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Duke Sinks Charleston Southern

Duke 106, Charleston Southern 38. December 16, 2002. Cameron Indoor

Some games are rather easy to break down. Duke got off to a quick start
against an intimidated and overmatched team and then let them catch their
breath against the momentarily disorganized subs off the bench. When the
starters came back in, they were shocked to find that their opponent
hadn't rolled over and died and instead was fighting back, getting all
sorts of hustle plays. Duke missed a few shots, most of them decent
looks, and started to grow frustrated. Instead of playing solid defense,
Duke was fouling. Duke still had a 20 point lead at the half, but had
been outscored in the last six minutes of the half, looking lethargic and
confused. CSU outscored Duke by a point in the first couple of minutes in
the second half until Coach G gave Alana the ball and said "go." Beard
then single-handedly destroyed any chance remaining for the Buccaneers,
scoring 10 straight points. After that Duke relaxed on offense and turned
up the pressure on defense, holding CSU to just 7 points in the last
eighteen minutes of the half and scoring 55 of their own points. Yup, a
55-7 run. Six different players were in double figures for Duke, and two
more were very close.

CSU was actually an interesting opponent because of their ACC
connections. Their young coach is one Stephanie Yelton, better known to
ACC fans as Stephanie Lawrence of UNC. She was on the '94 national title
team and held UNC's three point record record until Nikki Teasley eclipsed
her last year. She's in just her second year as a head coach. One of her
assistants is LaTisha Pearson, a former Wake Forest player accustomed to
the beatings that Duke used to hand out to her teams. Yelton coached her
when she was an assistant at Wake. CSU played very hard but did not have
the horses to stay in the game for long. Yelton was very complimentary of
Duke and Beard in particular, calling her the best ACC player of all time.
She thought she was possessed Marion Jones' speed & athleticism and Dawn
Staley's skill level. Very high praise indeed.

Beard got the game off on the right foot by sticking back a Tillis miss.
On its first possession, Duke immediately picked up 2 offensive rebounds.
Sheana Mosch, back in the starting lineup along with Michele Matyasovsky,
was getting all the shots she could handle, but nothing was falling. To
her credit, she was tracking down her own offensive rebounds. After one
o-board, Iciss Tillis then hit Vicki Krapohl for a three. CSU's Keena
Wicker drove and was fouled by Mosch for a three point play. Sparked by
Krapohl tossing it ahead to Beard, Duke immediately struck back when Alana
found Iciss in transition. After one of CSU's many turnovers, Mattie hit
a cutting Beard for a layup, giving Duke a 9-3 lead.

CSU hung in there with another basket, but Duke then launched a 14-0 run
that pretty much had them set for the rest of the game. It began with

dirty work: Mosch was fouled and hit a pair, while Beard swooped in after
a Mosch miss and laid it in. After a turnover, Lindsey Harding passed to
Krapohl for another three (in an intriguing 2-point guard setup), while
Mattie came up with a steal, dished to Vicki, who then found Iciss on a
drive. A steal and layup by Beard was a small preview of what was to come
for the doomed Bucs, but a Beard three from the corner was the killer shot
of the first half.

The bench came in at that point, and started off with a flurry of misses
and turnovers, allowing CSU to creep back in at 23-9. Finally, Duke's
younger players started getting it together, throwing an 11-0 run at
Charleston Southern. The catalysts were Lindsey Harding (no surprise) and
Brooke Smith (a bit of an eyebrow-raiser). Brooke looked very comfortable
out there for the first time, posting up for a turn-around hook,
relocating the ball out to Harding for a three, and sticking back a
Harding miss. For her part, Harding pulled up for a 10' jumper in the
lane (a shot she must take) and started a break with a steal that ended
with Mosch getting a layup. CSU missed 6 shots and turned the ball over
once during the run.

