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Duke Takes Care of EV1

Duke 88, EV1 72. November 9, 2003. Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Another week of injuries and other practice disruptions made for a very
sloppy game, one that featured a number of teaching points. Duke was
intermittently brilliant, absolutely dominating at both ends of the court
for short stretches before stagnating. Alana Beard hadn't practiced in
days due to the unfortunate passing of her grandmother, and in fact had
only just arrived back in town on Saturday. As a result, she came off the
bench for the first time that I can recall. Mistie Bass hurt her thumb
and also missed a few practices and so also came off the bench, playing
reasonably well. This meant that Jessica Foley and Brittany Hunter got
their first starts, and both acquitted themselves quite well. Duke's
opponent, a travelling team called EV1 (which stands for Everyone's
Internet), was comprised of several solid ex-college players and one bona
fide WNBA star in DeMya Walker, the former Virginia Cavalier. Merely a
good college player, she blossomed to become a very reliable pro. Her
presence in the game was an enormous boon for Duke, because she gave the
team some serious problems in the first half. Also on the squad were
former Austin Peay star Brooke Armistead (who tortured UNC in the NCAA's
last year), former Alabama Star (and fringe WNBA player) Tausha Mills,
former Texas Tech player (Alicia Thompson) and former Temple guard Stacey
Smalls. All in all, EV1 had a solid starting five a couple of bench
players who could help.

Duke's earlier exhibition opponent, the Premier Players, had some good
athletes who could really shoot, but no real post players. In contrast,
EV1 had some real beef up front, and so the game turned into a physical
contest with lots of pushing and shoving in the post. To Duke's credit,
this tactic did not work against them, and in fact Duke did a little
pushing of their own. A physical contest like this was just what the
doctor ordered for frosh Hunter, who had a dominant 24 point, 13 rebound
performance. Mistie Bass went to the line 8 times, while Monique Currie &
Alana Beard also went hard to the hoop. Duke did not shoot well (just
40% overall and 3-15 from three) and wasn't as efficient as they should
have been (16 turnovers, 10 in the first half), but still won big because
of their 58-38 edge on the boards, with an astounding 30 offensive
rebounds! This relentlessness on the boards is a product of Hunter's
positioning and strength, Currie's aggressiveness and Tillis' quickness.
Duke simply outworked a big team that went 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 along its front
line. Offensive inefficiency aside, this is a positive development,
though the frontline will be tested early against Texas.

The game was tight in the early going, and it was clear that the team

missed its leader and emotional sparkplug in Beard. Still, Tillis had
some big plays in the first five minutes, hitting a stickback, scoring on
an up-and-under and feeding Hunter for her first points. Hunter is a
rhythm player who gets better and better the more she gets the ball,
because you can see her confidence level rise on the court. Getting her
the ball was a priority since EV1 was cutting off driving lanes, while
getting EV1's two best post players in foul trouble was a pleasant side
effect. Still, with five minutes gone by, EV1 led 9-7. Walker and
Armistead both scored early on, with Walker's footwork and driving ability
(never seen in college) flummoxed both Tillis and Hunter. Vicki Krapohl
entered the game and nailed a three, but EV1 took the lead back once
again. A Beard stickback and floater off a drive made it 14-11 Duke, but
4 straight EV1 points (again from Walker) gave them their last lead at

Duke went on a 17-4 run that gave them control of the game. Jess Foley
made herself known with a three and then coming off a screen to hit a 15'
baseline jumper. After Mistie Bass was fouled going hard to the basket,
Coach G went to a small lineup of Hunter, Currie, Foley, Beard and
Harding. This lineup caused a lot of havoc, especially with Mills sitting
on the bench with three fouls. Beard drove and passed to Harding for a
17' jumper, Harding passed to Foley for another three, Hunter & Currie hit
some freebies, and then Harding found Hunter alertly cutting to the basket
on an inbounds play. When the smoke cleared, it was 31-19 Duke with about
eight minutes to go in the half.

