Category Archives: Duke Women’s Basketball

ACC’s best, Duke Women cut the nets

Jasmine Thomas and Duke cut the nets

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The final buzzer sounded, and Duke’s Joy Cheek flung the ball toward the ceiling before locking fellow seniors Keturah Jackson and Bridgette Mitchell in a long, lasting hug.

Whoop it up, ladies. You’ve finally got an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title.

No. 9 Duke captured its first ACC championship since 2004 by beating North Carolina State 70-60 on Sunday behind 18 points from tournament MVP Jasmine Thomas.

Karima Christmas added 13 points for the Blue Devils (27-5), who forced 23 turnovers and outrebounded the Wolfpack 46-32 in claiming their sixth ACC title and first since winning five in a row from 2000-04.

“To have the opportunity to be here again, after having lost those three years, it was just now or never,” Mitchell said.

For these Blue Devils’ seniors, their final game in Greensboro came with some fitting symmetry. They were freshmen in 2007 when Duke was undefeated, ranked No. 1 nationally and rolling toward an inevitable title when they were upset in the semifinals by an N.C. State team inspired by coach Kay Yow’s feel-good midseason return.

Duke made it to the championship in each of the three years that followed under coach Joanne P. McCallie, but the Blue Devils were stopped by powerful No. 1 seeds in both 2008 and ’09. This time, the No. 1 seed belonged to them – and they took full advantage.

“We had this goal in mind, because three of us have seen us go to the ACC tournament championship and come up short,” Cheek said. “The balloons and the streamers, we had to watch them fall down for someone else. And so we didn’t want to have to see that happen again. It was an embarrassing feeling, and we just didn’t want to feel like that again.”

Nikitta Gartrell had 19 points to lead the sixth-seeded Wolfpack (20-13). They were denied in their bid to become the first team to win four games in four days here and were out for their third upset of a ranked team in eight days.

“I’m extremely proud of our team for so many reasons,” first-year coach Kellie Harper said. “But in that locker room … I was proud of them for wanting more. They’re hurt that they didn’t win this game, and I am so proud of that.”

Cheek had 11 points while Thomas, who averaged 16 points in the tournament, added six rebounds and six assists. Duke took the lead for good by reeling off 14 consecutive points during a 23-7 run midway through the first half, went up by 18 with about 8½ minutes remaining and refused to allow N.C. State to complete a second comeback in two days.

Brittany Strachan hit two 3-pointers in a 34-second span to pull the Wolfpack within 65-56 with just under 3 minutes left, but they couldn’t get any closer.

The Blue Devils’ reward: A banner to hang at Cameron Indoor Stadium and roughly two weeks off before they make 16th straight NCAA tournament appearance – on their home court, no less.

“It’s kind of like the appetizer before the big meal, and it’s a very, very good appetizer,” said McCallie, the first coach in Division I history to win conference tournaments in four different leagues.

Duke won the first meeting 70-39 on Feb. 11, and while it controlled the rematch throughout, this one was nowhere near that lopsided: The Blue Devils’ largest lead came when Cheek’s jumper made it 60-42 with 8:18 left.

Bonae Holston added 14 points for the Wolfpack, who reached the title game for the 14th time, but first since the 2007 team’s Yow-inspired run.

“Winning is a big part of how we’ve been acting lately,” Gartrell said. “Our confidence and everything has been sky high. We can’t drop our heads and let our confidence go away because we have NCAAs to worry about now.”

Three years after that unlikely ride, and a year after her death, and the late coach still was never far from anybody’s mind. Hanging from the rafters behind one basket was a banner bearing her name in pink, the color of breast-cancer awareness, with an inverted ribbon replacing the “Y” in her last name. Harper, her replacement, was trying to become the first first-year coach to win the women’s tournament.

She helped N.C. State rally from 10 points down to beat Boston College in the semifinals. Early on in this one, Duke’s full-court pressure put the Wolfpack in that unwelcome position again.

That aggressive defense wound up proving too much for N.C. State, especially during the first-half run that put the Blue Devils on their way to the title. They forced 15 turnovers in the opening half – 10 during that spurt, and many of those created by the press that continually frustrated the Wolfpack.

Duke Women to face Maryland or UNC in ACC Tournament

ACC Tournament Quarterfinals

Maryland (18-11, 5-9 ACC) or North Carolina (18-10, 6-8 ACC) vs. #9/8 Duke (24-5, 12-2 ACC)

Friday, March 5, 2010  •  3:00 PM (RSN-TV)

Greensboro, N.C. (Greensboro Coliseum)

Media Information

Tip-off: 3:00 PM

TV: RSN-TV (Fox Sports Net South, HD) – (Mike Hogewood-PXP, Debbie Antonelli-Color)

Radio: Duke ISP Network – 620 The Buzz with Steve Barnes (PBP), Morgan Patrick (Color);

XM Radio 190 and Sirius 216

Online Radio: www.GoDuke.com

Twitter: DukeWBBSID & CoachPDuke

Facebook: Official Duke Women’s Basketball Group

Rankings: Duke (No. 9 – AP, No. 8 – ESPN/USA Today)

Series: UNC leads 45-33; Maryland leads 37-35

Head Coaches: Duke:  Joanne P. McCallie (392-169, 18th Season);

North Carolina: Sylvia Hatchell (830-292, 35th Season)

Maryland:  Brenda Frese (251-101, 11th Season)

Blue Devils Open ACC Tournament on Friday Versus Maryland or North Carolina…

The ninth-ranked and No. 1 seeded Duke women’s basketball team (24-5, 12-2 ACC) will open the ACC Tournament on Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., in the quarterfinals against the winner of the No. 8 seed North Carolina (18-10, 6-8 ACC) versus No. 9 seed Maryland (18-10, 6-8 ACC) contest.  All games will be played at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.

