Duke 79, Florida State 66. January 5, 2004. Cameron Indoor Stadium.
I was enormously concerned with how the team would perform against
Florida State, a talented group that was the last ACC team to beat Duke on
its home court. After a physically and emotionally exhausting win on
Saturday, combined with everyone slapping the team on the back and their
newly minted #1 ranking, this easily could have been a trap game for the
Devils. While the final result was far from pretty, Duke came out with
enough intensity to build a huge early lead. FSU made a couple of runs,
but Duke always responded and was never in any danger. Still, the way
Duke played in the last ten minutes of the game was rather lethargic and
sloppy. Granted, the team had stopped pressing on defense and Coach G was
throwing in players who hadn't played a lot together against FSU's first
team, but the reserves need to maintain at least a high level of
intensity, if not execution.
Of course, this was Alana Beard's night, as she quickly became Duke's
all-time leading scorer, surpassing the great Chris Moreland early in the
game. The game notes mentioned that while Alana needed two more games to
set the record, she actually got in fewer minutes than Moreland. This
makes Alana the third leading scorer in the history of the league with
2,248 points; she's now 59 points away from #2. Of course, the real
target is Johnny Dawkins' school record of 2,556. Alana has never been
about the numbers despite her staggering achievements, and she seemed
almost sheepish about getting a special ball at a timeout to commemorate
the event. In fact, she seemed angry about her poor first-half showing
against UConn and took it out on FSU, torturing their leading scorer
Tasheika Allen at both ends of the court.
In the game's first three minutes, Duke was having trouble getting
anything to fall against FSU's zone. The 'noles stayed in the zone pretty
much the whole time, but their size allowed them to do a pretty good job
on the boards. Beard started the scoring with a three to tie Moreland,
but Duke missed 7 of their first 8 shots. The good news was that their
defense was so strong that FSU could barely do anything against it. They
had 3 turnovers in the first three minutes, with the third leading to a
Lindsey Harding steal & runout. FSU got on the board, but Lindsey came
back and popped a 15' jumper. Monique Currie stuck back her own miss to
give Duke a 9-2 lead. Tasheika Allen of FSU slipped through for baskets
sandwiched around a Mistie Bass power-up to make it 11-6.
Duke went to its bench, but a Harding steal led to Beard sticking back
her own miss to finally get the record. Vicki Krapohl found Jess Foley
in the corner for a high-arching three that had the crowd roaring. The
'noles cut the score to 17-8, but a Brittany Hunter post-up pushed it back
up. Then came my favorite play of the game. Krapohl gave the ball to
Beard, who drove on the wing. She then dished back to Krapohl, set a
monstrous screen with her arms spread all the way out to block her
opponent as Vicki nailed the three. The classmates skipped back downcourt
giddily after that shot that gave Duke a 22-8 lead.
After an Allen basket, the two teams exchanged misses for a while.
Finally, Foley drove and passed to Hunter, who sank a 15' jumper from the
baseline. Lauren Bradley slipped through a blown defensive assignment to
cut it to 24-12, but a 12-0 run by Duke essentially gave them a cushion
that kept them comfortably in the lead for the rest of the game. Currie
skied for a tipped 3 attempt by Krapohl and stuck it in to start the run.
FSU turned the ball over 4 times during the run, as Duke continued it when
Bass stuck back a Tillis miss. Foley passed inside to Beard, and then
swished another three on a Harding feed. Beard finished it off with a
driving three point play. With five minutes to go in the half, Duke led
FSU responded with a 9-0 run to nearly double their points, as Duke
turned the ball over and missed 3 straight long jumpers. Currie drove and
finally dished to Tillis for a 17' jumper to stop the bleeding, and a
Harding steal and pass to Beard put Duke up 41-23 at the half. Both teams
shot around 40%, but Duke's 17-3 lead in points off turnovers was the big
difference. Duke also had 10 offensive rebounds and thus held an 11-4
lead in second chance points.
Duke didn't hit a second-half field goal until nearly four minutes went
by, but they did collect 7 free throws to extend their lead to 48-28. FSU
was desperately struggling to hang on, but Foley came in and knocked down
another three and Hunter hit another jumper to make it 53-30. The
Seminoles scored 4 in a row to stay within shouting distance with fourteen
minutes left. Duke then embarked on an 11-0 run that put them up 30 with
twelve minutes to go. It started with Krapohl hitting a three and
continued with a couple of Beard free throws, a pass inside to Tillis, a
couple of Tillis free throws and another remarkable play. Alana poked the
ball away from Holly Johnson and was trying to gain control of the dribble
as she was a bit off balance, heading towards another player. Beard
bounced the ball through the legs of the oncoming player, gained control
of the ball as it came through the other side, and then zipped to the
basket for a layup. A ridiculous play.