CSU got a flukey play to go their way when they stuck back a missed free
throw for a reverse three-point play, but a turnaround by Bass and a steal
& runout by Beard gave Duke a commanding 38-12 lead with six minutes to go
in the half. Then an odd thing happened--Duke lost their concentration,
especially on defense. CSU moved the ball around a disorganized Duke
defense, and got an open jumper and then an easy drop-off by Deborah
Cherry for an assist. The speedy Cherry then drove right by Beard for
another score after a Smith turnover to make it 39-18. Duke finally
scored when Krapohl found Mosch in transition as Duke just burned CSU
after a score. Krapohl settled things down further with a three, making
the score 44-20. After a series of missed free throws and jumpers from
both teams, CSU made it 44-25 with thirty seconds to go. In one memorable
sequence, Cherry ripped the ball out of Beard's hands after a rebound and
laid it in to bring the margin under 20. Duke regrouped and got an open
shot for Foley, who canned a 15' baseline jumper. Still, CSU had
outscored Duke 13-8 in the last six minutes of the half. Make no mistake,
this was not a very big or talented group. They are, however,
well-coached and played with a lot of heart. Really, they outhustled Duke
after the Devils built a big lead. Duke forced 15 turnovers but had 9 of
their own, and shot under 50%. Only Beard and Krapohl were doing much on
offense. Mosch was a disappointing 2-6 from the field, with lots of wide
open shots, while Tillis was putting up a lot of weak stuff and was also

Once again, Duke had problems in the opening segment of the second half
as well. Krapohl hit a three to start things off, but CSU outscored Duke
6-2 in the next couple of minutes, with only a Tillis transition basket
allowing Duke to scratch. Finally, Beard took over ballhandling duties
and tore through the Bucs' defense like tissue paper. Suddenly, you could
sense a switch turning on as she decided to take over the game. She
forced a turnover, drove in for a layup and was fouled. She missed the
free throw but grabbed her own rebound and was fouled, and hit both of
those foul shots. Then she pilfered another loose ball and got a runout.
After CSU had closed to within 51-31, Beard suddenly made it 63-31 in the
blink of an eye. It all seemed rather inevitable--she got that look in
her eye, everyone else got out of her way, and she just went to work.
After CSU managed to hit a jumper, she stole an inbounds pass and scored.
Up by 32 points, Coach G sat her the rest of the game--she had done what
was necessary.

It would now be up to her teammates to keep up the intensity at both
ends. Beard's layup sparked a 9-0 run, with Mistie Bass being its key
figure. She had a rebound basket and tossed in a turnaround half-hook
shot, and then relocated the ball to Jess Foley in the corner for three.
Mistie pretty much is always ready to receive the ball. She was yelling
for it on the play where she passed to Foley--she saw a clear opening for
Foley and knew this was the best way to get her the ball.

CSU scored again with 13 minutes left but would go scoreless for the
next eight minutes. Meanwhile, Duke rattled off a 20-0 run. Tillis was
in and was making up for her weak first-half showing by hitting jumpers,
finishing two fast breaks, and displaying her passing skills with a
behind-the-back number to Brooke Smith for a basket. Harding and Smith
were working hard and getting to the foul line. The frosh played tons of
minutes down the stretch and kept up the intensity. Duke went over 100
points yet again and held CSU to 7 points in the last eighteen minutes of
the half. Even having called off the press for the most part, Duke still
had 14 second half steals and forced 20 second-half turnovers. The bench
came up with 29 second half points, 18 rebounds and 6 steals. While Duke
looked flat at many points during the game, it was good to see them pick
up the intensity and put an opponent away. Still, Duke did not play hard
and didn't respect their opponent the way they should have.

** Negatives:

1. Intensity. Duke was not playing hard at all times, and that showed in
the way they gave up some offensive rebounds and in a lack of pressure.

2. Focus. Duke took lazy, quick shots and didn't pass the ball as crisply
as they could have. 15 turnovers doesn't seem like a lot in the scheme of
things, but when you consider that CSU didn't dare pressure Duke at all
(and wound up with just 5 steals), one can see that a lot of the turnovers
were self-infliced.