The game will be televised live nationally on Fox Sports South in high definition with Mike Hogewood (PXP) and Debbie Antonelli (Color) calling the action.  Fans can also hear the Blue Devils on the Duke ISP Radio Network on WDNC AM 620 with Steve Barnes (PXP) and Morgan Patrick (Color) on the air.  The radio is also available online at www.GoDuke.com, on XM Radio 190 and Sirius 216.  Duke is currently ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press and No. 8 in the ESPN/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll.

The Maryland/North Carolina contest will take place on Thursday, March 4 at 3:00 p.m.  If Duke were to win the contest on Friday, the Blue Devils would play on Saturday in the semifinals at 1:00 p.m.  The championship game will be played on Sunday, March 7 at 1:00 p.m.

Noting Duke…

Duke is coming off shooting a season-low 26.4 percent from the field against North Carolina to close the regular season, while its 54.2 free throw percentage was a season-low against ACC opponents … during the first 11 games of 2009, Duke only took five charges, but over the last 18 contests the players have taken 21 (Shay Selby – 6, Allison Vernerey – 5, Karima Christmas - 5) … the Blue Devils are the only team in the ACC to have beaten a ranked non-conference opponent this season (No. 3 OSU and No. 25 JMU) …  the Blue Devils hold a 1030-526 points in the paint advantage on the year … Duke has been listed in the top 25 of the AP poll for 203 straight weeks, which is the longest current streak in the ACC and third nationally.

The Series With North Carolina…

The Blue Devils and Tar Heels have met 78 times in school history with North Carolina leading the overall series, 45-33.  Duke has won 19 of the last 30 games.  In games played in the ACC Tournament, the Blue Devils own a 4-6 record against the Tar Heels.  UNC has won two straight in the championship game, but Duke had won four in a row prior to the two losses.

Blue Devil Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie has faced North Carolina nine times over her 18 years as a head coach.  McCallie has a 2-7 record against the Tar Heels.  She lost two of those contests while as head coach at Maine.  McCallie’s squad faced North Carolina in the 2000 NCAA Tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif., and fell 62-57 on March 18.  The Black Bears also lost, 68-52, on Dec. 28, 1996 on a neutral site.  Since joining Duke, McCallie has notched a 2-5 mark.

The Series With Maryland…

Duke and Maryland have meet 72 times in school history. The Blue Devils trail, 37-35, in the series.  Duke has won 23 of the last 30 contests against the Terrapins.

In games played in the ACC Tournament, Duke owns a 4-6 record against the Terrapins.

Blue Devil Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie has faced Maryland 10 times in her 18-year coaching career, while notching a 4-6 overall record. In 2005, McCallie’s Michigan State team fell 75-61 in the Paradise Jam on Nov. 25, 2005. The Spartans traveled to Maryland on Jan. 6, 2007, and lost 97-57. Since taking the Duke job, McCallie has posted a 4-4 record against the Terrapins.

Storylines/Other Blue Devil Notes…

• Duke has won 15 straight opening round games in the ACC Tournament and has advanced to at least the semifinals every year since 1995.  The Blue Devils have won 23 out of the last 28 contests in the ACC Tournament.

• The Blue Devils have won five ACC Championships over the last 10 years and have advanced to the ACC title game a total of nine times.  Duke has a record of 9-6 in the semifinals and 5-5 in championship games.                                                                          •        Since 1995, Duke has entered the ACC Tournament six times coming off a loss to end the regular season.  The Blue Devils went on to advance to the ACC Championship game four times and won the 2000 ACC title.

• In Duke’s 32 years in the ACC Tournament, the Blue Devils own a 2-1 all-time record against No. 8 seeds and a 6-0 record versus No. 9 seeds.  The only loss to a No. 8 seed was in 1993 against Wake Forest, 70-69.  The Blue Devils own a 4-6 record against both North Carolina and Maryland in the ACC Tournament.

• With her six assists at UNC on Feb. 28, Jasmine Thomas became the 10th player in Duke history to notch over 1,000 points and 300 assists.  She currently owns 1,039 points and 304 assists in three years.

• With one more victory, Duke will register 25 or more wins for the 12th straight season.

• Over the last five games, Karima Christmas has averaged 14.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.4 steals, 1.6 assists and 0.8 blocks.  She has notched double-digit scoring in four out of the last five contests.  Christmas had a career-high 25 points and a career-high four three-pointers made against Maryland on Feb. 21.  Christmas had hit only two treys the last 12 games prior to the Terrapin contest.

• After not scoring more than 10 points over the last 11 games, senior Joy Cheek has notched 17 points, 13 points and 10 points the last three contests.  She has hit 5-of-10 treys the last four games and had hit only two from downtown the last 10 contests.    During the last three games, Cheek has averaged 13.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals.

• Six different Blue Devils have registered 20+ points in a game this season, which leads the ACC.  Allison Vernerey, Jasmine Thomas, Krystal Thomas, Bridgette Mitchell, Joy Cheek and Bridgette Mitchell have all scored 20 or more points this year in a game.  Both Georgia Tech and Maryland are second with five different players.

• Junior Jasmine Thomas moved into ninth place on Duke’s all-time steals list with 183 for her career, while Keturah Jackson is four away from 10th place as well.

• Over her first three years at Duke, senior Bridgette Mitchell registered eight double-figure scoring games, while this year the 6’0 wing has collected 10 games with double-digit scoring.

• Sophomore guard Chelsea Hopkins has missed the last four contests with soreness in her left knee.  She is listed as day-to-day.

• In her three years at Duke, junior Jasmine Thomas has increased her field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage and scoring each year.

• Senior Keturah Jackson has a career high with eight three-pointers made in a single season.  Over her four years, she has hit 12 treys and had drained only five her first three years.

• In three years at Duke, Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie has notched four victories against top-five ranked teams — #3/3 Ohio State in 2009-10, #3/4 Stanford in 2008-09, while knocking off #4/3 Rutgers and #5/4 Maryland in 2007-08.

• In the latest NCAA RPI, Duke is fifth behind Connecticut, Stanford, Tennessee and Nebraska.  FSU is 12th, which is the next ACC squad.

