Tag Archives: Jasmine Thomas

Duke Women’s Basketball Media Day Quotes

Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie

On freshman transition from high school to college.  What is one thing you are emphasizing?
“Just really keeping them attacking all the time on defense and on offense. I think they understand attacking on offense better than they understand attacking on defense. So we are really trying to get that aggressiveness up. It’s really important that they make aggressive mistakes versus passive ones. You know aggressive mistakes are ones that you can coach and live with.  Passive mistakes don’t get you very far and don’t allow you to develop. So that is the biggest thing I can say for our young players is to just to be really getting after it on both sides of the ball and to be understanding of value of both sides of the ball. In high school, often there is not that value simply because kids dominate with offense. But these young folk know that they are going to be going against junior and seniors, I mean that is pretty much what is going to happen.  So it’s important to be thinking like a junior or senior a little bit and trying to push yourself to take those steps.”

On team chemistry
“I think as a coach you can try and help it with the combinations and the different things you do but in reality I think that it occurs during game play and experiences together to. You have to let the team have experiences together, but I think we can help it along as coaches, different subbing patterns that we do at various times. It’s kind of an exciting part of developing a team because you, essentially you do start all over again. No matter what you did the year before, we had some really great experiences last year.  Those are terrific memories but you have to create new ones and your back to creating them all over again.”

On the skills of the freshmen:
“We hope they are going to be extremely aggressive, help us with our offensive rebounding. We also hope they are going to help us spread the floor a little bit with their shooting ability to — so [that will] give us more spacing relative to what they can do offensively. And we also hope that they enjoy playing together and finding what I call our shot — you know the best shot for our group at the moment. We are learning that as you can see from the Blue/White.  I mean we have rims in our eyes and springs in our arms and make no mistake about it, 40 three’s going up so I think we had to get that out of our system, which is I think I will just shoot at any time. That mentality, we’ve got to have a little bit of a plan behind what we do and we have to work together to create what I consider our shot and we haven’t done that yet.”

On the offensive priority:
“The priority is to play great basketball which is move the basketball — play inside out sure, get it into the paint. Paint shots are very important, as a matter of fact, championships are pretty much won on paint shots. Perimeter shots are very important to, so as I call it an equal opportunity, everybody on the floor, I think we’ve got five people in five different spots that can create and the judgment piece and the maturity piece is what will be needed as where the ball should be.”

On the post player’s condition:
“We are in great in three ways and not in great shape in one way. Haley Peters and Kathleen Scheer are really providing us with some quickness, some shooting ability and Krystal [Thomas] is rock solid. After Ali [Allison Vernerey] hit her head in practice you know — a couple of things; a hit to the nose and the next day [she] smacked her head pretty good on the ground.  We are taking it really slow with her. So I would say that we are not full.  We are not full but we have three folks with Karima [Christmas] as well dabbling in a floor spot also.”

Senior Krystal Thomas

How do you think you’ve evolved this season? Can you talk about your growth?
I’ve definitely made it a point to be in the best condition that I can. I’m just really making sure that I run as much as I can. I’ve also gotten a lot stronger, which always helps. So that, even when I’m out there, I’m not out there getting pushed around — I can fight back. Also, just working on my face up game, being able to pass better, as well as hit the open outside jumper.

What is this team’s identity? What do you guys do best?
Right now I am not exactly sure, come back and ask me in a few weeks. Right now we are just so balanced, so versatile, that it is hard to tell what is going to be our strength. Last year we were a very defensive minded team and that is something we definitely want to carry over to this year. We also want to add to that, we also want to add the offensive component so that teams can’t label us as a one dimensional team.  So that we can attack in many different ways.

What is your comfort level with Allison [Vernerey]?
It’s definitely grown a lot. The beauty of playing with Allison is that she is very easy to flow with. We complement each other very well because we are very opposite. She can get down there; run the floor with the guards, whereas I am much more the power, more physical post. I can play on the perimeter; she can play on the outside. We can complement each other. It works really well to have two bigs offensively and defensively in the lane.