3. Fouling. Another symptom of mediocre defense and a lack of
communication, Duke was frequently in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Most weren't fouls of aggression (which are acceptable since Duke has so
much depth), but simply bad positioning.

** Positives:

1. Rebounding. Duke was +18, and more importantly had an impressive 20
offensive boards. Smith and Harding in particular excelled here.

2. Three point shooting. A weakness in past games, it was a major
advantage here when Duke was struggling a bit. Krapohl was sizzling with
5-7 from three, and she could have taken many more shots if she had
so desired.

3. Forcing turnovers. It's what Duke does; against an overmatched CSU
squad, that total was a ridiculous 37. The Bucs simply had no idea on how
to cope with such a physical team that was so quick.


** Matyasovsky: Defensively, Mattie had a strong game, doing her thing by
denying her opponent and tipping away passes that came near her by darting
out in front of her player. For a natural wing, it's amazing to see how
solid she is as a post defender. Her offense was another story in this
game. While she rarely hunts her own shot, she was so much of a
non-factor on offense that it actually hurt the team. That's because CSU
didn't bother guarding her at all; her only shot attempts weren't even
close to going in. Michele also picked up a couple of quick fouls in the
second half; she seems to pick up fouls in bundles. Not exactly her best

** Tillis: The pattern for Iciss in this game was similar to many of her
teammates: mediocre first half, very good second half. She scored twice
in transition in the second half, hit a 17' jumper, and was also a flashy
playmaker. Her behind the back bounce pass to Smith was a thing of
beauty, but one shouldn't underestimate finding Krapohl for a three or
Mosch on a cut either. She also played harder on the defensive end,
flashing into lanes for steals and forcing a held ball. Iciss did throw
some bad passes in the half, showing that she wasn't as focused as she
needed to be. An average game overall--she certainly should have been
more dominant against this team.

** Beard: For Alana, all of the measures of performance are different
than for mere mortals. In the first half, she was 6-7 from the field,
had 3 rebounds, an assist and 3 steals, yet I thought it was not close to
her best effort. She was lethargic in the half court, especially on
defense, and actually lost her opponent a couple of times. When she
brought the full weight of her concentration to bear in the second half,
the results were devastating. Beard made CSU's players look like a bunch
of kindergarteners. In the game-within-a-game category, Beard wisely
used Deborah Cherry's speed against her by allowing her to dribble right
at her and then poking away the all when she exposed it, rather than try
to body her up. Alana's high hoops IQ is sometimes overlooked due to her
phenomenal athleticism, but to me this is the strongest part of her game.

** Mosch: Whenever Sheana misses her first shot in a game, it usually
augurs a poor shooting night overall. Sure enough, she missed her first
four shots. Sheana is mature enough not to completely disappear, however,
and she instead went to her strengths: running the floor and attacking the
basket. Mosch managed to squeeze out 6 points in the first half doing
that. Sheana scored 4 straight points early in the second half that
sparked the run that put the game away. That included one of two three
point plays in the half. While her jumper wasn't falling, it was good to
see her back at the line (5-6 for the game). As she has for most of the
year, Mosch played good defense. Overall, Sheana rallied from a tough
start to become a difference-maker. That's what a senior needs to do.

** Krapohl: I said at the beginning of the year that the PG position was
Vicki's to lose, and she's done little so far to merit losing it. After a
slightly rocky start in terms of turnovers, she has once again become a
rock-steady presence in the backcourt. If anything, her assists are
actually up as she becomes more and more comfortable with Beard & Tillis.
Vicki's ballhandling is also quite steady though few teams have dared to
apply much pressure on the ball for fear of being burned by Duke's speed.
Still, it's clear that she's much more comfortable with the ball in her
hands now than earlier in her career. Vicki is also not afraid to apply
some defensive pressure, making up for her lack of size. Some of
Lindsey's game has rubbed off on her, as she's also pushing the ball in
transition. Of course, her shooting remains her calling card. Most teams
will give her that shot so they can worry about Beard, Tillis, Bass, etc.,
but Krapohl can certainly make teams pay.