• Duke is sixth in the latest RPI by Jeff Sagarin — Connecticut (108.07), Stanford (101.67), Nebraska (100.15), Tennessee (98.00), Notre Dame (94.82) and Duke (93.87). The next closest ACC school is Florida State at No. 11 (91.00).

• Junior Krystal Thomas has moved into eighth place on Duke’s all-time blocked shots list with 121.  She is nine blocked shots shy of seventh place all-time on the Blue Devil charts.

• To show how tough Duke’s schedule has been this year, the Blue Devils went up against eight undefeated teams this season — Connecticut (17-0), Ohio State (8-0), James Madison (7-0), Stanford (7-0), Western Kentucky (3-0), Georgia Southern (1-0), Houston Baptist (0-0) and Texas A&M (0-0).

• The final Coach P Radio Show of 2009-10 will take place on Tuesday, March 16 at 6:00 p.m.  The show will be stationed at Satisfaction Restaurant in Durham at Brightleaf Square.  Make sure you get there early to secure a seat.

• Follow DukeWBBSID on and CoachPDuke on Twitter to get the latest updates on Duke women’s basketball.  Also, join the “Official Duke Women’s Basketball Group” on Facebook to get the latest video, pictures and more.  Join both now as they are free!  You can win free prizes each week on both Twitter and Facebook, so make sure you follow closely.

Duke/North Carolina Storylines…

• If Duke and UNC meet on Friday, it would mark the first time in the series history the two teams have faced each other in back-to-back games.

• The last two times Duke and UNC have played in the ACC Tournament, the Tar Heels have come away on top (2008 and 2005).

• Junior Jasmine Thomas could go up against her former AAU teammate, Chay Shegog on Friday.  Thomas is from Fairfax, Va., while Shegog is out of Stafford, Va., and they played for the Fairfax Stars.

• If Duke and North Carolina meet on Friday, it will be for one point in the Carlyle Cup, which is a year-long competition between the Blue Devils and Tar Heels and is sponsored by Carlyle & Co.  Currently, UNC leads 10.0-5.5.

Duke/Maryland Storylines…

• If Duke and Maryland meet on Friday, the Blue Devils would face the Terrapins for the third time this season.  It would mark the third straight year Duke and Maryland would have faced each other three times.

• Freshman Allison Vernerey could go up against one of her good friends, freshman Diandra Tchatchouang, of Maryland on Friday.  Vernerey is from Alsace, France, while Tchatchouang is out of La Courneuve, France.

The duo played together on the French National teams the following years — U-16 (2005, 2006, 2007), U-18 (2008).  They both captained the 2007 European Championship winning team.

Vernerey played her basketball at Mulhouse from age 11 through 16 and last year she played at Illkirch-Graffenstaden in NF1.  Tchatchouang played basketball for the CFBB (the French national Basketball academy) from 2005-09.

Duke Players Vs. North Carolina…

Jasmine Thomas has notched double-figure scoring in five straight games against UNC, while averaging 13.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 steals.

Over the last three games, Karima Christmas has notched double-digit scoring in two out of the last three games — a team-high 14 points in the last meeting.

Joy Cheek notched double-figure scoring for the first time in her career against UNC in the last meeting in Chapel Hill, N.C., as she posted 10 points.

Duke Players Vs. Maryland…

In the last meeting with the Terrapins, Karima Christmas notched a career-high 25 points, career-high four three-pointers, four rebounds and four steals.  She has notched 10+ points in two out of the last three contests against Maryland.

Joy Cheek collected double-digit scoring four times over her 10 contests she has played against Maryland.

Duke In The ACC Championship…

Duke has advanced to the ACC Championship game in eight out of the last 10 years … the Blue Devils have won five ACC Championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) … Duke knocked off UNC for the ACC title in 2000, 2002, 2002, 2003 and 2004 … in the Greensboro Coliseum, Duke owns a 5-3 record in the ACC title game.

Since the ACC Championship was moved to Greensboro in 2000, only Duke (2000-04), North Carolina (2005-08) and Maryland (2009) have won the title.

ACC Tournament Wins…

Since 2000, Duke leads the league with 23 victories in ACC Tournament action.  The Blue Devils have notched a 23-5 mark, while the Tar Heels are second at 22-5.

Duke Playing in Greensboro…

With the ACC Tournament moving to Greensboro in 2000, Duke’s luck in the postseason changed greatly as the Blue Devils won 17 consecutive games to claim the ACC Tournament crowns from 2000-04 before losing to North Carolina in the championship in 2005.  Duke has recorded a 25-6 ledger playing at the Greensboro Coliseum.  It had been nicknamed Duke’s “Home Away From Home.”

The first two victories came in 1999 in the NCAA East Regional against Old Dominion and Tennessee. The victories advanced Duke to its first NCAA Final Four and National Championship game appearance.  In ACC Tournament games, the Blue Devils have posted a 23-5 overall record in Greensboro.

The Blue Devils In the ACC Tournament…

ACC Tournament time had never been good to Duke until the year 2000 came around.  Duke posted its first tournament crown as the Blue Devils downed FSU, Georgia Tech and UNC in 2000 and then won four more titles in 2001, ‘02, ‘03 and ‘04.  The Blue Devils are seeded No. 1 for the eighth time in school history and the first since 2007.

Duke has advanced to the ACC Championship game the past two years in a row since Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie took over the reigns.

No women’s ACC team besides Duke has ever won five consecutive ACC Tournament titles and only one ACC men’s team has won five in a row– Duke from 1999-2003.

McCallie In Tournament Play…

In her 18 years as a head coach, Joanne P. McCallie has produced a 28-11 record in league tournament action.  She totaled an 8-1 mark in the North Atlantic Conference Tournament with two titles, a 10-2 record along with two titles in the America East Tournament, a 6-6 mark with one title in the Big Ten Tournament and a 4-2 mark in the ACC Tournament.

