GREENSBORO - The Duke Blue Devils rolled past North Carolina to win their second consecutive ACC Tournament Championship by a score of 81-66 on Sunday afternoon in Greensboro. Duke was led by tournament MVP Jasmine Thomas who scored 21 points and she was helped by fellow senior Karima Christmas who had 13 points and 9 boards.
But it was the second half play of true freshman Haley Peters that added a huge sprak to the Blue Devils efforts. Peters knocked down 5 of 6 free throws and scored 14 points, second most on the team to go with 4 rebounds.
"I thought that was the greatest screen on that play along the baseline where Jazz hit a three and she got the call," said McCallie on a play which Thomas nailed the three and Haley was fouled, went to the line, knocked down two free throws for a 5 point play which in hindsight was a dagger.
"When you sit on the bench, sometimes it's helpful because you can see whats going on out there and see your teams attitude. When I came in I tried to be an energy player," stated Peters.
Duke had their hands full with Jessica Breland who scored a game high 27 points to go with her 7 rebounds. "I thought we had done a good job on Breland until I saw here stat line," said McCallie in praise of her play.
Duke had a big lift from the players off their bench, mainly due to the aformentioned Peters where they outscored the Tar Heels 28-12. The Blue Devils also won the battle of the boards holding a 38-27 edge.
Once again, McCallie utilized here deep bench where 11 Blue Devils got minutes. This seemed to be a strategic move for the Tar Heels wore down a bit during the stretch run.
"I;m very, very proud of our team, our seniors and the leadership exhibited out there throughout this tournament, said McCallie. She continued, "We're very excited to represent Duke and be able to be together and have so much fun."
Karima Christmas joined Jasmine Thomas on the first team all tournament team while Chelsea Gray was named to the second team. Had the votes not been taken early, you would have likely seen Haley Peters name as well.
Duke won their seventh tournament title, all since the year 2000. Duke now holds a 5-3 advantage when playing North Carolina for the title. The Blue Devils have also played in 10 of the last 12 finals, a testament to the programs strength.
The win pushed the Blue Devils record to 29-3 on the season and they were rated as the second best team in the RPI rating before the game. Duke must now wait two weeks for the NCAA selection show to learn of their next opponent and that game will be played in Cameron Indoor Stadium where Duke hosts a first round regional.
The Duke Women earned a share of the ACC Regular Season Championship with a 66-58 victory over arch rival North Carolina before a sold out crowd in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The win pushed the Blue Devils overall record to 26-3 going into this weeks Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
While this would not be Karima Christmas, Jasmine Thomas and Krystal Thomas's last game in Cameron due to hosting the first round in the NCAA Tournament, it was their last regular season game. That meant senior day speeches and as always they were heart felt and emotional.
The Blue Devils also took turns cutting down the net as they celebrated the victory but you could tell this wasn't the net they coveted and Coach McCallie otherwise known as Coach P, alluded to that on the post game press conference.
As for the game itself, the Blue Devils found themselves trailing at the half to the pesky Tar Heels who rolled out to an early 15-8 lead. Duke settled down after the half and their defense allowed them to take a 38-37 lead on a Karima Christmas three pointer and the Blue Devils never trailed again.
Jasmine Thomas gave Duke a commanding 56-42 lead on a three pointer of her own at the 9:42 mark and that allowed them to cruise to a 66-58 win. Thomas led Duke with 17 points and 5 assists to go with 2 steals.
But it was Karima Christmas who posted a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds and 6 assists of her own. Fellow senior Krystal pulled down a game high 13 rebounds and you'll see her in the videos below.
Duke got a spark from Allison Vernerey too, where she tossed in 11 points making and grabbed 6 rebounds and swatted back 2 shots on her birthday. Shay Selby played with an edge adding 7 points as did freshman Tricia Liston.
Chelsea Gray who is healing an ankle sprian tried to make a go of it but wasn't successful. She is now day to day but expected to play in the tournament.
Duke outscored North Carolina 26-16 in the paint and outrebounded their rival 52-46. The win was the 23rd in a row in Cameron Indoor Stadium where Duke went undefeated this season. Duke will now take on the winner of the Virginia-Wake Forest winner having won the tie breaker and earning the number one seed.