The EV1 coach then mixed up his defense a bit, using zones and 2-12
presses to cause a bit of confusion. It worked, with a 6-1 run to pull
EV1 within 32-25. Duke fought back with a Tillis stickback, a Harding
one-woman fast break, and then Tillis picking up the rebound from
Harding's missed free throw and feeding Currie inside for a post-up. Back
came EV1 with a 7-0 run, forcing turnovers and bad shots from Duke. The
Devils ground it out with a Hunter stickback and Beard steal and layup.
The last three minutes were not memorable for Duke, however, as EV1
bounced back from a 43-32 deficit with an 11-4 run. Only a Hunter postup
and 2 Bass foul shots kept Duke on top. The team didn't shoot well,
hitting just 44% of their shots, while EV1 hit 57% from the field. Some
of those were bank shots and attempts that bounced off the rim before
going in, but it was actually a good thing these shots went in since it
made Duke have to step it up even more. Duke's turnovers were the biggest
problem, especially since most of them came in the halfcourt. Another
problem was an overall lack of energy and focus. There wasn't a lot of
communication at times, and that was clearly a function of continuity lost
thanks to practice disruptions and injuries. The energy of the players
was another matter, and something that I'm sure Coach G discussed at

Sure enough, Duke took over a couple of minutes into the half with a
fearsome run. Coach G mved Beard back into the starting lineup, replacing
Foley, and she helped ignite the 19-7 run to start the half. Hunter had 8
points during the run as she worked hard in the paint. Brittany started
with a turnaround jumper in the post and then scored on a stickback.
Tillis dished to Currie on a cut, and then Alana got into the act with a
10' turnaround jumper and a feed to Hunter in the post. After a steal,
Hunter cleaned up a Beard miss in transition, getting down the court with
amazing speed. A Beard drive put Duke up 61-50, and a perfect Harding
pass to Tillis for a 10' jumper and the foul broke it open. The play that
really broke EV1's back was a sequence where Duke missed 5 times, each
time getting an offensive rebound and patiently trying again, with Tillis
once again hooking up with Currie in the post.

Beard continued pouring it on, hitting a 17' jumper and passing to
Tillis and Foley and transition, both of whom converted on acrobatic
finishes. The Devils were cruising at 74-52 with about tweleve minutes to
go, but things bogged down a bit for them, scoring just 12 points the rest
of the way. It didn't matter much, because Duke was playing great defense
(forcing a shot clock violation) and controlling the boards. EV1 scored
just 4 points over the next six minutes, allowing Duke to stretch the
lead. There wasn't a lot of razzle-dazzle during this sequence, just
solid basketball. EV1 tried a 1-3-1 zone, but Duke quickly went over the
top with a Beard-to-Hunter connection. Expect to see that phrase used
quite a bit this year. Hunter did a great job of getting open, catching
the ball, and finishing, scoring 14 of Duke's 42 second half points. The
Devils missed a ton of three point shots late in the half, with Krapohl
unable to find the range. This led to some easy fast break baskets for
EV1, who outscored Duke 9-2 in the last four minutes of the game. Beard
had left the game with a 25 point lead, but it was disappointing to see
the energy drop so much when she left, especially on the defensive end.
That's especially true since Walker had fouled out after being held to
just 4 second half points. Thankfully, Duke still has a week to prepare
for the opener against Texas, and they'll need every minute to work on
team cohesiveness.

** Negatives:

1. Valuing the ball. One thing that had been a problem in practice came
back to haunt the team a bit here, which was making sloppy passes in the
halfcourt. This was especially true of Foley and Tillis, who each had a
couple of bad miscues along with some passes that were good ideas that
just didn't quite work. When Duke stopped turning the ball over in the
second half, they suddenly blew EV1 out. It's going to take time to get
this team running on all cylinders.

2. Fouls. This is what happens when you play against someone who has
outstanding footwork like Walker. Her series of spins, dribble-drives and
up-and-unders twisted Tillis, Hunter and Bass around at times. Duke did
eventually adjust by going just as aggressively to the basket.