FSU didn't quit, especially when Duke started to bring in reserves and
stopped pressing them. Ganiyat Adeduntan banked in a three to spark a 9-1
run that Currie finally stopped with a 5' stickback. Duke got a stop and
Currie then hit a three to make it 70-43 with under seven minutes to go.
FSU scored 6 straight points as Beard went to the bench. The Devils
looked like they just wanted the game to end and stopped paying attention
to detail, especially on the boards. They didn't block out well, which
led to over-the-back calls and lots of free throws for FSU, who gladly
cashed in. The 'noles wound up outscoring Duke 23-9 down the stretch.
They never really threatened, as a final three at the buzzer only brought
them within 13, but that poor effort left a bad taste in everyone's mouth.
The one Duke player who really sparked her team was Caitlin Howe, getting
her first regular season playing time in Cameron ever. She had a perfect
pass inside to Hunter, scored on a driving three point play to break up a
6-0 run, and then picked up a loose ball to score on a drive.
The last few minutes were a testament to FSU in that they didn't quit,
but again it should be noted that FSU kept all of their starters in
against reserves that had not only gotten very few minutes, but hadn't
played with each other much even during practice. And one could also see
that Duke was a bit exhausted after the UConn trip and it finally started
to show as they relaxed. Still, when Duke was pressing, FSU could do very
little against their defense. Duke showed a lot of maturity by making
sure FSU was never really in the game, a welcome change from last year in
Cameron when the 'noles gave the Devils a real scare with basically the
same team. Duke proved that they still have a lot of things to work on,
but their defensive intensity makes up for a lot of sins.
1. Fouling. Duke moved their feet well on defense in the first half, and
so committed only 6 team fouls. They didn't move their feet well and
didn't block out in the second half, and so committed 14 fouls. Harding
picked up 4 fouls in the second half alone!
2. Sloppiness. Duke was playing against a zone and somehow managed to
commit 14 second half turnovers. Most of that was throwing bad passes or
trying to dribble through the middle of a zone.
3. Blocking out. Normally great rebounders were several seconds slow to
get in position to block out, allowing FSU to get 13 second-half offensive
1. Defensive pressure. Beard, Harding and Krapohl did a tremendous job
pressuring on the perimeter, while Tillis, Bass & Hunter collapsed on the
posts. Currie switched back and forth between the two.
2. Offensive balance. Duke had a little bit of power with Bass and
Hunter, shooting with Foley and Krapohl, and slashing with Beard and
Currie. They were able to score at the line and stretch out the defense
3. Post defense. FSU has some good post players who struggled to get off
good shots. Hunter had 5 blocks, including a nasty one where she blocked
a player streaking to the basket so hard that the other player flew out
of bounds--with no contact!
** Bass: This was a fine, mature all-around performance from Mistie, who
struggled a bit at the beginning but redoubled her efforts the rest of the
game. Mistie played the best defense of her career. She didn't leave her
feet, didn't slap at the ball wildly, and instead held her ground, blocked
out and when it was time to contest shots, she stuffed them. Bass wound
up with a couple of blocks, a held ball forced and a charge taken. Her
major problem in the UConn game was playing defense with her hands instead of
her feet, and that meant instant foul trouble. Against FSU, she used her
size and balance to force them to make tough shots. Bass's first couple
of attempts were weak layups, but she adjusted and posted up stronger.
The best thing about the game was that she racked up some points at the
foul line. She did turn the ball over a few times towards the end,
slightly spoiling what was a great showing.
** Tillis: Iciss missed her first jumper and subsequently became rather
gun-shy, to the detriment of her game. She did rebound well and passed
inside to Hunter and Bass for baskets, but otherwise pretty much wandered
around the perimeter, passing up open looks. Tillis did hit a long jumper
to stop an FSU run in the first half. Iciss hit a layup in the second
half and had assists to Hunter and Currie, but was again strangely passive
on the offensive end. Duke survived that against FSU, but will really
need her to step up against Georgia Tech and UNC. She simply needs to be
more aggressive, take good shots, and don't worry if they don't fall.
** Currie: Monique was also a bit tentative at times, turning down open
shots and often turning the ball over trying to get a more difficult shot.