** Harding: Lindsey continues to play extremely well. In particular, she
really bolstered her offensive numbers in this game, something that needed
to improve. She hit her first career three point shot in this game, which
had to be a big relief. On the downside, she missed her first foul shot
of the year after starting off 12-12. While she scored on a couple of her
trademark "you can't catch me" drives, she did hit a couple of 10' jumpers
as well. While Harding doesn't need to be a jump-shooting machine, she
does need to prove that she can stick the occasional open jumper, and this
game will help develop her confidence. As a point guard, she also
continues to improve. She's always looking to push the ball, as her
assists to Mosch proved, but Lindsey in general is becoming adept at
finding the open shooter in halfcourt. She made the pass to Foley at the
end of the first half for an important basket. As always, her defense and
rebounding are spectacular for such a young player. It was interesting
seeing her in the game with Krapohl--Duke could afford to do this against
a short CSU squad, and it certainly opened up many more shot attempts for

** Whitley: This was a really tough game for Wynter, who was in foul
trouble for much of the game and eventually fouled out. She was taking
good shots in the first half for the most part, but they weren't going in.
I would have liked to see her go inside in an effort to draw a foul or
two, however. Her confidence seemed a bit shaken and she stopped shooting
in the second half. Wynter is not a true post player and must be more
aggressive in creating her own shots with the dribble. With her size and
touch, she can add a very different dimension to Duke's offense. But if
she's not aggressive, she can clog up the works because she doesn't move
without the ball as well as some of the other players.

** Smith: Brooke moved very well without the ball, was incredibly active
on the offensive boards (leading the team with 5) and aggressively
patrolled the passing lanes. She got some meaningful early minutes as she
scored on a turnaround, got a tip-in and relocated the ball for an assist.
In the second half, she played good defense but couldn't get the ball in
the hoop. The good news is that she cut down on the dumb turnovers that
plagued her in the first half, and she even got to the foul line. She has
a really weird free throw shooting style, with an incredibly high arc on
it. Brooke loves to rebound and push the ball up the court; while she's
doing the former rather well at this level, the latter is giving her some
difficulty as she struggles to adjust to a new set of teammates. There is
definite talent here, especially as a shot blocker, but she will require
time to adjust to the talent that surrounds her.

** Bass: Mistie sprained her ankle in practice last Thursday and hadn't
done much since, which is why she didn't start and came in later than
everyone else. While her game isn't really predicated on movement, she
did look rusty and out of synch in the first half. She also was called
for a moving pick and three seconds in the lane, things she normally
avoids. She got her act together in the second half, going 4-7 from the
field and grabbing 5 boards. A couple of those scores were stickbacks
over smaller opponents, while her other two scores were classic Bass
turnaround jumpers. Of greater interest was seeing Mistie pass the ball
effectively. After scoring easily a couple of times, CSU started to
triple team her in the post. Before this game, Mistie had a total of 5
career assists in 7 games. Part of this is because of her aggressiveness
near the hoop, but I also think she's still getting used to sharing the
ball. Considering that more teams are going to double team her, it's
critical that she learns to find the open shooter. She's learning and
still putting up big numbers while doing it. It was nice to see her pull
down 6 boards in this game, considering that she wasn't getting as many
rebounds as one would like for her size and strength level.

** Foley: Jess was quiet in the first half but really ratcheted up her
intensity level in the second. The jumper that she hit just before the
first half ended seemed to lift her spirits considerably and give her more
confidence. Her shot hasn't been falling and I think this has hurt her
overall aggressiveness. Hitting that pressure shot made her a bit more
adventurous overall in the second half, going 3-3 from the floor including
a three. She was also quite active on defense picking off three steals.
One senses that Jess is still adjusting to the American game but could
have a big impact in a month or so.

** Cameron Craziness: I was a bit disppointed in the size of the crowd
(around 2700), though obviously the students being gone plays a small
role. Things seemed a bit off with the absence of the band, until a smart
person had the idea of playing selections from DUMB's CD during lulls in
the game. Folks would wind up clapping along to it.