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Six Out of Seven For Duke

Duke 72, Maryland 59. February 22, 2004. Comcast Center.

Duke clinched their fourth straight regular-season ACC title and their
sixth in seven years against a game Maryland squad. It was Senior Day in
College Park and the Terps drew a crowd of over 13,000--the second biggest
in the history of ACC women's basketball. Maryland is battling for their
postseason fate and so was highly motivated in this game. After playing
Duke even in the first ten minutes of the game, the Devils went on a 15-0
run that proved too much to overcome. The young Terps put a scare into
Duke by coming within 7 points on three different occasions in the last
eight minutes of the game, but Duke was able to get key baskets and
stiffen defensively each time. The Devils dominated the boards (44-35),
kept their turnovers down (10) and moved the ball well (21 assists for 28
field goals). Duke needed these numbers because they only hit 5-21 from
three, a disappointing mark considering their recent success from long
range. Maryland also shot 53% in the second half compared to Duke's 36%,
a number that reflected Maryland's tenaciousness and heart. They had
every opportunity to fold, but they kept on coming and forced Duke to make
plays to beat them. I do think the Devils went on autopilot a bit,
taking the first open shot available instead of the best open shot
available when they had a big lead. Duke also allowed a few too many
offensive rebounds in the second half, a tribute to Maryland's desire as
much as anything.

Both teams had trouble knocking down shots in the early going, with a
Beard jumper and a short Delvonna Oliver shot the only points in the first
four minutes. Vicki Krapohl came in and immediately knocked down a three,
but the Terps went on a 6-0 run to take the lead. The Terps hit 3
straight shots in the post as Bass & Tillis struggled a bit defensively.
Alison Bales came into the game and immediately scored on a fluke
deflection off her hands into the basket, but it broke up Maryland's
momentum. Beard went into the post and grabbed a Maryland miss, and
followed that up by sticking back her own miss. That was the first of 5
consecutive lead changes over the next minute. Shay Doron penetrated the
lane and dished to Crystal Washington for a score, but Beard lobbed the
ball to Bass for a basket. Two Doron foul shots were followed by a Bass
stickback. Bales clogged up the lane and grabbed a rebound, and Lindsey
Harding drove and kicked it out to Brittany Hunter, who knocked down the
shot. Duke led 15-12 with under eleven minutes to go.

After a Maryland basket, Duke went on a 15-0 run that silenced the
crowd. The scoring streak saw Duke get out in transition; prior to that,
Coach G noted that the team seemed a bit sluggish. It was all keyed by
Lindsey Harding, who had 5 assists, 2 rebounds and a stickback during the
run. Also stepping up was Monique Currie, who nailed a three, a 15'
jumper and scored in transition after she blocked a shot. Maryland missed
5 shots, turned the ball over 3 times and missed 2 foul shots as Duke took
control. The Terps were finally able to snap the run with over four
minutes left in the half, but Duke kept making shots. Harding pulled up
for a 17' jumper and Beard warmed up with consecutive long jumpers as
well. After Maryland pulled within 34-21, Beard hit a shot and Bales
found Bass inside for a hook shot. Duke held the Terps scoreless for the
last 1:18 of the half, and really showed how hard they were concentrating
on the boards. The Terps shot just 29% in the half but did get to the
foul line 8 times. Duke was trying hard for a knockout punch late in the
half, but Krapohl missed back-to-back threes and Beard committed a foul
after the rebound, leading to Maryland free throws. That scenario
occurred often in the game: Duke ready to turn the game into an
out-of-control blowout and just not quite being able to hit a few key

Duke seemed to be ready to deliver that punch in the second half when
Harding hit a rare three to put Duke up by 20, but the Terps kept fighting
back. On one possession, they got 3 offensive rebounds and finally scored
on their fourth attempt to cut the lead to 46-31 with fifteen minutes to
go. That possession seemed to really fire them up and keep their team
energized when many teams would have just given up. Duke was trying to
pound it inside over Maryland's zone (with a Beard-to-Tillis lob
succeeding), but the Terps then switched gears and went to a more
aggressive man-to-man. That suddenly made them a much tougher rebounding
unit and caught Duke napping a bit. Duke was meeting their challenges
head-on, as a Beard three put the lead at 49-31 and a Hunter turnaround
jumper made it 51-35 with under fourteen minutes to go.