Freshman Haley Peters

What skills do you think the freshman class brings to the offensive scheme this year?
I think we have a balanced class, in terms of offense. We definitely have some good shooters and an attacking mindset. We have two great point guards who can handle the ball and are great passers. As I said, it’s a great balance I think.

How do you see yourself working with Krystal and Allison, when she’s healthy?
I’ve grown a lot just in practice, playing against them, because they are so physical and strong. I think that I can add a little bit of outside shooting, but KT [Krystal Thomas] can really shoot the ball from outside now. I’ve just been learning from them every practice, what they do and the moves that they use.

Freshman Tricia Liston

Coach P said that all of the freshmen bring something different, what do you bring?
I think the ability to score and shoot outside.

Have you always been an outside shooter? Who taught you? How young did you start?
My dad taught me. I started as soon as I could hold a basketball because my three older sisters played and I was always tagging along and my dad always coached them.

Were you always a pure shooter?
Right at a young age I got the form down and that is usually the hardest thing for a young kid to learn, not using two hands. Once I got the form down I loved the game so much that it just kind of came when I was little.

You had option, why did you choose Duke?
It was competitive in the classroom and with athletics. Every year you hear about Duke Women’s basketball, Duke men’s basketball and the atmosphere here is centered on basketball. Everyone here is a huge basketball fan, which I have been since I was a kid — both watching and playing. Also, just being on a team that has the potential to do really great things and win a lot of basketball games.

When was the first time you can remember paying attention to Duke women’s basketball?
As a kid, every girl who plays basketball here is about Duke, UConn and Tennessee so it started off more as a dream to me, as a dream school.

Did your parents influence your decision?
They pretty much left it up to me. They knew that what made me happy, made them happy. Also, since I’m the last one, they are going to get to travel and see all of my games.

Shooting is your first skill; defensively did you have to do some work?
I definitely have had to do some work and I still have to continue to work.

What is the biggest difference?
The speed and also every girl that you are defending can potentially score. In high school, you can be guarding somebody that you can’t expect to put the ball in the basket even once.

Senior Karima Christmas
You have a difficult non conference schedule this year right off the bat. How will you prepare for that and the tournament in April?
I think really just playing your game. Not trying to change and do something different. A lot of players when they first come in try to do too much. It’s just do what you know how to do and do it to the best of your abilities. Anything that you do, and contribute is going to help us out in the long run.

What have you noticed about Krystal Thomas during workouts this year?
I think her conditioning, especially after being out as a result of her surgery. Just being conditioned is enabling her to stay out on the floor for more minutes. I can note it from last year to this year, how much more conditioned she is, how much longer she can stay out there and be a threat.

Have you seen her (Thomas) work at it? Passing drills and extra practices…
She’s definitely stayed after practice and put in extra reps — did extra agilities just to try and get back a little extra.

What does it mean to have her be able to stay in there for more minutes?
It’s about depth. Her and Allison will probably rotate in and out for each other. But her ability being able to stay out there more will allow them to play together more, giving us more subs to come in for them. Since they can stay in longer it won’t be a big deal to play them for long stretches of time together.

Freshman Chelsea Gray

On what she did this summer to prepare herself mentally and physically for college ball?
“Mentally, I just knew that I had to come knowing I’m going to be surrounded by great people.  I just had to come in here knowing that I had to work hard non-stop.  I just knew coming here that I had to adjust to everything — the speed, the tempo, everybody.  I had to come working hard every day.  In the summer, we came here as a collective group and did some things with our conditioning coach that really helped a lot.”

Junior Shay Selby

On recovering from injury:
“It still gives me a little bit of a problem when I do certain things, but it’s mostly back to normal.  The brace helped me back a lot, especially on defense and quickness.  It was hard to move, cut, stuff like that.”

On confidence:
“It’s alright…getting up there.  It’s hard coming off an injury and then being hurt for a while.   But right now, I’m healthy and I just need to focus on doing everything right.”

