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Krapohl & Duke Swat The Jackets!

Duke 81, Georgia Tech 41. February 7, 2004. Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke's slogan this year is "Pride & Passion". Of late, the team hasn't
been displaying enough of either as they've slogged through their ACC
schedule. After the toughness they displayed against UNC and the fight
they put up against Tennessee, the team as a whole has been dinged by
injuries and has lacked the lock-down mentality needed on defense. Losing
Iciss Tillis exposed how weak Duke's post defense can be, as the
oft-maligned Iciss has always been a force on the defensive end, even when
she has trouble scoring. Coach G blasted the team for its sloppiness and
lack of intensity on the court and in practice, but it was sweet-natured
leader Alana Beard's words that had just as much of an impact. She told
her team that they needed to grow up and play with the passion that her
2002 team had--the beloved "Elite Eight" team that went to the Final Four
despite having only eight players on the roster.

It helped that Duke's turnaround was relatively short (three days) and
that they'd be playing at home against the last-place team in the league.
However, Coach G rightly noted that the struggling Georgia Tech Yellow
Jackets had swept Florida State and had one of the league's best scores in
forward Fallon Stokes. Furthermore, Tillis is still being held out
because she still has some lingering symptoms stemming from her
concussion. Duke needed a strong effort from everyone, especially on the
defensive end.

Duke came out and immediately exerted its will on Tech defensively,
forcing 3 turnovers in the first two minutes of the game. Vicki Krapohl,
back in the starting lineup the past two games after coming off the bench
for most of the season, was told by Coach G to hunt for her shot. It
wasn't just enough to shoot when wide open; she had to be more active in
looking for opportunities, especially since she was getting a lot more
minutes as a starter. Vicki responded by nailing 2 threes in the first
two minutes, on passes from Harding and Currie off penetration. Two
minutes into the game, Duke had an 8-0 run as Georgia Tech coach MaChelle
Joseph called a time-out.

Tech's Megan Harpring hit a jumper to cut it to 8-2, but Duke responded
with a mind-bending 15-0 run that lasted eight minutes. Tech missed 8
shots and turned the ball over an unreal 9 times as Currie carved up the
Jackets with her passing. Brittany Hunter started the run with a
stickback, but Currie followed that up with a pass to Jessica Foley for a
three, a rebound and dish to Beard on a fast break, an entry pass into
Mistie Bass for a three point play, and a lob to Alison Bales for a post-up. Tech was playing zone but Duke attacked them inside anyway by
lobbing it over it; Bass finished the run by hitting Bales with a high-low
pass. The frenzied crowd of over 8,000 was loving every minute of it.

Tech tightened up their ship and outscored Duke 12-7 over the next four
minutes. Most of that scoring came from their one true star, Fallon
Stokes. She scored 9 points in a row for the Jackets, almost all of them
from the perimeter. Meanwhile, Coach G had dipped deep into her bench
with Caitlin Howe getting the call. Duke continued to move the ball
pretty well, with Hunter relocating out to Krapohl for another three,
Beard hitting a 15' baseline jumper and Foley getting some much-needed
confidence by scoring on a drive. Beard answered a Megan Harpring three
with one of her own, triggering a half-ending 19-2 run that ran the
Jackets out of the building.

It was once again triggered by Monique Currie, whose 4 consecutive
assists allowed the Devils to build up an early lead. After Hunter stuck
back a Currie miss, Monique stole the ball and hit Beard zipping down the
court for a fast break layup. Krapohl stole the ball and as Duke worked
the ball around, Currie found her for her 4th three of the half. Tech
threw the ball away and Currie drove and dished to Bales. Ali took a
jumper with such a high arc on it that it threatened to scrape the
ceiling, but the form was beautiful and it splashed into the basket. The
ailing Kasha Terry got her sole score of the game over Bales, but Currie
went inside with a lob to Hunter, who went upstairs to catch and lay it
in. Brit then got a steal and Mo fed her the ball on a cut to make it
46-16 with under a minute to go in the half.

