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Duke Frogstrangles TCU

This was a non-televised game, but the descriptions and stats point out the
same strengths and weaknesses that could be observed for Duke throughout the
season. Generally speaking, when Duke took a shot it was a good one. Duke's
size caused problems for a small but scrappy TCU team on the defensive end, but
Duke had problems fully taking advantage of this on the offensive end. There
was a lot of sloppiness and general disjointedness, which translated into
turnovers on the offensive end and fouls on the defensive end. Despite that,
Duke's depth, size and talent could not be held back forever. The Devils made
sure to take care of rebounding throughout the game. Once Duke found a lineup
that clicked, the team got on a roll and took away everything that TCU wanted
to do. The Devils have yet to put together a 40-minute game at a high level,
but even 5-10 minutes of that intensity is enough to crush many opponents.

TCU's record now is 2-5, but that's a deceiving mark, given their
nonconference schedule. They've played several ranked teams so as to provide
some seasoning for a young squad that's missing its senior superstar from a
season ago (Sandora Irvin). Playing at home was certainly going to provide a
boost, and that's just what happened in the first half. The Devils scored just
5 points in the opening 5 minutes, turning the ball over 6 times. Duke was
playing great defense, but only popped ahead on a Laura Kurz three nearly eight
minutes into the half--and that just made it 10-9.

Wanisha Smith carried over her good shooting from the Texas game to give Duke
a 4 point lead, but TCU climbed back into it. They had a chance to tie the
game at 15 but missed a free throw, and Kurz sank another three to make them
pay. The Devils held them at arm's length but no more, missing 6 straight
shots at one point. Finally, Abby Waner, Lindsey Harding and Mistie Williams
all scored, giving Duke a 5 point lead. TCU crawled back into the game, thanks
to multiple misses and trunovers from Duke. Smith hit Kurz on a cut to push the
lead to 28-25. A.Waner then missed 2 free throws, and TCU made Duke pay with a
fast break leading to a potential three point play. However, TCU's Jenna Lohse
missed the free throw that would have tied the game. Gay got the board and
Harding fed Kurz for another three. Laura then poked the ball away and
finished a fast break that Harding triggered. Harding then took a charge with
three seconds left, and then sank a 35' jumper at the half's buzzer. That
swung the momentum all the way in Duke's favor, and essentially ended the game.

Kurz had a brilliant first half with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. She
helped make up for Currie's foul trouble. What was nice was that these were
meaningful minutes when the game was still up for grabs. Her role as a
shooting post player worked to perfection, taking TCU outside while they
protected the paint from Duke's other bigs. Duke shot a decent 43% in the
half, 45% from three and held TCU to 30%. The Devils committed a hideous 17
turnovers, 7 of them by the post players trying to set up their teammates.
TCU's quickness allowed them to step in front of too many passes that weren't
thrown precisely enough.

In the second half, Duke was on a mission to remove the slightest doubt as to
the outcome of the game. Right away, Duke burst out of the games with a 16-5
run. Duke pounded it inside on the first two possessions, with Harding hitting
Williams and Mistie then finding Alison Bales for a three point play. After a
very slow start, Currie woke up with 5 straight points. Within four minutes,
Duke was up 52-32. The lead hovered in this area for awhile, with TCU cutting
it to 15. Duke was now successfully getting the ball inside, and Black
responded with some free throws and a layup.

The Horned Frogs then went nearly six minutes without any scoring, and Duke
slowly pulled away. With eight minutes to go, Duke was up by 33. In the last
five minutes of the game, TCU only scored 2 points, while Duke put up 15. The
Devils wore down another opponent, scoring 56 points in the half, shooting 57%
and committing just 6 turnovers. Duke had assists on 23 of its 30 baskets,
which shows how Duke is running their offense this year.

Duke will have a lot to work on when exams are over. Things are going to go
non-stop once the first break ends, as the Devils have a couple of home games,
go out west for a tournament, and then return to start the ACC season. The
Devils have to bring down their turnover and foul numbers, which will come as
the younger players figure things out. So far, Duke has gained plenty of
experience on the road, winning in some hostile gyms with good-sized crowds.
Now is the time when roles will become a little more fine-tuned, and hard
decisions made about playing time.