On the non-conference schedule:
“I think our schedule is pretty good this year.  We have a lot of teams we played last year and unfortunately lost to.  So, hopefully we’ll have a payback year and we can put everything together and make it all the way to the top. ”

On growth of freshmen on team:
“I think they’ve grown a lot so far.  Once we get into games and they have to deal with pressure situations, I think it will be good for them.”

Comparing this year’s team to last year’s:
“We have more offensive threats with the freshmen coming in.  A lot of them look to score and distribute the ball.  I think that it will be to our benefit.  Like last year, we struggled shooting and handling zones.  Having more threats from the perimeter will help us tremendously.”

Senior Jasmine Thomas

On the upcoming season and this year’s team:
“I’m excited.  Definitely losing B [Bridgette Mitchell], KJ [Keturah Jackson] and Joy [Cheek], you lose rebounding, you lose defense, and you lose scoring.  It’s good that we have five freshmen that can come in and fill all of the things that we lost.  It’s a very weird feeling to not have them around, but I’m also very confident in what we have on this team.  We have a bunch of scorers, we’re quick and strong, and we have the ability to defend just like we did last year.”

On Chloe’s [Wells] development under her guidance:
“I see a lot of myself in Chloe as far as how aggressive she is and how she can attack.  She shoots well which is something I admire about her and she can also set people up.  I’d like to take her under my wing if she’d let me.”

On her expectations for this year (personal goals):
“My personal goal is just to be the best that I can.  Whatever that takes me to — whether it’s another ACC Championship, a NCAA Championship, or All-America – that’s fine.  But I can’t focus on that because just because I get that doesn’t mean I’m the best I can be.  I don’t think I’ll ever get there, but that’s my goal – to keep trying.”

Freshman Chloe Wells

On adjusting to college ball:
“I’m having a lot of fun.  It’s a growing period for me.  I’m the smallest and the weakest so far, but I’m getting in the weight room.  I think the biggest difference is the pace of the game, but I feel like I’m learning that now.”

On how she was prepared to make this mental transition:
“Playing with my dad, he always had us play up.  Most of the girls I’m going to play against are juniors and seniors and I’ve already played up against different people, so I know that I need to bring it.”

On what she has learned from Jasmine [Thomas]:
“Her work ethic – whether we are on the court or off the court, she is always going hard.  She’s always first.  I admire that about her, especially on defense.  She’s just relentless, and that’s something I’m trying to do now.  And on offense, when she’s not looking for her shot, she’s looking to create for others.”

One thing that Coach P harps on?
“I have to talk.  I’ve got to lead.”

For more coverage visit GoDuke.com

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.

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.

Thomas helps lead Duke past #3 Ohio State 83-67

jaxxDURHAM, N.C. – It felt like old times again at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke had Lindsey Harding in the house, an Allison dominating the paint and a highly ranked team in deep trouble.

Jasmine Thomas scored 24 of her career-high 29 points during the second half and the 11th-ranked Blue Devils routed No. 3 Ohio State 83-67 on Thursday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Duke (6-1) outscored the Buckeyes 24-8 during a 6-minute stretch of the second half, then led by 19 while pulling away late and turning its 18th straight home victory into an unexpected blowout.

“Everything about the second half was much more aggressive,” coach Joanne P. McCallie said.

Jantel Lavender had 20 points and 18 rebounds for Ohio State (8-1), which beat its first eight opponents by an average of 27 points but was held to fewer than 83 points for the first time this season.

These kinds of punishing performances became commonplace at Cameron three years ago when Harding ran the show and led Duke to a 30-0 start and a No. 1 ranking.

This time, Harding watched from the stands while her protégé, Thomas, put on a show and Allison Vernerey — a 6-foot-5 freshman who wears the same No. 43 jersey that star center Alison Bales wore during Harding’s era — teamed with 6-4 Krystal Thomas inside. Vernerey finished with a season-high 13 points in her first home game of national significance.

“That’s the kind of game I came for,” Vernerey said. “You don’t come for easy games.”