Then came the play that showed how much passion Duke was playing with.
Mo went after Tech point guard Alex Stewart and scrapped on the floor for
a loose ball, finally flinging it to Krapohl. Vicki, realizing that she
was wide open, took and sank a three that raised the roof. Tech turned
the ball over again, but Duke couldn't score with 2 cracks at the basket
in the waning seconds of the half. Still, The Devils dominated Tech in
every phase of the game. They had a 31-2 advantage in points off
turnovers, 22-2 in points in the paint, 12-0 in second chance points
(despite 7 offensive rebounds from Tech) and an impressive 19-2 bulge in
bench points. Tech had as many turnovers as they did field goal attempts
(19). Duke had 20 field goals and 16 assists, with Currie breaking off an
astonishing 11 assists.

The key to the second half was simply to maintain intensity in the first
five minutes. That mission was accomplished after Harding stuck back a
Beard miss following a Stokes basket. Beard blocked Stokes and Bass got
the rebound, and then stroked a 15' foul-line jumper on a Krapohl feed.
Harding then stole the ball and Beard drove & kicked it to Krapohl for her
sixth three of the game. With under 18 minutes to go in the half, Duke
had extended their lead to 56-18.

Duke stopped trapping at this point and just played their regular
defense, but were still executing quite well in the half court. Currie
finally broke into the scoring column with a runner, Foley hit another
three thanks to Currie, and Beard hit a turnaround jumper in the post.
Tech was able to score enough to keep it at 40, but another three from
Foley, a Hunter three point play and a Beard 17' jumper made the score a
ridiculous 74-26 with eight minutes to go. Duke really called off the
dogs at that point, scoring just 7 points the rest of the way as Tech
managed 15.

Overall, the game was a good gut-check for the Devils, but there is
still work to do. A game with a greatly improved Wake Forest is on
Thursday and of course the rematch with UNC is a week from today.
February is often a month of doldrums for Duke, but that unexpected loss
may serve to be a season-long motivating factor.

** Negatives:

1. Blocking out. Rebounding was Duke's only negative in this game, and
one can see once again how much Tillis is missed. As Duke's best
defensive rebounder, she would have prevented a number of Tech's
second-chance opportunities.

** Positives:

1. Defensive pressure. The starters combined for 11 steals and 6 blocks
and forced Tech to become a jump-shooting team very early on. Tech never
had a chance to get into any kind of regular rhythm because of Duke's

2. Offensive patience. Duke looked to create a balanced offense by going
inside whenever possible, reversing from inside to outside for open shots,
and getting open jumpers through penetration. The Devils worked hard to
get the best possible shot on every possession and cut way down on
one-on-one play.

3. Valuing the ball. Duke gave Tech very few opportunities for easy
points by hanging onto the ball most of the time--just 9 team turnovers.
Beard and Krapohl both had 0, and Currie cut hers from 9 against FSU to 2


** Bass: Mistie had a quietly solid game after posting huge numbers
against FSU. I'm sure she was glad that she had much better support from
the bench this time around, but she made the most of her 23 minutes. She
hit one of those foul-line jumpers at which she's become so proficient.
Duke went to her early in the game with a couple-of post-ups, one
resulting in a three point play. She also fed Bales from the high post
for a basket, hit a hook shot in the second half, and did a solid job on
the boards. Since a bad game against Tennessee, Bass has become one of
Duke's most consistent players.

** Currie: Mo bounced back from an awful performance against FSU with a
tremendously unselfish game against the Jackets. She drove and found open
shooters all game long, and also smartly fed the post from the wing. Duke
had a solid game plan and she stuck to it and didn't freelance. Her shot
was off (missing all 3 threes) and she wasn't the force on the boards that
she usually is, but her overall defensive performance was superb. She led
Duke's trapping schemes and dominated Tech with her physical play. Simply
put, she found new ways to contribute and took advantage of them.

** Beard: Beard didn't have to work as hard as usual in this game, thanks
to Currie doing all of the passing and Krapohl all of the shooting.
Amazingly, Vicki had more field goal attempts than Alana and led the team
in scoring for the first time in her career. Beard certainly had her
moments, playing tremendous defense in the post and on the perimeter.
When she was on Fallon Stokes, Stokes simply didn't do much. Alana was
efficient on offense, scoring on 2 fast breaks, a three, a post-up and a
couple of mid-range jumpers. Beard also took a charge and didn't turn the
ball over. I imagine that she was pleased that her team didn't wait for
her to take over the game.

