[private]The Duke Women won their opener over a pesky Oklahoma State team, led by All American candidate Andre Riley. To say it was a tale of two half's would be appropriate in that Duke went into the locker room trailing 44-35, their heads still spinning from Rileys speed to the bucket where she tallied 20 points.
Duke was shooting but 33.3% at the break and a paltry 1 of 11 from the three point stripe didn't help. The Cowgirls had also stayed even with the Blue Devils on the boards, not to mention just two successful perimeter shots. In short, it looked as if the 14th rated team from the Big Twelve was poised to spoil the evening for the 6000 fans in the stands.
Those fans made their way to Cameron thorough a downpour of rain and it seemed to continue early on. But the rains stopped at the start of the second half and Duke's fortunes did as well. Once the weather cleared from the first half storm, Coach McCallie righted the ship.
The main move she made was to go to the zone and back off the press which Riley had moved through with ease. The Dukies also made it a point to get the ball to their star front court player, senior Chante Black who would score 18 second half points on her way to a career high 28 points to go with 10 boards.
It was essential that Duke got the ball on the blocks, in that their starting guards of Waner and Thomas struggled on the evening with 5 of 29 from the field. Despite the off night, each of the them hit huge three pointers in an amazing second half run.
Cheek started the rally with a three, but Shuante Smith made a quick lay up and it looked as if the game would go much like the first half did. At the 18:32 mark, a royal blue storm took over as the Devils erupted to the delight of Cameron fans. When the dust started to clear, Duke had gone on a 20 to 1 run to take a 58-46 lead.
It was the kind of comeback that made one realize how fortunate they were to have witnessed the thrilling turnabout. The Duke zone stifled the Cowgirls and Riley scored just nine second half points, but to their credit, they never gave up.
The Blue Devils outscored their opponent 42-24 in part due to stellar defense where they eliminated the backdoor lay ups. But the real culprit is that the Devils dominated the boards 34-20 after the break. Careem Gay led the way with11 rebounds and it's worth noting that her first half offense kept the Devils close going into the half.
The win was the 18th straight home opener. Duke will host Maine on Sunday at 12:00 in Cameron and tickets are available. Check back later this evening for more coverage from this game.[/private]
[private]Leading scorer Kyle Singler will lead the Duke Blue Devils against the Rhode Island Rams on Sunday at 4:30 pm in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Rhode Island has size and athleticism, and will arrive at Cameron Indoor Stadium as the best team on Duke's schedule to date. It remains to be seen whether the Rams have the talent to seriously challenge the Blue Devils, but this game will not be a pushover so the Blue Devils need to be focused on the task at hand - beating Rhode Island - not looking ahead to New York City and Madison Square Garden.
Last year, Rhode Island jumped out to a 14-1 start before fading over the second half of the season and finishing 21-12 in the tough Atlantic 10 conference earning a bid to the NIT. Leading scorer Will Daniels (18.6 ppg/6.5 rpg) has graduated along with Parfait Bitee (11.8 ppg/4.7 apg), but Rhode Island returns six players who significantly contributed, and welcome three freshman and a transfer from Connecticut who sat out last season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.
Seniors Jimmy Baron (6'3" 195) and Kahiem Seawright (6'8" 235) averaged 14.2 points/1.9 assists and 9.2 points/8.4 rebounds per game respectively. Jason Francis (6'9" 280) is the team's third Senior. Juniors Lamonte Ulmer (6'6" 215) and Keith Cothran (6'4" 195) both averaged double digit minutes, while Junior Delroy James (6'8" 220) averaged 9 minutes per game. The three Juniors combined for 17.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last season. Sophomore Marquis Jones (6'1" 200) is projected to be the starting point guard.
Rhode Island strengths: Jimmy Baron is a very good shooter and has range. He made over 40% of his 3-point attempts last season and will be the Rams' Go-to-Guy. Baron made 91% of his free throw attempts so, like Jon Scheyer, he will have the ball in his hands a lot even though he isn't the point guard. Rebounding is another strength as Rhode Island was second in the Atlantic 10 and averaged 13.4 offensive rebounds a game. Kahiem Seawright was the leading rebounder in the Atlantic 10 conference. Seawright is the core of the Ram's inside game but he will receive support from small forward Lamonte Ulmer who is active on the glass. Ulmer averaged 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game off the bench last year.