There isn’t much about the remaining schedule that’s easy for Duke, the only team to face the top three schools in The Associated Press Top 25. But the Blue Devils can’t help but like their chances against No. 1 Connecticut and No. 2 Stanford if their junior point guard keeps playing like this.

“I just decided to attack the basket more,” Jasmine Thomas said. “I really didn’t get anything inside in the first half, so that was just a change in my mentality.”

Thomas, who had a triple-double last time out against Marquette, started the decisive burst with a 3-pointer, scored 10 points during the run and went coast-to-coast for the layup that gave the Blue Devils their first double-figure lead, 59-49, with 11 minutes left.

“We should have made her take some tougher shots,” Buckeyes coach Jim Foster said.

After Bridgette Mitchell‘s jumper capped the burst and made it 61-49 with 10½ minutes left, Ohio State didn’t get closer than five the rest of the way.

Karima Christmas had 10 points and Krystal Thomas finished with 13 rebounds to help the Blue Devils win their fifth straight.

Tayler Hill scored 13 points, Brittany Johnson and Sarah Schulze had 11 apiece and Samantha Prahalis finished with 10 points for the Buckeyes. But the Buckeyes led twice for a total of about 3½ minutes, turned it over 21 times, were outscored 46-10 in the paint and got just two points from their bench.

“I just think they came at us, with just an attitude, like, ‘We were going to win this game,'” Prahalis said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t come back at them.”

Duke Women set to open at home with Georgia Southern

courtesy Image of Sport
courtesy Image of Sport

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Georgia Southern (1-0) at Duke (1-1)
Nov. 19, 2009  •  Durham, N.C.  •  Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)

Media Information

Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. (EST)
TV: None
Radio: Duke ISP Network – 620 The Buzz with Steve Barnes (PBP), Morgan Patrick (Color)
Twitter: DukeWBBSID & CoachPDuke
Facebook: Official Duke Women’s Basketball Group
Rankings: Duke (No. 11 – AP, No. 12 – ESPN/USA Today)
Series: Tied 1-1
Head Coaches:  Duke: Joanne P. McCallie (369-165, 18th Season)
Georgia Southern: Rusty Cram (201-178, 14th Season)

Blue Devils to Host Georgia Southern on Thursday in Home Opener…
After opening the season with two road contests, the 11th-ranked Duke women’s basketball team (1-1) will host Georgia Southern (1-0) at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19, in the 2009-10 home opener at Cameron Indoor Stadium.  The first 1,000 fans in attendance on Thursday will receive a free women’s basketball schedule magnet.

Duke is ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press and No. 12 in the ESPN/USA Today Division I Coaches Polls.

The Blue Devils will remain at home against Charlotte on Monday, Nov. 23 at 7:00 p.m., before traveling to Cancun, Mexico for the Caribbean Challenge from Nov. 26-27.

Noting Duke…
The Blue Devils return two starters off a squad which posted a 27-6 overall record and received a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament a year ago … Duke returns five student-athletes who started at least two games in 2008-09 … Duke returns 58.5 percent of its scoring and 63.3 percent of its rebounding from a year ago … junior Jasmine Thomas returns as Duke’s top three-point shooter as she hit 28 treys … as a team, Duke returns nine players and eight of the nine hit at least one three-pointer last season.

A Look At Georgia Southern…
Georgia Southern enters Thursday with a 1-0 record after defeating Brewton-Parker in the season opener on Nov. 13 by a score of 96-44.  The Eagles are coached by Rusty Cram, who enters his 14th year with GSU.  He owns an overall record of 201-178.  Georgia Southern returns three starters and 10 letterwinners off last year’s squad, which posted a 16-14 record.
Returning starters for the Eagles include, Jessica Geiger, Jamie Navarro and J’Lisia Ogburn.

The Series With Georgia Southern …
Duke and Georgia Southern will meet for the third time in school history on Thursday.  The series is tied, 1-1, with the last meeting coming on Dec. 21, 1984.

The meeting in 1984 was in the USF Holiday Classic in Tampa, Fla., with Duke winning 71-65.  The other contest came on Jan. 9, 1982 in Statesboro, Ga., with the Eagles winning 64-58.