** Krapohl: Vicki's 6 threes were the second-best single-game showing in
Duke history, right behind Nicole Erickson's 7 treys against Clemson in
1999. Vicki looked for her shot and she found it, early and often. Most
teams are willing to let Duke take as many threes as they want, and the
Devils took advantage of this in the early going by getting good looks for
Krapohl. The key was that Duke's more athletic players drew away
attention from Vicki and then found her spotting up. She also didn't
hesitate, letting fly right away. This is crucial, because she has a slow
release, and any hesitation in her shot means that someone will have time
to come over and bother her. She didn't wind up with as many shots in the
second half because Tech had someone shadow her, but that just meant that
other players got openings. Beyond her tremendous 6-10 mark from beyond
the arc, she also had a couple of assists & steals and didn't turn the
ball over. My favorite play was taking a three with no one in front of
her late in the first half--that showed a lot of confidence in her own
shot. Being in the starting lineup again has certainly agreed with her,
and will hopefully fuel a strong February and March.

** Harding: Lindsey is dealing with a stress reaction in her foot, which
has limited her practice time. Coach G only used her for 19 minutes in
this game, the fewest minutes for any starter. The team cannot afford to
lose her because of rebounding, defensive ability and ballhandling. This
was not one of her more remarkable games, actually, getting a single
stickback, a couple of boards and 2 steals. She's been one of the team's
more consistent contributors in the past month, but that injury is
worrisome. Hopefully she'll get enough rest to prevent a stress fracture.

** Hunter: Brit's knee is allowing her to play more minutes now, and when
she's on the court & healthy, she contributes. Her main problem right now
is her propensity for fouling--she had 3 tonight and fouled out against
FSU (and her team badly needed her in that contest). Against a small Tech
team, she had her way inside, shooting 6-7, grabbing 9 rebounds and
blocking a shot. She twice was fouled hitting baskets and displayed her
athleticism by going high for a lob finish. Brit displayed her skill set
with a couple of smart assists and a nice drive & finish. We're still
only seeing a fraction of what she can do on the court, because her knee
is limiting her tremendous quickness on the court. Right now, we're
only seeing the power-game Brittany; when she's able to use her speed to
finish breaks and slide to the proper defensive spots to take charges,
you'll see how good she can truly become. There's no question that she'll
be crucial against UNC in the rematch.

** Foley: Jess has been struggling mightily over the last few games, but
she picked up her play and her overall energy level here. Jess needed to
see some shots go into the basket after her mediocre recent play, and she
got that here with 3-6 shooting from three as well as a nice drive. Foley
also hustled constantly, going after loose balls and rebounds. She also
took care of the ball when she handled it, another area of concern. A
solid game overall for Duke's most important perimeter reserve.

** Bales: Ali's confidence continues to grow as she gets more playing
time, especially at the offensive end. Her only miss was a contested
layup at a weird angle. She otherwise had a fine night, overpowering Tech
inside as she got good positioning. Best of all, she's not hesitating so
much on offense. When she caught the ball from Currie and Bass, she went
right up and scored. Her jumper was a thing of beauty and she was also
rather confident at the line. Defensively, she was still a bit slow and
didn't rebound as well as she's capable of. Ali also had a nice assist to
Foley for a three, going inside-out. Look for her to play quite a bit
against a Wake team with little size.

** Howe: Cait has been getting into games a bit earlier as of late, but
is still struggling a bit with the speed of the game. She missed 2 good
shots, one a drive and the other a three taken at a funny angle. Defense
is still a concern, but I'm glad to see her getting more meaningful game
action--if not for this year, than for next.

** Marsh & Morgan: The walk-ons got in in the game's last minute, but
didn't have any significant plays.

** Cameron Craziness: A cheer is born: "Oh Vicki, you're so fine, you're
so fine you blow my mind, Hey Vicki!"--obviously to the tune of Toni
Basil's finest song. Another favorite from the band: "Just like
football!" I got to Cameron a bit late and was lucky to get a seat
downstairs--the place was truly packed and was loud the whole time. A
number of high school teams were there and participated in a post-game
autograph session. The team was swarmed by hundreds of fans as they came
out, and Krapohl in particular had her own private mob. It's a shame that
there aren't more Saturday afternoon games on the schedule, because this
was a great environment. A welcome return was made by the YMCA trick
jump-rope team, who are by far the best halftime entertainment I've ever
seen in Cameron. Even the Dancing Devils had a good routine.