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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.”

Duke stages an amazing comeback to defeat USC

[private]LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The eighth-ranked Duke women’s basketball team registered one of its largest comebacks in school history on Friday night at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif.  The Blue Devils faced a 17-point deficit with 11:17 remaining in regulation but came back to win 97-89 over Southern California in overtime.

Senior Abby Waner hit a three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining to cut the Trojan lead to 81-80 and nailed a short jump hook with three seconds left to send the game into overtime.  Duke outscored USC, 15-7, in overtime to register the victory.  Sophomore Jasmine Thomas scored a career-high 22 points, while Chante Black notched 22 points and Carrem Gay added 14 points and 12 rebounds for Duke.

Duke will next face Siena (2-7) on Saturday in the Women of Troy Basketball Classic at 10:00 p.m. (EDT).

Blue Devil Postgame Notes
#8/12 Duke at Southern California  *  December 19, 2008

With The Duke Victory:
*       Improved to 8-1 on the season.
*       Coach P improved to 2-1 all-time against Southern California.
 Senior Chante Black
*       Registered double-figure scoring for the ninth straight game to open the season.
*       Posted 22 points marking the second time this season she has notched 20+ points.
 Freshman Shay Selby
*       Hit a career-high two three-pointers on two attempts and finished with a career-high 11 points and five rebounds.
 Senior Carrem Gay
*       Pulled down a season-high 12 rebounds in 38 minutes to go along with 14 points.
*       Posted nine offensive rebounds on the night.
*       Notched her second double-double of the season and fourth of her career.
 Sophomore Karima Christmas
*       Coming off scoring a career-high 14 points against No. 3 Stanford, she scored nine points, had five rebounds and two steals in 14 minutes.
 Sophomore Jasmine Thomas
*       In her second game back from her knee injury, registered 10 first half points and went on to finish the game with a career-high 22 points.
Senior Abby Waner
*       Scored five straight points to close out regulation to send the game into overtime.  Finished with 10 points for the game.
 Freshman Chelsea Hopkins
*       Missed the game due to surgery on her left knee, which was an injury that occurred at Western Kentucky on Nov. 28.
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Other Duke Notes:
*       Trailed by 17 (66-49) in the second half, which was the largest deficit of the season for the Blue Devils.
*       Posted its largest come-back since being down 20 at Connecticut on Jan. 3, 2004.
*       Notched five double-figure scorers for the first time this season.
*       The 97 points was the most scored by a Duke team coached by Joanne P. McCallie.
*       Allowed 41 points and a 44.1 field goal percentage in the first half, which were the second highest totals on the season.
*       The 53.6 field goal percentage in the first half was the second-best this season by the Blue Devils.
*       Turned the ball over 14 times in the first half and finished with 29 for the game.
*       Scored a season-high 45 bench points.
*       Allowed a season-high 43.1 field goal percentage.
*       Had a season-high 97 points, but tied a season low with eight assists.
*       Allowed a season-high 89 points for the game.
*       Hit a season-high seven three-pointers.
*       Played in its first overtime game since April 4, 2006 in the National Championship game
*       Assistant Coach Shannon Perry made way back to USC for the first time since she was an assistant coach with the Trojans from 2000-04.
*       Duke next take on Siena on Saturday, Dec. 20 at 10:00 p.m. (EDT) to close out the Women of Troy Basketball Classic.
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