The Duke Blue Devils will take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in a sold out Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday afternoon and that will be the final regular season game for Krystal Thomas. BDN caught up to senior big this afternoon and chatted with her about the regular season finale. against their arch rival. In fact, Coach P makes an impromptu appearance in the video which is cool. See it for yourself and link it for all Duke Women’s Basketball fans to see. A side note, come out to the game despite the sell out for there should be a few tickets outside the arena. If Duke wins, they are the regular season champions and those who make the game will experience something really cool which I will keep quiet for now.
DURHAM – A marquee match up between third ranked Duke Blue Devils and the fourth ranked Xavier Musketeers took place in Cameron Indoor Stadium in a game which oddly had no television coverage. With a partial band and lack of cheerleaders due to the Christmas break, the team had to at times reach for emotion and that made the Blue Devils homecourt edge less intimidating.
But in the end, there was plenty of emotion as Duke made a fuirous late 6-0 comeback run down the stretch to defeat their game opponent 46-45. Duke is now 12-o on the season while Xavier falls to 10-1.
Duke senior Jasmine Thomas blocked a shot at the buzzer to secure the win and Cameron which went nuts as did Xavier Coach Kevin McGuff who had to be restrained by another coach as security moved in. The refs then went to the scorers table to check the monitor and afterwards they called it a game and Duke escaped with an exciting win.
“That is truly one of the best plays I have ever seen in 19 years of coaching. As we got back and we all went, apparently for the ball – I’ll have to look at it on film to really know – it’s a good lesson to staying matched up in transition. Of course, they got it deflected out, which of course was a tremendous benefit to them, and all of a sudden you see this lightning bolt out of nowhere block a great shot,” said Duke Coach Joanne McCallie
The Blue Devils had no answer for Amber Harris who ended the game with 22 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocked shots but they made up for it with 21 steals filling the passing lanes all night.
During the post game press conference, Coach McCallie admitted it was an ugly game and that her team which went for almost 7 minutes in the second half without a point struggled to find good shots. But she then made this statement, “If you find a way to win ugly, you can win them all.”
After a back and forth first half where there were five lead changes, the Musketeers defense kicked in and Duke which started hot went cold from the field. As the second half started Duke scored just two points in the first five minutes before they fought their way back into the game after going down by eight points.
Duke tied the game back up on a Krystal Thomas lay in at 40 apiece with 9:00 to go, but Xavier star Amber Harris answered putting the Musketeers back up and the two teams then grinded it out defensively where neither team could find the basket. But then Harris scored inside and was fouled and Xavier clinged to a 43-40 lead. Another Harris jumper made it 45-40 with just 2:42 to go but that’s when the Blue Devils woke up and found their groove just in the nick of time.
Jasmine Thomas cut the lead to three after a lay in and Duke then forced a turnover where Allison Vernerey made a key steal and then Duke found Krystal Thomas under the basket and she was fouled, making one of two and tying the game at 45 all with 31 seconds left on the clock. Karima Christmas then tipped the ball out and Jasmine Thomas came up the ball on the baseline and was fouled with 2 seconds left and hit 1 of 2 free throws giving Duke a single digit lead.
That’s when an amazing sequence took place. Xavier set up a great play and the ball went to a wide open Special Jennings and Jasmine ran full speed from about the scorers tabel recovering to block the shot which set off an emotional outburst from the Xavier as we mentioned. After the dust cleared, Duke walked away with an ugly but substantial victory.
Coach P, Jasmine Thomas audio below – Just press play.
Sidebar - The point total was the lowest for Duke since they lost to Purdue 62-45 in 1999 yet they still won. Duke outscored Xavier 22-9 off turnovers and the lead changed 6 times although it seemed like more. Duke shot just 26.8% from the field a season low and held Xavier to 1 for 12 from the three point stripe. Duke won it’s 14th straight game in Cameron and 14th straight over Atlantic 10 teams. Jasmine Thomas 2 steals moved her to 6th place on the all time list. Coach P is now 46-4 in Cameron since she arrived. Duke will next play Temple at home on December 30th.
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.
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)
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.
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.
• 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
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
“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.”
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – This time, it was the Duke women’s turn to show Clemson how the Blue Devils play defense.
No. 9 Duke used a first-half run and relentless defense to open Atlantic Coast Conference play with its 13th straight victory over the Tigers, 67-41 on Thursday night.
The win, Blue Devils’ sixth straight this season, came after the school’s Top 10 men locked down Clemson at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday night in a 74-53 victory.
“We take after the men, they take after us,” Duke forward Joy Cheek said. “We all represent Duke, so we all want to go hard and get those wins.”
Cheek was a big reason why the Blue Devils (13-2) got this victory. She and Jasmine Thomas had 15 points each. The two helped Duke to a 21-6 first-half run to take control, while the Blue Devils defense did the rest.
“I think tonight, we really let our defense trigger everything,” Thomas said.
Clemson’s point total was the lowest in its history against Duke. The Tigers missed 13 shots in a row during one stretch and finished shooting 25 percent (13 of 52) from the field.
The Blue Devils got 15 steals and forced the Tigers into 23 turnovers.
The effort looked like a replay of Duke-Clemson men’s game from a few nights earlier. In that one, the Blue Devils gave the Cameron crazies plenty to cheer about as they moved in front 30-12 and held the Tigers to a 5-of-30 shooting in the first half.
“I guess were both 1-0 against Clemson in ACC play,” Thomas said, laughing.
The Blue Devils have not lost a league opener since Dec. 9, 2000 – also the last time they lost to the Tigers (9-8).
Shaniqua Pauldo scored 12 points to lead Clemson, which has lost its last 38 games against ranked opponents.
Bridgette Mitchell added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils.
Duke came in with its top 10 ranking, a solid winning streak this season and a run of success against Clemson that has lasted nearly a decade.
But the Blue Devils couldn’t find their rhythm early on, going 3 of 9 from the field and leading 6-5 seven minutes in.
“It’s okay to have a slow start if you’re defending,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
Then Duke showed off the talent that’s made it one of the ACC’s top women’s programs in the country.
Thomas got the run started with a driving basket and a foul shot, and Cheek followed with two straight jumpers.
Cheek added a 3-pointer that increased the lead to 22-9, then Thomas followed with a long-range basket of her own. By the time Karima Christmas made two foul shots, Duke lead 27-11 to all but wrap the game up.
Clemson hasn’t beaten a Top 25 program in more than six years, and the Tigers lose their latest chance with some awful first-half shooting.
The Tigers have shot less than 40 percent in three of its past four games.
“Now, it’s more in their heads,” Clemson coach Cristy McKinney said. “It is confidence in my mind and they just need the reps and seeing it go in the hole.”
That might be difficult since the Tigers face ranked opponents Georgia Tech, Florida State and North Carolina their next three games.
Clemson also couldn’t handle Duke’s size, getting outrebounded 48 to 31.
The Blue Devils opened the second half with a 17-9 run and the lead eventually stretched to reached 30 points, prompting McCallie to send her starters to the bench.
Duke’s intensity didn’t let up, though. When reserve guard Chelsea Hopkins took a charge on Clemson’s Keyrra Gillespie with less than six minutes left, McCallie led the cheers on the Blue Devils’ bench.
“Finally, we got a charge,” McCallie said.
Hardy, Clemson’s leading scorer, was held to eight points – six fewer than her average – on 3 of 15 shooting. Reserve Jasmine Tate finished with nine rebounds and five blocks for the Tigers