Duke Players in the ACC Tournament…

Both Jasmine Thomas and Karima Christmas are coming off averaging double-figure points in the 2009 ACC Tournament.  Thomas averaged 11.0 points and 5.3 assists in three games started.  Christmas scored at a 10.3 clip, while hitting 54.5 percent of her field goals.

Thomas has notched double-figure scoring in three out of the six ACC Tournament contests she has played.

Senior Joy Cheek has appeared in a team-high eight ACC Tournament games, while posting double-figure scoring in four of those.

For a full set of game notes, click on www.GoDuke.com

Duke women clinch ACC regular season crown

DURHAM, N.C.—With an 83-65 victory on Friday night against No. 21 Virginia, the sixth-ranked Duke women’s basketball team clinched its ninth ACC Regular Season title in school history and the first under the direction of Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie.  The Blue Devils were led by junior Jasmine Thomas with 21 points and freshman Allison Vernerey added 17.

The trio of Duke seniors – Joy Cheek, Keturah Jackson and Bridgette Mitchell – combined for 25 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots on the night.

Duke will close the regular season on Sunday, Feb. 28 at North Carolina at 3:00 PM on Fox Sports Net.

For a full recap, click on www.GoDuke.com

Blue Devil Postgame Notes   *  Virginia  *  February 26, 2010

With The Duke Victory:

  • Improved to 24-4, 12-1 in the ACC.
  • Clinched first place in the ACC Regular Season standings claiming its ninth ACC Regular Season title in school history.
  • Coach P notched her seventh career regular season title as a head coach – Maine (5), Michigan State (1).
  • Won its 17th straight game against Virginia.
  • Collected its 12th ACC victory of the season, which is the most in the three years at Duke for Coach P.
  • Totaled its 10th consecutive win versus the Cavaliers in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
  • Notched its 16th consecutive win in Cameron Indoor Stadium against ACC teams.
  • Won its 38th game out of the last 42 and 52nd out of the last 56 contests in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
  • Coach P improved to 27-4 all-time in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
  • Has notched a 133-10 record at Cameron Indoor Stadium the last 10 years.

Junior Jasmine Thomas

  • Moved into a tie for 10th place on Duke’s all-time steals list with 180.
  • Totaled six assists on the night, which is a season-high against ACC opponents.
  • Registered her ninth 20+ points game of the season.
  • Finished with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists.
  • Collected 18 or more points in her seventh game against ACC opponents this season.
  • Notched double-digit scoring for the 24th time this season and the 51st career time.
  • Was recognized following the game for becoming the 26th player in Duke history to notch 1,000 career points.

Senior Joy Cheek

  • Finished the game with 13 points and six rebounds on her senior night.
  • Notched double-digit scoring for the second straight game and the 13th time this season.

Junior Krystal Tomas

  • After scoring zero points and having only three rebounds in the first half, notched nine points and six rebounds in the second half.
  • Finished the game with nine points, nine rebounds, two steals, two blocks and one assist in 33 minutes.

Senior Bridgette Mitchell

  • Posted eight points, four rebounds and three assists on her senior night.

Junior Karima Christmas

  • Came off the bench to notch nine points, six rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes.

Freshman Allison Vernerey

  • Broke a string of three straight games without scoring double-figures as she notched 17 points on the night.
  • Added five rebounds, two blocks and one steal in 27 minutes.
  • Hit a career-high 8-of-8 from the field.
  • Started the second half in place of Krystal Thomas after notching six points and four rebounds in 12 minutes in the first half.
  • Will turn 19 years old on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010.
  • Totaled double-digit scoring for the 10th time this season.

Other Duke Notes:

  • Outrebounded Virginia, 26-14, in the second half go on to outrebound the Cavaliers, 41-35.  Was outrebounded 21-15 in the first half.
  • Hit its first seven shots of the second half to open a 51-36 lead with 13:59 remaining.
  • Shot 52.9 percent from the field in the second half.
  • Its 47.7 percent field goal percentage was a season high against ACC opponents.
  • Held a 44-20 points in the paint advantage.
  • Collected 25 points off Virginia’s 19 turnovers.
  • Swatted eight shots by four different players.
  • Had 28 points off the bench.
  • Seniors Joy Cheek, Keturah Jackson and Bridgette Mitchell were recognized prior to the game for senior day.
  • Will close out the regular season on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 3:00 PM against North Carolina.  The game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net.

Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie

Opening statement:

“It was just a tremendous second half by everybody. I’m very proud of our team, it was great team basketball, much better defense, rebounding, and attacking. Jasmine [Thomas’] leadership in the second half and her attack mode, Allison [Vernerey] starting us off right away and being so aggressive, and Joy [Cheek] was steady Joy all the way through, rebounding and scoring and doing the things that she does. It was really a team effort, I’m very happy for the seniors; I thought all of them played pretty well and were very aggressive. It’s one game and we’ve got a second game to make it a two game weekend but we’re very excited for the next game as well.”

On the difference in getting the ball inside in the second half:

“I thought that the team and players changed the focus and got the ball in more effectively. I thought that we were a little wild in the first 10 minutes of the first half.”

On winning the ACC regular season title:

“I think it’s just great and reflects this team totally. This team has been working hard since summer, everyone has done their part. They’ve been steady and consistent and it’s really been the team’s mindset. It’s special for Duke, it’s always special to capture titles, that’s what it’s all about.”

On Allison’s play in the beginning of the second half:

“The game is a long time and I think that Allison got us started in the right way. The ball went inside, Allison was aggressive, and there were some great passes from Jasmine to get the ball inside as well as finding Joy. Allison can be so aggressive for the basketball; I think that aggressiveness bleeds off to everyone else. Everyone feels good about what is going on. There were a lot of key plays; Jasmine’s attacks in the second half were very key and she hit some critical shots, Allison and what she was doing, her strong moves to the basket and Joy as well, I just think we were at a higher level of attack mode than we were in the first half.”