After a Maryland basket, Beard missed a stickback that would have kept
momentum on Duke's side, and Maryland scored on an offensive rebound to
cut the lead to 53-41. Suddenly, the deficit was manageable, especially
with nearly twelve minutes to go. Duke calmly came back as Currie posted
up and used a drop-step after Harding fed her the ball. Maryland frosh
Kalika France, a player who resembles Beard in some ways, started to heat
up with short range jumpers. She scored 3 straight points to make the
lead 11, but Beard hit 2 freebies to give the Devils a 57-44 lead.

Then came the first crisis point for Duke. The Devils missed 4 straight
shots and then Beard turned the ball over after a great block, leading to
another France basket. The Terps scored 6 straight points to cut the lead
to 7. Again, Duke did not panic. Currie took the ball out of a timeout
and swished a 14' jumper to stop the bleeding, and then came up with a
steal on the next play. Beard went into the post to stop Oliver, and
blocked her for the second time in the game. Currie posted up again and
scored on a feed from Harding. With under six minutes left, the lead was
11 and seemed safe...but it wasn't.

France scored on yet another stickback, and Bass got blocked by Oliver,
leading to a Vicki Brick basket. With under five minutes to go, it was
61-54. Duke fed the ball into the post once again, and this time Bass got
back her own miss and stuck it back. Beard blocked Oliver again, Harding
got the rebound and started a fast break that Beard finished. Again, the
lead seemed safe, but Beard missed a layup after a steal, Krapohl missed a
3 and Currie could only hit 1 of 2. A three by Chrissy Fisher made the
game 66-59 with about two minutes to go. Harding uncharacteristically
coughed the ball up and fouled Fisher, who did Duke a favor by missing the
front end of a one-and-one. Beard grabbed that board and Duke set up a
play. Harding drove and kicked back to Krapohl, who this time nailed a
wide-open three. That was the killshot Duke had been looking for,
because Marlyand was forced to jack up threes and foul from there on in,
and didn't score a point in the last 2:16 of the game.

Maryland felt great about competing and forcing Duke to work hard,
especially considering that the Devils have blown the Terps off the court
in their last three meetings. This will definitely be a team to be
reckoned with in the future with all of the talent they have coming in and
their current young stars. For Duke, the win cemented one of their goals:
first place in the conference. They still have many goals ahead of them,
but the team is generally playing pretty decently. More importantly,
they've been taking every opponent seriously and look to put them away as
quickly as they can. One of the biggest positives in this game is that it
wasn't Beard who was making all the shots down the stretch: Currie hit a
bunch, Bass had a big basket, and Krapohl hit the biggest shot of the

** Negatives:

1. Fouls. Not only did Maryland get more free throw attempts than Duke,
but there were times that was the only way the Terps could score.
Moreover, foul trouble limited Iciss Tillis early on and Monique Currie in
the second half. This was further compounded by the fact that Duke's
aggressive play only resulted in 6 steals and 11 total turnovers for
Maryland. Duke simply got sloppy and played defense with their hands
instead of their feet too many times.

2. Blocking out. Maryland is not a big team, but another way they were
able to get back into the game was by getting some big stickbacks. They
had 10 second chance points and 13 offensive rebounds overall.

3. Shot selection. Duke wanted to stay aggressive with a lead, but there
were times that Duke was lured into taking the first open shot instead of
the best open shot. When Maryland went into a more aggressive man to man
in the second half, Duke should have attacked the basket more, rather than
settle for jumpers.

** Positives:

1. Offensive rebounding. When Duke was at their best, they kept pounding
away at the Terps, often getting 2 or 3 extra cracks at the basket. Bass
in particular did a great job in creating new possessions for Duke, though
the quick & tenacious combo of Beard & Harding also got plenty of extra

2. Ball movement. Harding in particular did a great job in setting up her
teammates, both in transition and halfcourt sets. She's become a lot more
adept in using the angles to get the best possible entry pass into the
post. The team as a whole was very unselfish.

3. Crunch time maturity. Duke was cruising for much of the second half,
but they realized that Maryland wasn't going to go away on their own. The
manic defense of Beard, the cool head of Currie and Krapohl's clutch
shooting were examples of Duke stepping up when they had to.