Storylines/Other Blue Devil Notes…
•  Duke is averaging 18.5 steals a game through two contests so far. The Blue Devils are also playing big on the boards outrebounding opponents, 54-33 (+21).

•  The 95 points allowed by Duke at Texas A&M on Nov. 15 was the most allowed by a Blue Devil team since the 104 points Connecticut scored on Nov. 13, 1998. The 56.9 field goal percentage by the Aggies on Sunday was the highest allowed by Duke since Florida State shot 57.4 percent on Feb. 4, 2004. The game broke Duke’s 51-game ACC winning streak.

•  In the season opener on Friday, Duke scored 104 points and won by 69 points at Houston Baptist University. The 104 points was the most scored under a team led by Joanne P. McCallie at Duke and the 69-point win was the largest margin of victory for a McCallie-led Blue Devil squad. The Blue Devils also hit 55.7 percent from the field, which is the second-best field goal percentage for a Coach P led Duke team. The high was 56.0 percent against Virginia on March 6, 2009 in the ACC Tournament.

•  The Blue Devils registered 26 steals at Houston Baptist, which was two steals shy of matching the Duke school record. The record is 28, which came against UNC Greensboro on Nov. 18, 2007.

•  Sophomore Shay Selby saw her first action of the exhibition season on Sunday, Nov. 8 against Alaska Anchorage. She played eight minutes in the game. Selby is recovering from offseason knee surgery as well as mono in the preseason. She came off the bench to net seven points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in 10 minutes at Houston Baptist on Friday night.

•  Senior Keturah Jackson was cleared for action as the Blue Devils opened the season on Nov. 13. Jackson came off the bench and played 17 minutes at Houston Baptist and was impressive. She scored eight points, had four steals, two rebounds and two steals, while hitting 3-of-4 shots from the field. She had shoulder surgery over the summer and has been going through rehab. Jackson was able to practice the last couple of weeks with light contact.

•  The Coach P Radio Show will next take place on Tuesday, Dec. 1 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.

Home Openers…
Duke has won 18 straight home openers, after falling its first two in 1975-76 and 1977-78.

Thomas Fires Away At A&M…
Junior Jasmine Thomas registered a career-high 26 points at 16th-ranked Texas A&M on Sunday.  The Fairfax, Va., product hit a career-high four three-pointers, attempted a career-high and school record 14 three-pointers and attempted a career-high 28 shots.
In the contest, Thomas also pulled down nine rebounds, three assists and three steals in 38 minutes.

Through two games on the year, Thomas is averaging 16.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.0 steals.  Of the five three-pointers Duke has hit on the season, Thomas has made four of those.

Duke Versus the Southern Conference…
Duke has played against eight teams in the Southern Conference, winning 35 out of 50 games. The last meeting with a Southern Conference team resulted in an 84-39 win for the Blue Devils as they faced UNC Greensboro in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Nov. 18, 2007. Duke owns a 25-game win streak against Southern Conference teams with the last loss coming in 1982, Georgia Southern, 58-64.

Thomas Impressive in First Collegiate Start…
Junior Krystal Thomas made her first collegiate start at center for the Blue Devils on Nov. 13 at Houston Baptist University.  A product of Orlando, Fla., Thomas had played in 63 career contests without a start before Friday.

In the game, the 6-5 Thomas registered her fourth career double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds to go along with three blocked shots in 20 minutes.  She hit 7-of-10 field goals on the night.

Thomas is hitting a team-best 76.9 percent of her field goals in two games (10-of-13).  She leads Duke with six blocked shots and an average of 8.5 rebounds.

Blue Devils Open on the Road…

For the second time in three years under the direction of Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie, the Blue Devils opened the season on the road.  During her first year in 2007-08, McCallie and the Blue Devils opened the season with a 57-37 victory at Denver.

Duke also opened with two consecutive road contests for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign when the Blue Devils played at Penn State and at Old Dominion.  The Blue Devils came away with a 93-67 win at PSU and a 93-56 victory at ODU.

