Duke advanced to the ACC Tournament Championship game by defeating #2 seed Florida State 75-57. Once again, Duke shot over 50% from the field as they continue to play their best basketball of the season. The Blue Devils avenged an overtime loss in Tallahassee behind a balanced attack which produced four players in double figures.
Jasmine Thomas led the way with 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting. Many of her buckets helped Duke thwart a second half Seminole rally which cut a 22 point half time advantage to just 10 points. Coach Joanne P. McCallie called timeout and the Blue Devils regained their edge as they rolled to an unexpected easy win.
"Just an excellent strong game for us. Our team really worked hard defensively. I thought we played well, very well off each other, defensively and offensively. A good start, and pretty thorough throughout the game despite one small area of giving up a few 3's in transition," said McCallie in her opening statement to the media.
Helping Thomas on the offensive end were seniors Careem Gay with 13 and 11 points . Karima Christmas had 12 points and Abby Waner tallied 9 points.
Once again the Blue Devils were able to utilize their bench with nine players 12 minutes or more. Duke played all twelve players in the contest and their bench won the scoring battle 22-12.
As good as the offense has been, this years team relies on it's stingy defense. Florida State managed hot 20 of 59 shots, going 33.9% for the game. And an even more telling stat was the Blue Devils outscored their opponent in the paint 38-14.
After two surprisingly even games, Duke is in for a battle tomorrow against Maryland. The Terps won the most exciting game of the tournament defeating North Carolina 95-84. The game provided many streaks and had the crowd jumping.
Maryland guard Kristin Toliver hit all 13 of her free throws, scoring 25 points to go with 5 assists. But the star of this game was teammate Marisa Coleman. The first team All ACC performer hit a sizzling 9 of 13 from the field to help her finish the game with 29 points.
The Terps hit 28 of 36 free throws, while the Tar Heels made it to the line just 13 times. North Carolina finishes 26-6 and awaits their seeding which takes place next week.
The Duke - Maryland contest is a game of contrasting styles. During the post game press conferences, Coach P pointed to defense while Maryland coach Brenda Frese talked of offense.
The Terps could be the most balanced team in the ACC. The two teams split the series during the regular season, each winning at home. Frese promised a sea of red tomorrow.
"I personally can't think of anything better playing in a championship against Maryland my senior year, not referencing anything specific, of course. We know them well. They know us well. So therefore it's not about who can scout better. It's not about who can prepare better. It's a head-to-head match-up that we know very well. So it's going to come down to who wants it more," said Duke senior Abby Waner.
Duke will also have to find a way to keep the Terp's solid front line in check.
"Maryland's bigs, they were very effective against Carolina; Coleman and Toliver went to the foul line 26 times, so they attacked the basket a lot today, how do you prepare for that?," said Waner.
Duke fans need to turn out at the Greensboro Coliseum in force to support their team. There is no love lost between these two teams and the game is sure to be entertaining.
Some kudos are in order - While there was little defense in the game, Maryland and UNC excited the crowd and both teams deserve a pat on the back for the show. The ACC Tournament organizers do a fabulous job in Greensboro. Their hospitality and organization are top notch and it's been a pleasure to cover the event. The Duke Women are on fire and Coach P has these women on the same page at the right time. Look for out ACC Tournament Photo Gallery Monday.
From out friends at GoDuke.com -
GREENSBORO, N.C.-- For the second straight game, Duke shot over 50.0 percent from the field and went on to cruise to a 75-57 victory over 12th-ranked Florida State on Saturday in the ACC Tournament semifinals in Greensboro, N.C.
Duke will next take on Maryland in Sunday's ACC Championship at 1:00 p.m., on Fox Sports Net.
Blue Devil Postgame Notes * No. 2 seed Florida State vs. No. 3 seed Duke * March 7, 2009
ACC Tournament Semifinals
With The Duke Victory:
* Will next face top-seeded Maryland in the ACC Championship game on Sunday, March 8 at 1:00 p.m. The game will be aired live on Fox Sports Net.
* Moved to 6-0 all-time against Florida State in ACC Tournament play.
* Increased the series record to 29-8 all-time against the Seminoles.
* Improved to 26-4 overall on the season.
* Moved to 23-4 all-time in the ACC Tournament when the games have been played in the Greensboro Coliseum. Overall, Duke owns a 25-5 record in games played in the Greensboro Coliseum.
* Joanne P. McCallie improved to 28-10 all-time in conference tournament action.
* Now owns 23 ACC Tournament victories in ACC Tournament play since 2000.
* Improved to 32-26 all-time in ACC Tournament play.
* Won its second straight ACC Tournament game against a ranked opponent and improved to 8-3 on the year against ranked teams.
* Improved to 5-4 all-time against No. 2 seeds, but won its fifth straight contest.
Senior Chante Black
* Moved into a tie for eighth place on Duke's all-time points list with 1409.
* With her five free throws made, moved into eighth place on Duke's all-time list with 299.
* Pulled down eight rebounds to move into 23rd place on the ACC career rebounding list with 971.
* Finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in 24 minutes.
* Will play in her third ACC Championship game on Sunday - 2005 and 2008 were both losses.
Senior Abby Waner
* Hit three three-pointers marking the 10th time out of the last 14 games she has hit two or more treys.
* Has nailed 7-of-10 from downtown in the two ACC Tournament games.
* Has hit 50.0 percent or better in back-to-back games from three-point range for the first time this season.
* Finished hitting 3-of-4 from three-point land, had nine points and three assists.
* Has now hit 22 career three-pointers in the ACC Tournament, which ranks Duke's all-time leader in ACC Tournament action. Her 22 treys also ranks as the fourth-highest total in ACC history.
Senior Carrem Gay
* Registered double-figure scoring for the fourth time out of the last six games.
* Had 13 points, nine rebounds, two assists and one steal in 23 minutes.
Sophomore Karima Christmas
* Totaled double-figure scoring for only the sixth time this season with 10 points.
Sophomore Jasmine Thomas
* Registered 14 points, five assists and two rebounds in 29 minutes.
* Had double-digits in three out of the last four games.
* After hitting only 1-of-7 field goals the day before, hit 6-of-9 shots.
Other Duke Notes:
* For the second straight game, Duke shot over 50.0 percent from the field in the first half (53.1). In two ACC Tournament games, the Blue Devils have shot 55.7 percent in the first half this year (34-61).
* Held a 38-14 points in the paint advantage.
* Held FSU to 18 points in the first half marking the 14th time out of 30 games the Blue Devils have held an opponent to 22 points or fewer in the first stanza.
* Hit 51.8 percent from the field marking the second straight game the Blue Devils have hit over 50.0 percent from the field in the ACC Tournament. The back-to-back 50.0 percent shooting in the ACC Tournament was only the second time it has ever happened for the Blue Devils. The other time was in 2000 when Duke won the ACC.
* Held FSU to 57 points marking the 22nd time out of 30 games Duke has held an opponent to 58 points or under.
* Collected a 22-12 bench points lead.
* After getting outrebounded in the last contest, Duke held a 36-31 advantage on the day.
* In two games, has hit 15-of-25 from three-point land for a 60.0 percentage