** Bass: After a few quiet showings, Mistie stepped up in a big way
today, and it's a good thing she did. Tillis got shut down and Duke
needed another scorer inside, and Mistie filled that role and did a lot
more besides. Mistie's 6 offensive boards meant 3 stickbacks, including a
crucial one with under five minutes to go. She also hit a hook and scored
on a lob & post-up. Mistie passed well out of double-teams and avoided
both foul & turnover trouble in this game. The only problem she had was
defending Oliver, who took her outside a couple of times and used an
effective hook on the baseline.

** Tillis: Iciss picked up a quick foul and then just never got into the
flow of the game after that. She seemed a bit lost in the offense tonight
and didn't really demand the ball much. Duke tried to get her going in
the second half and it worked to some extent as she hit on a lob and a
free throw, but she missed her threes and didn't play with as much energy
as she usually does. Duke also went to a three guard lineup to match up
with Maryland and left Bass in much of the time as their main big. That
snaps a good string of performances for Iciss, but she'll be needed
against Clemson and NC State--two teams that have strong post games.

** Currie: After a series of subpar offensive showings, Mo helped pick up
Iciss' slack and hit a number of key buckets. When she hit her first shot
of the game and it was a three, you knew that she'd be ready to shoot.
She followed that up with a 15' jumper and a fast break basket. also
getting 3 boards and a block along the way. She displayed her versatility
by scoring in the low block a couple of times in the second half as well
as hitting a crucial jumper that halted a 6-0 run. Her only problem came
when trying to deal with France, who took advantage of Currie's foul
trouble to get some open looks. Mo fouled out with under three minutes to
go, but she had done enough to get Duke the win, scoring 5 points in five
minutes and finding Beard on the break for another score. It was great to
see her return to her role as a scorer, especially when she didn't turn
the ball over once.

** Beard: Alana actually cooled down a bit on the offensive end, missing a
number of jumpers, blowing a layup in transition and missing the basket
altogether on one post-up, but she was still Beard when it counted. That
was especially true on defense down the stretch, where she came up with
play after play, each more amazing than the next. She single-handedly
shut down Oliver, a player who had been torturing Duke all game with her
shooting. Beard blocked her 3 times and got the rebound each time. Alana
did hit a few long-range shots, including shots from 15', 17' (twice) and
three, as well as a couple of fast break buckets and a stickback. As
always, she lived at the foul line, going 9-10 (and the one miss came
after the game was decided). Alana was also a monster on the boards and
finished with a double-double. The amazing thing about this game was that
Alana wasn't quite as sharp as she has been in recent games and still had
24 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 blocks.

** Harding: Lindsey continues to be the team's glue and nearly put up a
triple-double in this game. She's a role player whose role keeps
expanding as she becomes more and more focused on the court. Her 11
assists were 1 shy of the Duke record, while her 10 boards were the usual
day at the office for one of the league's best rebounding guards. Lindsey
is also taking the open jumper when it's there and it's the best shot,
hitting a three and another long jumper. The only negative in this game
was her 5 turnovers, most of them unforced. She simply lost control of
the ball a few times; amazingly, she still had a better than 2:1
assist/turnover ratio and nearly equaled her turnovers with steals (4).
Duke's sophomores are a big x-factor, and any extra production Duke can
get from them will only make them better.

** Krapohl: Vicki missed several open threes but hit an enormous one when
it really mattered. That shot basically ended Maryland's hopes at a
comeback and kept them at arm's length for the rest of the game. This
otherwise was not her best game; she missed 5 threes and was beaten on
defense a few times by her Vicki namesake on the other team (Brick).
Hopefully Senior Night will bring out the best for both Vicki & Iciss.

** Bales: Ali had some productive minutes, though I'm not sure she could
duplicate that shot she hit in a million years. It seemed to bounce off
her hands and then the floor and then into the basket as though the ball
had a will of its own. The smile on her face afterwards was priceless.
Ali also stayed out of foul trouble, collected some rebounds and passed
into Bass from the high post for a score.

** Hunter: Brit missed some chippies but to her credit kept pounding away.
She did a good job of staying out of foul trouble and being a big target
inside. Brit hit a nice turn-around jumper as well as a 15' jumper facing
the basket. Not a bad showing, but I know that she can be more of a

** Foley: Jess' numbers weren't that spectacular but she was hustling the
whole game. Her shots simply did not fall. The one thing she's still
doing too much of is fouling, especially when going after missed shots.
That's a matter of positioning oneself properly for rebounds and
anticipating bounces, and Jess isn't quite there yet in either category.
Still, she's moving a lot better and proved in her last game that she can
help off the bench.