On the quick turnaround to Sunday and what they can improve on in that time:

“There are a lot of things that we can improve on. I mean we were losing the rebounding battle for forever this game and I’m so happy for the team that they recovered. That would have been a whole lot more film watching. You’ve got to want the ball and the ball has to be a part of us, I just think that we settled down. It’s always hard to get started on a Senior Day, it’s special. Emotions run high and that’s good and bad, you can’t play a 40-minute game based on emotion. You’ve got to play on an even keel. I think we found that even keel in the second half and were able to maintain it throughout. We can grow a whole lot, we’ve got to get the assist numbers up, the turnovers down, be more consistent with the rebounding. Maybe we can pick up a few more things from a few more people as well. It feels good and this team has worked very hard, they deserve a championship, they deserve many championships. We’ve been so close at the ACC Tournament, that’s been frustrating, but that’s a little too far ahead. We’ve got another game across the way and that’s what’s next for us.”

Senior Joy Cheek

On winning an ACC regular season championship as a senior:

“It’s special. It’s great to do it again, especially as a senior.  I’m really looking forward to the ACC Championship and beating Carolina at home would be great.  We’ve got to move on to the next games, but it’s nice to do this as a senior.”

On how it felt to walk off the court on senior night:

“I still don’t think of this as the last game.  I think the last NCAA game that we have will resonant a little more.  I felt like I was coming back after tonight.  That was the mindset that I had.  I guess I’ll have another senior night.”

Freshman Allison Vernerey

On fitting into the team:

“You never what your role and your position is going to be when you arrive, but I was coming here to give whatever I have to give.  That is just what I’m trying to do.”

Junior Jasmine Thomas

On getting excited to play Virginia:

“I don’t think so, not anymore than for any other game.  It is nice to play against Monica [Wright] and [Paulisha] Kellum, and [Ariana] Moorer because I know them from home.”

Blue Devil Women close in on regular season title by defeating Maryland

DURHAM, N.C.—Junior Karima Christmas registered a career-high 25 points as the eighth-ranked Blue Devils downed Maryland, 71-59, on Sunday afternoon in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  The Blue Devils won their 15th straight ACC game at home and are now one victory away from clinching first place in the ACC.

Joy Cheek added 17 points and junior Jasmine Thomas became the 26th player in Duke history to register 1,000 career points as she finished with eight.

Duke will next host Virginia on Friday, Feb. 26 at 8:30 p.m., which will mark senior night for Cheek, Keturah Jackson and Bridgette Mitchell.

For a full recap, click on www.GoDuke.com

Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie

Opening statement:

“Just really proud of our fight in a 40-hour turnaround. We had a tough game at Georgia Tech and coming back to play. I’m really proud of our team’s poise and focus and their maturity in dealing with a situation where you don’t really have a practice per se before you play again. So, I’m very proud of our team, our effort, our fight especially in the second half in particular I thought we did some very good things there.  Karima [Christmas] was outstanding. She was attacking at all times, very aggressive, very confident, and showed a tremendous amount of leadership on the floor, which was just so fun to watch. And Joy [Cheek] was incredible playing the three, playing the four, running different out of bounds plays from different spots when Jas[mine Thomas] was on the bench or KJ [Keturah Jackson] was out. We had enormous foul trouble; leadership was critical to this game, and Joy just stepped right into that role whether she was passing, whether she was scoring, or whether she simply was telling everybody what to do out there, or what defense to be in. It was a good game for us. We can play better, certainly, but it was a good game especially considering the circumstances.”

On this game’s similarities to the previous tough match-up at Georgia Tech:

“I think they look to each other, they’re a very confident group. I think KJ [Keturah Jackson] said it in the locker room. She said, ‘Our huddles are tight,’ she was sort of joking about it because I think they might have knocked heads or something. But, what I mean by that is I think our huddles are tight. I think this team is very focused, they’re all looking in the same direction, and they’re excited by the challenge at hand. We all know it’s not going to be easy. You can’t get thinking at all that lopsided scores are the way things go. You can have some lopsided games, but those are really not at all what it boils down to especially in the NCAA tournament. So, the bottom line is that you’ve got to love a fight, and I think this team keeps the huddles tight and loves the fight.”

On scores down the stretch off of offensive rebounds:

“I think we had great shots. I don’t view that as a struggle in any way. I thought we got to the foul line. I think an offensive rebound is as good a play as any play, and I like that we got put backs in different places that were necessary. I thought it was a great finish.”

On Karima Christmas’ play today:

“Karima can be a monster on the boards. She’s incredible that way. I just think it was her attack; she was not satisfied. She did hit some great shots as you saw, but she wasn’t just playing from the outside in, I think she played from the inside out meaning she was going off the dribble, going around people. Karima is so athletic that she has that ability in midair to sort of change directions. So, she could get around people at the rim and finish at the rim, and I think that’s very important. It was great to see. And like I said, Karima never looked tired either, and that was the beauty of it. Considering our situation, I really thought the team looked tough and strong, and actually got better as the game went. That’s what it appeared to me. The first half was a little funny feeling; we had to sort of dust ourselves off after the first half. But in the second half I thought we got better as the game went on.”

On finishing up ACC play strong:

“It’s all for the same thing: getting better, growing as a team, taking out team’s best players if we can, and getting ready for next. It’s all about March and building and getting better as a team, so we’ve got formidable opponents. We’ve got a nice hard finish here. As you know we’ve got Virginia coming in and then we’ve got an away game, so it’s all about getting better. And I think we are getting better, but we’ve got a lot to do on this rebounding. I don’t like these rebounding stats. We haven’t been rebounding to well, and we’re going to need to change that. So, we’ve got another opportunity in next game to try and get that changed around.”

Senior Joy Cheek

On how physical the game was:

“It doesn’t bother me. It was about as physical as the last team played that was physical. [Lynetta] Kizer’s very physical. I got checked a few times from her. It was a battle down there, but you know we came on top.”