Rhode Island vulnerabilities: The Ram's point guard is untested and against a high intensity defensive team such as Duke that could be a big problem. Perimeter defense is also a suspect area for Rhode Island. They were burned in Atlantic 10 conference play last season as teams exploited the Rams from behind the 3-point arc. Finally, Rhode Island likes to get out in transition but they can struggle in their half-court offense. When matched against teams that are able to match their speed and athleticism, the Rams are prone to being erratic on offense.
Keys to the game: Foul trouble will be the first indicator one team is in trouble. While both teams have sufficient depth, there are key players that must stay on the court. For Duke, the player is Kyle Singler. It is important that the combination of Lance Thomas, Miles Plumlee, and Brian Zoubek execute against Rhode Island's big interior players. If Kyle Singler is forced to do the dirty work inside, picks up fouls, and is forced to the bench, Rhode Island will gain an advantage. For Rhode Island, Seawright and Baron must stay on the court for the Rams to be competitive.
Second, turnovers will be critical. Both teams like to get out in transition and force game tempo. Which team will be successful? The team that successfully executes their running game by forcing turnovers and scoring in transition will gain a significant advantage toward ultimate success. Look for Duke point guards Nolan Smith and Greg Paulus to pressure Marquis Jones relentlessly in an attempt to deny Rhode Island the opportunity to establish fast paced offensive flow. Lance Thomas and Dave McClure are very strong defensive players in a fast paced environment so look for these two to see plenty of playing time against the Rams.
Finally, long rebounds off of missed 3-point shots will be important. Rhode Island and Duke like to shoot from behind the arc so it will be important for perimeter players to secure rebounds. Long offensive rebounds equate to extra opportunities to score the ball. Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer, and Elliot Williams are all strong rebounding guards who will need to out hustle the Rams.
Last season, Rhode Island averaged 80.5 points per game and shot 47 percent from the field including 38 percent from behind the 3-point arc. They were the 82nd best team in the nation according to Pomeroy Basketball Ratings. Duke's first two opponents this season were ranked 294 (Presbyterian) and 141 (Georgia Southern).[/private]
[private]The following is courtesy of Duke Sports Information/GoDuke.com
• Game 3 •
[8 AP/5 Coaches] Duke (2-0) vs. Rhode Island (0-0)
Sunday, November 16, 2008 • 4:32 PM ET • ESPNU
Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314) • Durham, N.C.
Blue Devil Bits
- The Blue Devils are ranked eighth in the AP poll and fifth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. Rhode Island is unranked in both polls.
- Duke has won 61 consecutive non-conference home games. The Blue Devils have won 191 of the last 194 non-conference home games.
- Duke is 2-0 on the year, marking the eighth straight year it has started with back-to-back wins.
- The Blue Devils have a 37.0 points per game margin of victory through two games. Duke topped Presbyterian by 31 points (80-49) in the opener and Georgia Southern by 43 points (97-54) in the second game of the year.
- Duke and Rhode Island have played just two times entering Sunday’s contest. Both games came in the NCAA Tournament with the Blue Devils recording one-point victories in 1978 (63-62) and 1988 (73-72). Duke advanced to the Final Four with the narrow win on March 24, 1988.
- Sophomore Kyle Singler earned 2K Sports Durham Regional MVP honors after averaging 19.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game against Presbyterian and Georgia Southern.
- Six Blue Devils are averaging at least 8.0 points per game, while five players are grabbing 4.0 rebound per game or more.
- Duke has forced 45 turnovers and allowed just 34 made field goals this season.
- Duke is 105-16 all-time in the month of November, including a 91-10 mark under Coach K.
- The Blue Devils have won 11 straight games in November and are 42-2 in the month since 1997-98.
- Mike Krzyzewski is fifth all-time (first among active coaches) with 805 career wins.
- Duke is 263-52 this decade, more wins than any other team in the NCAA.
- The Blue Devils are playing in their third straight game on ESPNU.
- Duke is 73-27 all-time against teams currently in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Blue Devils have won 11 straight contests against A10 opponents (last loss was 59-58 versus Temple on Jan. 25, 1996). Duke will also play A10 schools Duquesne (11/28) and Xavier (12/20) this season.