Thomas Selected Naismith Candidate…
Duke junior Jasmine Thomas has been named one of 50 preseason candidates for the Naismith National Player of the Year trophy.
The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2009-10 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T will be awarded at the 2010 NCAA Women’s Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.

Duke Women roll over FSU 75-57 to advance to the ACC Tournament Championship Game

Coach P talks of the big win over FSU
Coach P talks of the big win over FSU

Duke advanced to the ACC Tournament Championship game by defeating #2 seed Florida State 75-57.  Once again, Duke shot over 50% from the field as they continue to play their best basketball of the season.  The Blue Devils avenged an overtime loss in Tallahassee behind a balanced attack which produced four players in double figures.

Jasmine Thomas led the way with 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting.  Many of her buckets helped Duke thwart a second half Seminole rally which cut a 22 point half time advantage to just 10 points.  Coach Joanne P. McCallie called timeout and the Blue Devils regained their edge as they rolled to an unexpected easy win.

“Just an excellent strong game for us.  Our team really worked hard defensively.  I thought we played well, very well off each other, defensively and offensively.  A good start, and pretty thorough throughout the game despite one small area of giving up a few 3’s in transition,” said McCallie in her opening statement to the media.

Helping Thomas on the offensive end were seniors Careem Gay with 13 and 11 points .  Karima Christmas  had 12 points and Abby Waner tallied 9 points.

Jasmine calls the play - BDN Photo
Jasmine calls the play - BDN Photo

Once again the Blue Devils were able to utilize their bench with nine players 12 minutes or more.  Duke played all twelve players in the contest and their bench won the scoring battle 22-12.

As good as the offense has been, this years team relies on it’s stingy defense.  Florida State managed hot 20 of 59 shots, going 33.9% for the game.  And an even more telling stat was the Blue Devils outscored their opponent in the paint 38-14.

After two surprisingly even games, Duke is in for a battle tomorrow against Maryland.  The Terps won the most exciting game of the tournament defeating North Carolina 95-84.  The game provided many streaks and had the crowd jumping.

Maryland guard Kristin Toliver hit all 13 of her free throws, scoring 25 points to go with 5 assists.  But the star of this game was teammate Marisa Coleman.  The first team All ACC performer hit a sizzling 9 of 13 from the field to help her finish the game with 29 points.

The Terps hit 28 of 36 free throws, while the Tar Heels made it to the line just 13 times.  North Carolina finishes 26-6 and awaits their seeding which takes place next week.

BDN Photo
BDN Photo

The Duke – Maryland contest is a game of contrasting styles.  During the post game press conferences, Coach P pointed to defense while Maryland coach Brenda Frese talked of offense.

The Terps could be the most balanced team in the ACC.  The two teams split the series during the regular season, each winning at home.  Frese promised a sea of red tomorrow.

“I personally can’t think of anything better playing in a championship against Maryland my senior year, not referencing anything specific, of course.  We know them well.  They know us well.  So therefore it’s not about who can scout better.  It’s not about who can prepare better.  It’s a head-to-head match-up that we know very well.  So it’s going to come down to who wants it more,” said Duke senior Abby Waner.

Duke will also have to find a way to keep the Terp’s solid front line in check.

“Maryland’s bigs, they were very effective against Carolina; Coleman and Toliver went to the foul line 26 times, so they attacked the basket a lot today, how do you prepare for that?,”  said Waner.

Duke fans need to turn out at the Greensboro Coliseum in force to support their team.  There is no love lost between these two teams and the game is sure to be entertaining.

Some kudos are in order –  While there was little defense in the game, Maryland and UNC excited the crowd and both teams deserve a pat on the back for the show.  The ACC Tournament organizers do a fabulous job in Greensboro.  Their hospitality and organization are top notch and it’s been a pleasure to cover the event.  The Duke Women are on fire and Coach P has these women on the same page at the right time.  Look for out ACC Tournament Photo Gallery Monday.