3. Consistency. The team just seemed a bit flat at times and was looking
at ways to pump up their own intensity level. Playing against a team with
decent talent really exposed this flaw, especially since they didn't quit
down the stretch. Duke will become a great team when they develop a
play-to-play mentality rather than worrying about having a lead.

** Positives:

1. Rebounding. Three different players had double-doubles (Currie, Tillis
& Bass). Beard was close to a triple-double (16 points, 7 rebounds, 9
assists). As I said in preseason, Duke is looking to transform rebounding
from a moderately strong feature of the team into a dominant feature, one
that can win games. Duke could have had an even bigger margin but let a
few bounce out of their hands. Still, that one possession with 5
offensive boards revealed a team that will wear down opponents with their

2. Getting to the foul line. In a physical game, getting to and
converting at the free throw line is crucial. The Devils had a fine 19-25
showing from the line (76%) with only Hunter needing to sharpen up her
form a bit (2-5). The foul shots came from strong post-ups and drives,
and there were many more plays that could have been called fouls.

3. Toughness. The team may not have played with as much cohesion and
consistency as one would have liked, but there's no question that they
proved their toughness. EV1 wasn't afraid to mix it up inside and Duke
didn't back down an inch.


** Hunter: One can tell that her confidence and comfortability is growing
every day. Her teammates went to give her the ball because they know how
valuable she can be as a scorer. Furthermore, her hard work around the
basket guarantees her three or four easy stickback opportunities a game.
Seeing her run the floor to clean up a Beard miss was inspiring,
especially since I know that her feet hurt. Brit is keeping it simple: go
after every rebound, post up hard, finish strong and move your feet on
defense. She doesn't have to worry about handling the ball much or
shooting right now. However, as was demonstrated by EV1, she's going to
have to deal with an old sight from high school: double-teams. EV1
started to converge around Brittany when she had the ball and forced a few
bad shots. She'll have to learn to recognize the double-teams a bit
quicker and learn to find the open teammate. My scoring tally had her
with 3 rebound baskets, 1 cut to the hoop off an inbounds play, 1
turnaround jumper in the post, 1 superb transition finish, 4 post-ups, and
1 catch over a zone for an easy finish. Throw in a couple of blocks, only
1 foul and just 2 turnovers, and that's a nice day's work for a young
player. She's ready to challenge the likes of Stacy Stephens and Tiffany

** Tillis: In the wake of the hype surrounding Beard, the debut of
Hunter, the improvement of Bass and the return of Currie, Iciss hasn't
received a ton of pub so far. Allow me to correct this. Tillis is
playing at a very high level right now, especially at the defensive end.
While her long-range shot wasn't falling in this game (0-3 from three),
she manufactured some other ways to score and involved her teammates right
away. Seeing her feed Currie a couple of times was impressive, as was her
willingness to get Hunter the ball. With 22 assists on 33 field goals,
it's clear that the team isn't afraid to share the ball. Iciss scored on
a couple of rebound baskets, an up-and-under, a turnaround-jumper and in
transition. Other than her 4 turnovers, it was a fine all-around floor

** Currie: Monique had a really tough shooting day (3-16), with a number
of perfectly fine shots just not dropping for her. However, in some ways,
her performance was more impressive than last week's. That's because she
played against a much more physical team and didn't flinch once in facing
them. The hesitation she showed off the dribble slowly started to fade as
she attacked the rim throughout the game. Her timing isn't all the way
back and she did rush her jumper a couple of times, but there was nothing
wrong with what she did here. Her 7 offensive rebounds kept a number of
possessions alive. Duke will need her to become a bit more efficient on
the offensive end, but increased reps in practice will help this along in

** Foley: Jess had a very strong game overall, but was especially
effective in the first half when she had 8 points. Her ability to hit
the three, come off screens for the 15' jumper and finish in transition
will make her a crucial part of the offense. The most impressive part of
her game today may have been the way she was going after rebounds. While
not a physically powerful player, she is fairly long and moves her feet
well, and this gives her an advantage against shorter guards. Foley's
best position probably is off guard, but she is a capable small forward as
well. What she isn't is a point guard, and some of her errant passes
demonstrated this. Still, she's always looking for players cutting to the
basket, showing that she's not a selfish player. Jess simply needs to
make slightly sharper passes. There is no question that she will get a
ton of minutes this year and will be one of the team's top subs.

