tillis again tied her career high with 20 points on 8-12
shooting. Beard had a steady 19 points with 9 rebounds, 6 offensive.
Currie came off the bench to score 20 as well--the Deacs didn't seem to
know what to do with her size and quickness. Once Mo gets going, she can
be quite a weapon because she's so strong and skilled. The bench played
63 minutes, and at this point, the team is playing like there are eight
starters instead of a clear starter/sub dichotomy. The bench unit had 30
points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. The point guards, Krapohl and
Gingrich, combined for 9 assists and 3 turnovers--an excellent ratio.
They also combined for 4-9 shooting from three, as Duke responded well to
Wake's attempts to zone.

Up next for Duke is a brutal stretch. First comes a visit to
Littlejohn and Clemson, a place where Duke rarely wins. The Tigers had a
rough start (losing to UMASS, Furman and at Maryland), but have since
beaten Penn State, FSU and Virginia (in Charlottesville). Chrissy Floyd
is right behind Alana Beard in the conference scoring race, and the
Tigers play sticky defense as usual. After that comes the annual war in
Raleigh against NC State. The Pack have been hurting of late, losing 5
of their last 7 as injuries and transfers took their toll, but their
inside game will be a huge challenge for Duke. Then comes a home tilt
with a young but dangerous Virginia squad, the showdown in Cameron
with UNC and a road battle against a good FSU squad. The next five games
will go a long way in determining Duke's fate in the ACC this year.