On what got her going offensively:

“Just to be productive. You can’t play minutes and not do anything. So that was just my mind mindset. When I had a shot open a lot of times I hesitate. But tonight, I didn’t hesitate I just took the shots that were open and they were falling for me. I was trying to get on the boards the best I can and just make things happen. Pass the ball, whatever, to get our offense going.”

On the team’s outside shooting:

“I think that was credit to us just taking the shot. Like Karima said, we were thinking open is in. So we saw the basket, we didn’t have a defender, and we just shot the ball. And we had confidence that it was going in, and if it didn’t go in, we were trying to get on the boards. It was just shooting and taking open shots.”

On making the best pass:

“We always talk about that. Make the next pass because it will be the better pass. We always talk about moving the ball and getting the best shot that we can. I think we definitely did that during our position.”

On the intensity of the crowd:

“I actually thought about that. When Jasmine [Thomas] stole the ball and went in for the layup, it was loud. You need that because you can see their faces just drop. Even when we’re away, you feel that when a crowd gets pumped. And when you’re at home you need that. You want to shush them and get them worrying and make them tense. I can’t remember who I was looking at but remember thinking, ‘yeah we got them shook.’”

Junior Karima Christmas

On how physical the game was:

“Yes, it’s always fun to have a battle and go back and forth at each other. And obviously we work hard in the weight room so it shows off when we can be able to battle with other people.”

On how her confidence changed after her first 3-pointer:

“I think I just stayed focused. If I was open and I had the opportunity to shoot, I just shot like it was a regular shot. It wasn’t really confidence boosting, I just took the open shot.”

Head Coach Brenda Frese

Opening Statement:

“Like I told the team in the locker room, I’m really proud of our young team. To have five freshmen and four sophomores come in here and battle the No. 7 team in the country the way we did, in terms of the physicality of the game, the aggressiveness. Like I told them, the first 36 minutes, we were there. The last four minutes, you saw veterans for Duke step up and provide great leadership. And I thought the last four minutes of the game was the difference – the offensive rebounds, the fouls, the put-backs – things we could control, they did a tremendous job. Obviously, I think the five-point play – the first I think I’ve ever seen in my coaching career. Probably it was the difference in the game in terms of that play being made. But credit Duke’s defense. I thought they really were aggressive, forced us into a lot of turnovers.”

On Maryland’s play in the second half:

“Obviously, we had to play small. We were in serious foul trouble to have two players foul out. It changes the strategy in terms of what you’re doing. But you credit Bridgette Mitchell as a senior. She seems at both our place and here, I mean she just always seems to make a big play, and that’s what seniors do – they step up and make big plays, just like Lori [Bjork] has for us all season. But for us, we only have one senior on the roster. So that just was the difference in the game, I thought, in the second half.

On what the team can learn from the loss:

“I told them after the game, I still love where we’re playing at. There were moments and stretches in this game where I’m watching our defense and I’m watching our intensity, and we’re matching it on the road at Duke against a team that I think is really physical and extremely tough, and the ranking is deserving. Absolutely, and I feel like there’s still so much of the season left for us to be able to continue to gain momentum from this game with what we have left.”

On Maryland’s progress this season:

“When you look at our first ACC game to where we are now, and I think that’s the thing I’m most proud of, is that there was a point in this season this team could have folded. It just shows great character to be able to come out every single day to practice and just want to improve and want to get better.”

On getting a bid to the NCAA tournament:

“I think we just continue to take one day at a time. I think there’s a lot of basketball left for us – with the two games we have left, with the ACC tournament. When you play hard and you compete like we did today, those things will all take care of itself.”

On matching up with Duke:

“I think, first of all, our team believes we can beat them. I think that’s the first thing when you watch teams come in here and kind of lay an egg. We have the confidence because we’ve done it in the past. We love the matchup. It brings out the best in us. But I think rebounding-wise, we can match it, especially with the way they like to go to the offensive end. So, I think from that end, it’s been an area that’s helped us be successful against them.”

On limiting Duke’s Jasmine Thomas:

“If you would have told me before we started the game if we held Jasmine to eight points you were going to lose, I wouldn’t have believed you. I thought [Karima] Christmas was spectacular. Those three’s she hit from the three-point line, it was Christmas for her. I just thought she did a tremendous job and was a big difference, obviously, for them, stepping up and making those plays while Jasmine was in foul trouble.”

On Maryland’s defensive play:

“Minus those four minutes that got away from us – I think obviously, when you lose Diandra [Tchatchouang], which we did, and you lose that kind of 6-3 presence inside on the glass, we had to go smaller in terms of the zone and even our man matchups. I think that’s what hurt us. But absolutely, I feel like this team can rebound with anybody.”

Sophomore Center Lynetta Kizer

On the atmosphere at Cameron:

“It was a great atmosphere. All week we just talked about embracing it, and I think that’s what we did today – just embrace the atmosphere.”

Senior Guard Lori Bjork

On the rivalry with Duke:

“It’s a lot of fun. This is why, I think, everybody in a red uniform, why we came to Maryland. We wanted to play in these types of matchups, so it’s something that, like Lynetta said, we definitely embraced it and we wanted to play in it.”

On Duke limiting her in the second half:

“I think every team at this point knows that if they leave me wide open, I’m probably going to shoot it, and I might make it. They do a good job of identifying me. I just thought in the second half, their pressure didn’t necessarily give our guards a chance to even find me, because I thought they upped their pressure another level, and it was very hard to find me even when I was open.”

On Duke’s pressure late in the game:

“They were forcing us to take time off the clock, obviously, at the end, in the last four minutes or so. We’ve just got to attack the basket, and I thought we showed some signs of doing that, and that’s what we have to build off of.”

#8 Duke Women dominate #18 North Carolina 79-51

Durham, N.C. – The Duke Blue Devils took command of the current ACC  standings by defeating arch rival North Carolina 79-51 and in the process pushed their record to 7-1 in the conference and 19-4 overall.