- Duke pulled down 58 rebounds for a 58-36 rebounding advantage against Georgia Southern. The 58 rebounds are the most rebounds by the Blue Devils since March 4, 1999, when they had 59 rebounds in a 104-67 win over Virginia in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. It is the most rebounds at home since Duke had 59 against Xavier, in an 82-60 win on Dec. 4, 1993. The 58 rebounds on Tuesday are the second most at home and fourth most overall under Coach K. On the year, Duke is outrebounding its opponents by an average of 18.5 rebounds per game.
- Against Georgia Southern Duke went to the free throw line 49 times (25-of-49), the most since Jan. 30, 2005 when the Blue Devils also recorded 49 free throw attempts (30-of-49) against Virginia Tech.
- The Duke bench is averaging 33.5 points per game through two contests. The reserves posted a
big game against Georgia Southern with 40 points. Duke had three games last season with 40 or more points from the bench.
- The Blue Devils collected at least 10 steals in both games with 17 against Presbyterian and 11 against Georgia Southern. The 17 steals rank tied for the 14th most in a single game in school history and were the most since the Blue Devils recorded 17 steals against UNC Greensboro on Nov. 16, 2006.
- Duke held both of its first two opponents to under 40.0 percent shooting. They held Presbyterian to just 16-of-53 (.302) and followed by holding Georgia Southern to 18-of-64 (.281) from the floor. Duke is 280-9 under Coach K when holding opponents under 40.0 percent shooting and 39-0 when limiting them to under 30.0 percent shooting.
- Sophomore Nolan Smith is shooting 53.1 percent (52-of-98) from the field in 18 career games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Smith is 11-of-17 (64.7 pct.) from the floor at home this season.
-Scheyer has recorded more assists than turnovers in 18 consecutive games. Scheyer enters Sunday’s game with a 10:1 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season. He had a career-best seven assists and just one turnover against Georgia Southern.
- After turning the ball over 21 times in the season opener, Duke trimmed its turnovers to 11 against Georgia Southern.[/private]
While John Wall will visit Memphis over the weekend, the word is that he is anxious [private] to visit Duke next week. Tuesday is the target date at this time, maybe Monday. In a brief exchange with John, he says his recruitment will almost assuredly go to the April 15th and beyond signing period.
While some rumors insist he wants to stay near home, a source close to the situation told me what they considered to be his final four. That being Duke, NCSU, Memphis and Baylor. The presence of Baylor says that he is still considering the overtures that Dwon Clifton will take care of him. This is in no way something I want anyone to hint at at Devils Illustrated or anywhere else.
Anyhow, as of today, Wall is very open to Duke. If this battle stays clean, then the Blue Devils have a great shot to land him. Duke certainly has some good selling points and K's NBA connections are nothing to turn your nose up at. Wall could more than better himself with a year under K and he would be on TV in that "all" of the Blue Devil games make it there.
A lot of people keep asking me to answer rumors from elsewhere. If I haven't said anything, then I haven't heard anything different from what I tell you here. No, UNC is not the leader for Barnes and to my knowledge, Knight will not verbal to UF in November. That's all I have to say about that. I could be wrong, but I'm generally pretty close. [/private]
[private]Mason Plumlee signed a letter of intent to play his college basketball for Duke University. Mason
was the first of the Plumlee clan to originally verbal to Duke. Shortly after that, his brother Miles joined the Devils.
Mason helped lead Christ School in Arden, North Carolina in the state title this past season. He is a consensus top fifteen player in the prospects rating services.
Plumlee joins Ryan Kelly in the 2009 class. Duke is still recruiting John Wall, hoping he will feel out the class. Wall is the nations top point guard prospect and plays at nearby Releigh Church of God.[/private]
[private]Joanne P. McCallie had an aura of confidence when she addressed the media on Wednesday. It was clear that the second year coach was more relaxed and at ease after having a year under her belt. Just last year, McCallie replaced another popular coach in Gail Goestenkors.
That transition wasn't always easy. She had to gain the confidence of players she didn't recruit and
fend off a lot of early negativity from some of the media who were faithful to the former regime. "You have to remember, we lost Lindsey Harding and Allison Bales," quipped McCallie. You know what? She has a point there in that these were two super players and were the team leaders.