** Harding: Lindsey had a good game but wasn't quite as dominant as in her
earlier performance. Harding only took 4 shots and concentrated most of
the time on stopping point Stacey Smalls, forcing her into 6 turnovers but
also being taken off the dribble by her a couple of times. She did hit a
jumper and attacked EV1 off the dribble a few times, and was also very
steady with the ball. Duke will need a bit more offense from her in the

** Krapohl: Vicki hit an early three but struggled from the floor after
that. She also missed a driving leaner in a rare appearance inside the
three point line. Krapohl did play a solid defensive game and stayed in
Armistead's face much of the time. Vicki doesn't fit quite as well in
Duke's more physical, uptempo lineup but her shooting and steady
ballhandling will still be very important. The shots she took were
certainly good ones, and she should continue to take them. However, her
teammates should help her out by being a bit more alert for long rebounds,
because this led to a couple of easy EV1 scores.

** Beard: This promising player who came off the bench may have a bright
future. Beard, playing without practicing for a few days, overcame some
initial rust with a brilliant all-around game. It's clear that she
relishes playing with legitimate post targets like Bass & Hunter and may
see her assists per game total rise sharply this year as a result.
Alana's jumper wasn't really falling, but she also has a way of
manufacturing points. In the first half, she scored on a rebound basket,
a floater and a steal & layup. In the second half, her jumper came back,
with a 10' turnaround and a 17' jumper that fell. Beard's presence just
brings a calm to her teammates, because they know good things will happen
when she's out there. The team still needs to work on keeping up a
certain energy level when she's not out there (Duke was noticeably
outworked in the last couple of minutes of both halves when Beard wasn't
on the floor), but they are at least looking to get the ball from her
instead of looking to her to score every time.

** Bass: This was a fantastic learning experience for Mistie. She had
her first shot swatted away by Walker, but adjusted and shielded herself
from blocked shots the rest of the way. While she only got one shot to
drop, she was relentless in the post and was a regular at the foul line.
She was posting up hard throughout the game and was missed by the guards a
few times--and you could see the frustration on her face. While this
reaction was understandable for such an emotional player, it was also
somewhat counterproductive. To her credit, she shook off her annoyance
and moved her feet to get in scoring position once again. Mistie is not
quite tall or quick enough to simply grab the ball and post up the way
Hunter does. If she added a jump hook or a reliable turnaround jumper
that she could shoot once she opened up some space by banging down low,
she could be a huge scorer. As it is, her ability to get to the foul line
is a big asset. She personally drew several fouls on Mills and Walker,
simply by staying active and aggressive. Defensively, she's moving her
feet well and jumping passing lanes and helping trap on the sidelines. It
takes a while for young players to absorb Coach G's defensive schemes but
Bass is really taking to them. Bass will continue to compete for a
starting role, and did a reasonable job overall considering that she
hadn't practiced due to a thumb injury.

** Morgan: Dana only played a minute and missed her only three.

** Cameron Craziness: Another solid crowd, around 2500-3000 or so. The
band did a very nice job overall in creating a good atmosphere, and it was
especially nice to hear them actually get to play during timeouts instead
of being subjected to wave after wave of cheesy promotional stunts. I
understand their place as a way of drawing in casual fans, but having them
done at every timeout was more than a little excessive...especially in how
hype-driven each spot is. It's clear that Mistie is one of the team's
emotional leaders now in the way she fires up her team during
introductions. Speaking of which, there was a mix-up in the intros where
Mo came out during Jess Foley's intro and vice-versa...the perplexed look
on Mo's face was amusing. DeMya Walker gave the crowd a little wave when
she fouled out.