The Blue Devils jumped on the Tar Heels early on taking a 10-0 lead which translated into a 42-33 advantage at the half.  In fact, UNC never threatened Duke past a run where they cut the lead to 7 points.

The 28 point victory was the largest over UNC since the 2003 season.

UNC, who was picked in the pre season to win the conference was never really in the contest and they seemed disjointed as the Blue Devils scored inside and out.

At one point the UNC coach held here arms in the air as the Crazies came to their feet after Duke forced another turnover.  Quite simply, Duke was the aggressor

Duke seemed inspired for this game getting solid performances from several players.

The win was a  special one for Coach P’s program in that they payed  UNC back for their season sweep a year ago.  The Blue Devils never let up and had their way in the paint for most of the game.

Duke put six players in double figure scoring led by Bridgette Mitchell and Kenturah Jackson with 12 each and Krystal Thomas with 11.  Jasmine Thomas and Shay Selby added 10 each and freshman Allison Vernerey got her first career start and put up impressive numbers of 10 points and 6 rebounds.

The Blue Devils second half run was one which will be remembered for they outscored the Tar Heels by 37-18 margin and outrebounded their opponent by a whopping 35-12 margin.

Duke held an edge in points off turnovers with a 25-11 margin aided by 25 Tar Heel turnovers.  They also outscored UNC in the paint by a 40-24 score.

Duke next takes on te N,C. State Wolfpack in Cameron Indoor Stadium at 7:00 Thursday evening.

For some extended coverage on the game, may I suggest going to my friends Rob Clough’s site - DW Hoops

Game Notes – This was Duke’s 13th consecutive ACC win at home.  Selby’s two three pointers tied her career high.  Vernerey registered her 8th double double.  Hatchell took a shot at officiating saying that her team would have to practice with the football team to play in a game as physical as tonight’s.  She also said she didn’t know what was going on in Chapel Hill saying it was “a plague or something.”  UNC dropped to 4-4 and 16-6 on the season.

Tobacco Road Matchup Set for Monday: Duke-UNC at 7 PM

#9/15 North Carolina (16-5, 4-3 ACC) at #6/6 Duke (18-4, 6-1 ACC)
Monday, Feb. 8, 2010 at 7:00 PM
Durham, N.C. • Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)

Kathleen Scheer had two treys in the last game at Boston College
Courtesy: Duke Photography

One of the biggest rivalries in college sports will resume on Monday, Feb. 8 as sixth-ranked Duke (18-4, 6-1 ACC) women’s basketball will host ninth-ranked North Carolina (16-5, 4-3 ACC) in Cameron Indoor Stadium at 7:00 p.m. The game will be aired live nationally on ESPN2 Big Monday with Bob Wischusen (PBP) and Stephanie White (Color) calling the action.

Fans can also hear the Blue Devils on the Duke ISP Radio Network at www.GoDuke.com with Steve Barnes (PXP) and Morgan Patrick (Color) on the air. Duke is currently ranked No. 6 in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today Division I Coaches Polls, while North Carolina is No. 9 in the AP and No. 15 in the coaches poll.

Immediately following the Duke/UNC contest, senior Joy Cheek will be recognized for reaching the 1,000-point mark on Jan. 29 against Florida State.

Noting Duke…

Duke has notched a 129-10 record at Cameron the last 10 years … during the first 11 games of the year, Duke only took five charges, but over the last 11 contests the players have taken 14 (Allison Vernerey – 4, Karima Christmas – 4, Shay Selby – 3) … the Blue Devils are the only team in the ACC to have beaten a ranked non-conference opponent this season (No. 3 OSU and No. 25 JMU) … the Blue Devils hold a 790-380 points in the paint advantage on the year … Duke has been listed in the top 25 of the AP poll for 200 straight weeks, which is the longest current streak in the ACC and third nationally.

A Look At North Carolina…
North Carolina enters the contest on Monday with a 16-5 overall and 4-3 league mark. The Tar Heels have lost two straight games in league play to Florida State and Miami. So far on the season, UNC is 2-4 in road games and are 1-2 in ACC road contests.

Leading the Tar Heels on the year has been Italee Lucas (16.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 38 treys), Cetera DeGraffenreid (13.2 points, 112 assists) and Chay Shegog (8.6 points, 5.8 rebounds). Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell is in her 35th season as a head coach and 24th year at UNC.

The Series With North Carolina…
The Blue Devils and Tar Heels will meet for the 77th time on Monday with North Carolina leading the overall series 45-31. Duke has won 18 of the last 28 games.

As of late, it has been a series of streaks since 2000 — Duke won 12 in a row, UNC won five in a row, Duke won two in a row and UNC won four in a row before the Blue Devils won the last meeting in Cameron Indoor Stadium. In games played in Durham, N.C., the Blue Devils own a 18-13 overall record and have won nine out of the last 12.

Duke and UNC will play each other for the first time since Feb. 21, 1997 when the two squads are coming off losses. North Carolina won that contest, 81-61. The first time they played after coming off losses was on Jan. 29, 1981 as the Tar Heels won 77-65. The last Duke win with both teams coming off losses was on Feb. 15, 1989 with a 58-56 victory at home. UNC holds a 7-1 advantage all-time when both teams are coming off losses.

Blue Devil Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie will face North Carolina for the eighth time over her 18 years as a head coach. McCallie has a 1-6 record against the Tar Heels. She lost two of those contests while as head coach at Maine. McCallie’s squad faced North Carolina in the 2000 NCAA Tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif., and fell 62-57 on March 18. The Black Bears also lost, 68-52, on Dec. 28, 1996 on a neutral site. Since joining the Blue Devils, McCallie has notched a 1-4 mark.

