I didn't get to see this one, so I'll provide just a few notes. Despite
shooting just 6-18 in the second half and losing Alana Beard to two
twisted ankles, the Blue Devils still rolled over Florida State, 70-49.
After an inconsistent defensive effort against Maryland, Duke righted
itself by holding the 'noles to 38% shooting (27% in the second half) and
forcing 24 turnovers. The Devils also outrebounded them 33-26, holding
FSU to just 7 offensive rebounds.
FSU once had a record of 15-5, 7-2 in the ACC. They were considered
locks for the NCAA tournament despite a less-than-impressive RPI. Their
only losses came against Duke and UNC, and they were in both games until
the final ten minutes. Behind a stout defense and the offense of Tasheika
Morris, this club was a contender. Then came a string of tough losses,
many of them coming down the stretch of games. Right now, they're
fighting for a decent seed in the ACC Tournament, let alone the NCAA
tournament. Against Duke, they were missing key defensive spark LaQuinta
Neely (who did a great job against Beard in Durham) and post player Lauren
Bradley, one of their better low-post scorers.
Their absence helped Duke make up for Iciss Tillis only playing 20
minutes (due to foul trouble) and Beard playing 27 (due to injuries). In
the early going of the ACC season, having that duo combine for just 25
points would have spelled doom for Duke, especially against a good club
like FSU. In this game, Duke's bench stepped up to score 25 points, grab
11 rebounds, and grab 6 steals. Sheana Mosch in particular was huge once
again, scoring 13 points. She stepped in for Beard when she first went
out in the first half and scored on a layup. Mosch scored 7 more points
in the second half when Beard was out.
The game was tight for about the first ten minutes, with FSU even taking
several brief leads. Duke had not been behind in any ballgame for quite
some time. Six straight FSU turnovers helped Duke turn a 22-21 lead into
an insurmountable 35-21 advantage. FSU is the equivalent of a college
football ball control team; they don't score enough to be a threat when
playing from behind. They would come as close as 9 points, but Harding,
Mosch, Krapohl and others would step up every time to ensure that Duke
would stay comfortably ahead. Finishing the game out on a 15-8 run was a
nice statement to make without having Beard in the lineup.
Duke clinched their fifth regular season title in six years, an
impressive run. Next up is a try at another 16-0 regular season against
local rival NC State.