The Blue Devils still managed a 25-10 record, 10-4 in the ACC which was good for third place. A lot of that success was due to the stellar play of Chante Black, a 6-5 paint eating front court player. Black is but one part of many story line in the coming season. In fact, there are many to watch as the season develops.
The Off Season- McCallie said that here team worked really hard over the summer with all of the players sticking around. They lifted weights and played pick ups in the new practice facility. "We are more together than at this time last year," said McCallie. The team and staff had to adjust to one another last season, not to mention take a already scheduled trip to Russia which made for some tired legs early on. Many of the players stated they felt as if their play wasn't up to Duke Basketball standards last season. There seems to be a little bit of a chip on their shoulder going into the season.
The Seniors- Black will step into her senior season and she wants to go out on top. She is joined by Careem Gay who has started 45 games over the last two years. Then there is perennial crowd favorite, Abby Waner. This talented trio will be the main focus point in that their leadership should carry the Blue Devils farther into the NCAA Tournament and maybe even the Final Four.
There will be no shortage of emotion when Black, Gay and Waner play there last game against North Carolina in Cameron on March 1st. You better go ahead and get your tickets now for that one in that the Blue Devils have sold around 4800 season tickets to date.
The Juniors- The junior class is also providing leadership. Joy Cheek is poised for a banner season and Coach McCallie has already tapped her as a captain for next season. Kenturah Jackson and Bridgette Mitchell will look to take on a bigger role as well.
The Sophomores-The sophomore class is intriguing as well. Jasmine Thomas has a nice skill set as does Karima Christmas. Add watching the development of these two youngsters as yet another story line. "Jazz will assume the role of PG for us and we expect some natural progresion from her freshman to sophomore year,"
The Freshman- The freshman class of Kathleen Scheer, Shay Selby and Chelsea Hopkins look to
make their mark as well. Selby is the closest to being ready, but there is a steep learning curve for freshman at this time of the season and Coach McCallie will likely b ring each of them along slowly. "None of the three are playing good defense. Most of them are accustomed to being the star on their high school team, so they must adjust to playing all facets of the game, namely defense. I've asked them to specialize in one area - do one thing good."
The Style- It will all start on the defensive end for these women. That sounds familiar, huh? Well the cornerstone of this program is tough man to man defense. McCallie will demand all out effort in this area and those who lag will likely find themselves playing less. The philosophyseems to be if you play good "D" the offense will come. "We want to do what we do," said McCallie. On offense she feels he players will get better reads on the opposing defenses this system and that will enable them to find the open player. "We take pride in our defense - pride in making the stop."
The Rotation- Look for Cheek, Waner, Black and Thomas to start this season. The first players off the bench will be Thomas, Christmas, Jackson and Mitchell. The order will depend upon match ups. Don't look for a lot of minutes from the freshman. Selby will get the first call of the three.
The Opener - #14 Okalhoma State at #8 Duke -(Friday, 7:00, tickets available) Get there early for the festivities which are geared towards a good family outing. There will be face painters, free food, a magician and posters just to name a few of the "free" perks. All of this starts at 5:00 in Card Gym which is adjacent to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Oklahoma State is Coached by Kurt Budke who holds an outstanding 406-88 record in 15 years of coaching. OSU’s last road game also came against the No. 8 team in the country as the Cowgirls won at Baylor, 72-68, to close out the regular season a year ago ... Andrea Riley is nine points shy of 1,200 for her career, while Shaunte’ Smith is one shy of the 800-point plateau. Riley is their top player
Additional Notes- McCallie will have her own radio show this season. You can hear her today from 12 to 1:00 pm on 620 the Bull. The show will be broadcast from Satisfactions in Brightleafe Square.
- Chante Black is on the Wooden list as the top 30 pre season college players in the nation.
- You can view the home opener on ACC.Select.com
- Chante Black is fifth in rebound avaerage and 12th in blocks on the Duke All Time list.
- Abby Waner enters the season fourth in three point field goals and fifth in steals
- Duke will play again on Sunday at 12:00 noon versus Maine. It's a rare time when botht he men's and women's team plays on the same day. The men face Rhode Island.
* We accidentily printed the draft earlier which had numerous typo's. Sorry about that![/private]