Storylines/Other Blue Devil Notes…

  • When Duke is the higher-ranked team in the series with UNC, the Blue Devils own a 18-9 record. UNC owns a 19-5 record when it is ranked higher. The higher ranked team has won 37 of 51 games.
  • The Blue Devils will look to avoid back-to-back ACC regular season losses on Monday for the first time since the 1999-2000 campaign when Duke fell to Virginia and Maryland.
  • Junior Jasmine Thomas will go up against her former AAU teammate, Chay Shegog. Thomas is from Fairfax, Va., while Shegog is out of Stafford, Va., and they played for the Fairfax Stars.
  • Duke has won 11 straight ACC games in Cameron Indoor Stadium, which dates back to the 2007-08 season.
  • In three out of the last five games, Duke has registered only one double-figure scorer, which was Jasmine Thomas. In those games, the Blue Devils have notched a 1-2 record with the victory coming at Maryland (other games were UConn and BC).Even though senior Joy Cheek has struggled shooting from the field recently, she has been making up for it on the boards as she has averaged 7.0 rebounds the last six games. She pulled down 11 boards at Miami, had 11 at Maryland and posted nine against Florida State in that stretch.
  • Over her first three years at Duke, senior Bridgette Mitchell registered eight double-figure scoring games, while this year the 6’0 wing has collected eight games with double-digit scoring.
  • In her three years at Duke, junior Jasmine Thomas has increased her field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage and scoring each year.
  • During the month of January, junior Karima Christmas struggled with a finger sprain on her right pointer finger. This happened in practice following the Temple game and she reinjured it at Clemson on Jan. 7. She scored in double-figures only one time in January.
  • Senior Keturah Jackson has a career high with five three-pointers made in a single season. Over her four years, she has hit 10 treys. She hit her fifth of the year at Boston College.
  • To show how tough Duke’s schedule has been this year, the Blue Devils went up against eight undefeated teams this season — Connecticut (17-0), Ohio State (8-0), James Madison (7-0), Stanford (7-0), Western Kentucky (3-0), Georgia Southern (1-0), Houston Baptist (0-0) and Texas A&M (0-0).
  • In three years at Duke, Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie has notched four victories against top-five ranked teams — #3/3 Ohio State in 2009-10, #3/4 Stanford in 2008-09, while knocking off #4/3 Rutgers and #5/4 Maryland in 2007-08.
  • Duke is currently ranked No. 6 in the latest RPI by Jeff Sagarin — Connecticut (107.84), Stanford (100.81), Nebraska (98.89), Tennessee (97.64), Notre Dame (96.98) and Duke (95.31). The next closest ACC school is Florida State at No. 14 (88.73).
  • Junior Jasmine Thomas has hit 43 three-pointers in only 22 games this season. As a freshman, she hit 24 in 35 games and as a sophomore she hit 28 in 30 games.
  • Junior Krystal Thomas has moved into eighth place on Duke’s all-time blocked shots list with 111. She is 19 blocked shots shy of seventh place all-time on the Blue Devil charts.
  • The Coach P Radio Show will next take place on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6:00 p.m. The show will be stationed at Satisfaction Restaurant in Durham at Brightleaf Square. Make sure you get there early to secure a seat.
  • Follow DukeWBBSID on and CoachPDuke on Twitter to get the latest updates on Duke women’s basketball. Also, join the “Official Duke Women’s Basketball Group” on Facebook to get the latest video, pictures and more. Join both now as they are free! You can win free prizes each week on both Twitter and Facebook so make sure you follow closely.

What Happened Last Time We Met…
Jasmine Thomas scored 19 points and Abby Waner hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 45.8 seconds remaining in overtime to lead No. 10 Duke past No. 9 North Carolina 81-79 on March 1, 2009, in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Karima Christmas had 18 points, Carrem Gay added 15 points and 12 rebounds and Bridgette Mitchell finished with 13 points for the Blue Devils (24-4, 11-3 ACC), who snapped a four-game losing streak to their most hated rivals in dramatic fashion, won for the fifth time in six games and clinched the No. 3 seed in this week’s ACC tournament.

Rashanda McCants had 24 points to lead the Tar Heels (25-5, 10-4). They shot 45 percent but slipped to the No. 4 seed in the league tournament because they couldn’t overcome 33 turnovers.

And Waner – who had missed 14 straight shots during her final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium – cashed in on the most important one.

Joy Cheek stole Cetera DeGraffenreid’s pass to the block and hustled up court before dishing off to Waner in the left corner, and the senior swished a 3 to put Duke up 78-76.

Thomas, who scored eight points in overtime, hit two free throws on Duke’s next possession and Christmas added a foul shot to make it a five-point game with 10.8 seconds left.

Duke Players Vs. North Carolina…
Over the last three games against UNC, junior Jasmine Thomas has averaged 15.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals. She has notched double-digit scoring in three consecutive games (16, 10, 19). In the last contest, Thomas hit 8-of-17 field goals, had four rebounds, three assists and two steals. She scored 10 out of Duke’s final 16 points in the second half/overtime to give the Blue Devils the victory.

In the last game against the Tar Heels, Bridgette Mitchell notched a career best 13 points as she hit 6-of-10 field goals. Junior Karima Christmas is coming off posting 18 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two assists in 27 minutes.

Home Sweet Home…
Duke has registered a 10-1 overall record at home this season and are outscoring opponents by a 21.1 margin in those contests. The Blue Devils are averaging 4,331 fans at home this season, which ranks second in the ACC.

The Blue Devil defense is holding the opposition to only 35.9 percent shooting, forcing 23.1 turnovers and pulling down an 11.7 rebounding margin.

Jasmine Thomas is averaging 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.4 steals at home this year, while hitting 40.7 percent of her three-pointers. At home against ranked opponents, Thomas is averaging 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals. She has hit 9-of-19 treys for a 47.4 percentage.

Cheek Nets 1,000 Points…

Senior Joy Cheek became the 25th player in Duke history to register 1,000 career points on Jan. 29 against Florida State. She has appeared in 123 games and missed only one in her career, while playing in 110 straight contests.

Cheek will be recognized immediately following the Feb. 8 home contest against North Carolina for reaching the milestone.

Junior Jasmine Thomas is also approaching 1,000 points as she is 58 shy of hitting the milestone.