From out friends at GoDuke.com -

GREENSBORO, N.C.– For the second straight game, Duke shot over 50.0 percent from the field and went on to cruise to a 75-57 victory over 12th-ranked Florida State on Saturday in the ACC Tournament semifinals in Greensboro, N.C.

Duke will next take on Maryland in Sunday’s ACC Championship at 1:00 p.m., on Fox Sports Net.

For a full recap, click on www.GoDuke.com <http://www.goduke.com/>

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Blue Devil Postgame Notes   *  No. 2 seed Florida State vs. No. 3 seed Duke *  March 7, 2009
ACC Tournament Semifinals

With The Duke Victory:
*       Will next face top-seeded Maryland in the ACC Championship game on Sunday, March 8 at 1:00 p.m.  The game will be aired live on Fox Sports Net.
*       Moved to 6-0 all-time against Florida State in ACC Tournament play.
*       Increased the series record to 29-8 all-time against the Seminoles.
*       Improved to 26-4 overall on the season.
*       Moved to 23-4 all-time in the ACC Tournament when the games have been played in the Greensboro Coliseum.  Overall, Duke owns a 25-5 record in games played in the Greensboro Coliseum.
*       Joanne P. McCallie improved to 28-10 all-time in conference tournament action.
*       Now owns 23 ACC Tournament victories in ACC Tournament play since 2000.
*       Improved to 32-26 all-time in ACC Tournament play.
*       Won its second straight ACC Tournament game against a ranked opponent and improved to 8-3 on the year against ranked teams.
*       Improved to 5-4 all-time against No. 2 seeds, but won its fifth straight contest.
Senior Chante Black
*       Moved into a tie for eighth place on Duke’s all-time points list with 1409.
*       With her five free throws made, moved into eighth place on Duke’s all-time list with 299.
*       Pulled down eight rebounds to move into 23rd place on the ACC career rebounding list with 971.
*       Finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in 24 minutes.
*       Will play in her third ACC Championship game on Sunday – 2005 and 2008 were both losses.
Senior Abby Waner
*       Hit three three-pointers marking the 10th time out of the last 14 games she has hit two or more treys.
*       Has nailed 7-of-10 from downtown in the two ACC Tournament games.
*       Has hit 50.0 percent or better in back-to-back games from three-point range for the first time this season.
*       Finished hitting 3-of-4 from three-point land, had nine points and three assists.
*       Has now hit 22 career three-pointers in the ACC Tournament, which ranks Duke’s all-time leader in ACC Tournament action. Her 22 treys also ranks as the fourth-highest total in ACC history.
Senior Carrem Gay
*       Registered double-figure scoring for the fourth time out of the last six games.
*       Had 13 points, nine rebounds, two assists and one steal in 23 minutes.
Sophomore Karima Christmas
*       Totaled double-figure scoring for only the sixth time this season with 10 points.
Sophomore Jasmine Thomas
*       Registered 14 points, five assists and two rebounds in 29 minutes.
*       Had double-digits in three out of the last four games.
*       After hitting only 1-of-7 field goals the day before, hit 6-of-9 shots.
Other Duke Notes:
*       For the second straight game, Duke shot over 50.0 percent from the field in the first half (53.1).  In two ACC Tournament  games, the Blue Devils have shot 55.7 percent in the first half this year (34-61).
*       Held a 38-14 points in the paint advantage.
*       Held FSU to 18 points in the first half marking the 14th time out of 30 games the Blue Devils have held an opponent to 22 points or fewer in the first stanza.
*       Hit 51.8 percent from the field marking the second straight game the Blue Devils have hit over 50.0 percent from the field in the ACC Tournament.  The back-to-back 50.0 percent shooting in the ACC Tournament was only the second time it has ever happened for the Blue Devils.  The other time was in 2000 when Duke won the ACC.
*       Held FSU to 57 points marking the 22nd time out of 30 games Duke has held an opponent to 58 points or under.
*       Collected a 22-12 bench points lead.
*       After getting outrebounded in the last contest, Duke held a 36-31 advantage on the day.
*       In two games, has hit 15-of-25 from three-point land for a 60.0 percentage