Both of her first half baskets cleaned up misses, and it was clear that
she was a bit discouraged that her other shots didn't fall. Mo was quiet
in the second half until a 5 point flurry that stopped a 9-1 run and
sealed the game for Duke. Currie did play her usual excellent defense,
with her physical style a bit shocking to the FSU players. Playing with
the speed of a wing but the strength of a power forward, she ran down a
couple of fast breaks and broke them up.
** Beard: Alana was one of the few Duke players who brought a high level
of energy to the game and was able to sustain it throughout. She hit a
three, scored on a drive, posted up for a score, finished in transition
and also had a stickback. However, her defense was the real story,
harrassing the talented Tasheika Allen into 5-16 shooting and 3 turnovers.
That included just 6 points in the first half. Beard forced 2 held balls,
blocked a shot, had that absurd steal and layup and picked up a few boards
as well. Whenever she was in the game, the team as a whole was just
sharper and more intense. They follow her lead, and her all-out effort is
inspiring to watch. A great night for a great player, and more are to
** Harding: Lindsey fouled out thanks to some careless plays, but was
dynamite in the first half thanks to her ball pressure. With 4 points, 2
assists and 4 steals, she made Duke go. When the Devils were struggling
early on, she scored 4 quick points to loosen up the offense a bit. The
second half was not as kind thanks to her foul-out and a couple of
turnovers, but it's clear that Lindsey is overall really starting to come
on after a slow start.
** Hunter: We're only seeing a small fraction of what Brittany can do.
Still very much a raw rookie, Brit showed flashes of true greatness in
this game. She took those jumpers with great confidence, and this is a
tool that has the potential to destroy the efficacy of zones against Duke.
Brit is still much more at home in the post, where she combines her
excellent footwork with fine hands and power. The only player with
comparable post moves at Duke in the last decade was Payton Black, and
Brittany is much tougher & stronger. No one moves her out of the paint.
Brit did turn the ball over a couple of times, including a moving screen,
but otherwise made few mistakes while intimidating FSU on defense.
** Foley: The conquering hero of a game ago had a terrific first half and
a sloppy second half. Jess nailed both of her threes, had assists to
Beard and Hunter, and stole the ball twice. The confidence she had in her
shot was palpable. She was a bit more careless with the ball in the
second half and hit 1 of her 2 attempts. Overall, she was a lot less
active than in recent games, when her all-around play made her tough to
match up with. Not a bad day at the office overall, however.
** Krapohl: Duke's other senior leader had a tremendous game at both ends,
thanks to her nose for the ball. It must be noted that Vicki has taken to
being a leader off the bench without a complaint or moping on the court.
She simply fulfills her role and gets the maximum out of her ability.
Pesky defense, a nice shooting touch and familiarity with her teammates
makes her a fine point guard off the bench.
** Bales: Alison really struggled with her movement, both up and down the
court and laterally. As a result, the more mobile FSU players were able
to score on her or draw fouls. Still, her size and positioning did alter
a couple of shots, and she got a rebound and block down the stretch. Ali
will only get better in practice and will help at some point this year, I
** Whitley: Wynter is not really in full game shape, physically or
mentally. It's going to take some time for this to happen. This is a
tough week to do it in, considering that Duke's playing 4 games in 9 days,
but I suspect that the week off after that will be of great benefit to
** Howe: It's clear that Caitlin really wants to play, and sometimes is
too concerned with making the best play possible. Then she relaxes and
just plays, and shows off how much of a scorer she really is. While her
three wasn't dropping tonight, Cait proved that she can score in other
ways. Her short jumper for a three point play was a great play, as was
her hustle for the ball for a layup. Howe is still a few steps slow on
defense and her lateral movement is obviously quite limited at the moment,
but it's obvious that she knows and loves the game. I really think that
she has a chance to crack the rotation at some point this year.
** Cameron Craziness: There was a really nice crowd at this game, and
they were still fired up from the UConn win. When the team came out, they
got a huge cheer, bigger than normal. Coach G got an ovation when she
walked down the sidelines and acknowledged the crowd. I know she's a
little uncomfortable in celebrating a win from a couple of days ago
(especially one that Duke barely pulled out), but it was quite a feat.
Gail got a hug from FSU coach Sue Semrau and her staff when she went to
greet them. There's a decent amount of camaraderie amongst the coaches in
the ACC (and Sue Semrau is just a great person), and everyone knows how
important this win was for the league.
Jess Foley got big cheers when she entered the game and she really still
seemed to be on an emotional high. News 14 interviewed her after the game
about "the shot". Caitlin Howe also got a huge ovation when she came in,
and a bigger one when she scored. Wynter Whitley also got a warm welcome
in her first Cameron game action this year.