#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)
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.
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.
[private]The Duke Blue Devil Women scratched out a 73-58 victory over Miami on Saturday before a season high 7310 fans in Cameron Indoor Stadium. It took a second half surge and a career high 21 points from Karima Christmas for the Devils to win their ACC opener and go to 13-1 on the season.
Duke jumped out to a 28-15 lead, but then went cold and Miami took advantage making a 13-0 run to tie the contest 28 a piece at the 2:32 mark of the first half. Former Duke player and Miami coach
Katie Meyer had her women fired up and while Duke regained the lead, a Latoya James jumper sent the teams in to the locker room where the heavily favored Blue Devils held a slim two point lead.
In the second half, Duke resorted to their trademark which is defense holding the Canes to 31.4% from from the floor. Of course dominating the boards to the tune of 48-27 helped their cause as well.
Pressure defense was vital to the Devils run and several steals allowed for big plays and brought the crowd alive. Miami hung in most of the game with their pressure as well, scoring 26 points off turnovers. The youthful Canes were led by Epihany Woodson with 16 points, but their leading scorer Shenise Johnson was held to just 3 points.
Chante Black was once again steady tallying 17 points and 12 rebounds. Joy Cheek chipped in with 12 points and Jasmine Thomas with 9 points.
But it was indeed Karina Christmas's night where she seemed very much in the flow of the game going 7 of 10 from the field to go with 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals. Christmas also had a career high in three point buckets with three and her six steals were also a personal best.
“I think I’m just eager to get into the game, to try and make something happen, try and feed off my teammates, and make them feed off of me. I’m just motivated when I get in the game," said Christmas after her performance.
Miami Coach Katie Meyer stated, "Karima Christmas blew our scout – we don’t have her scouted for some of the stuff she did tonight, and that makes Duke a very tough team if she’s going to shoot the ball like that. That was not a good Christmas present."
Abby Waner was saddled with foul trouble and played only 18 minutes. She eventually fouled out going scoreless, but managed 4 rebounds and 5 assists and 3 steals when in the game. In fact, she is now second in the all time Duke record book for steals with 272, where she passed Iciss Tillis. Her first half defense also slowed down Miami's Woodson before she had to go to the bench.
Duke also continued to show off their depth in that the Devils bench outscored the Canes 41-12. It was the fifth time in the last six games that the bench scored 40 plus points which is quite an accomplishment.
The 13-1 start is also Joanne P. McCallies best start in her 17 years as a coach.
The Blue Devils take an 11 game winning streak into Monday evenings contest with Maryland. When asked if she was already think about Maryland, McCallie responded,
“We start thinking about them now. All the games matter, there are 14 conference games and every one of them is of equal value. I know that there are rivalries but as coaches we do the same thing for every one."
Maryland (1-0 ACC, 13-2) has become quite the rival after several key match ups in the past few years. Just over 7000 tickets have been sold for the game, but there are some good seats still available according to Duke SID Lindy Brown. The game will be televised ESPN 2 with the ball being tip off at 7:30 EST.[/private]
[private]The buzzer sounded in Cameron as the Duke Women upset the third rated Stanford Cardinal 56-52. As one might expect several of the victorious Blue Devils ran about the court in glee, but not Coach McCallie.
After Stanford coach Tara Vanderveer gave McCallie a cold fish hand shake, the second year Blue Devil coach calmly walked off the court, glancing back at her players as if to say we have to get on a flight to Los Angeles tomorrow to take on Southern Cal and Sienna in back to back games.
It was one of McCallies three most impressive wins as a coach at Duke. The other two, Maryland and Rutgers came last season and she obviously has hopes that there are more big wins to be had as the season progresses.
During the press conference McCallie, known to most as Coach P acted as if she expected to win over one of the countries better programs. She certainly praised her teams defensive effort which included a suffocating array of pressing defenses which resulted in 23 Cardinal turnovers.
McCallie also praised her teams effort on the boards where they completely dominated the glass after being dominated on them in the first half. She mentioned the effort of both teams in what was a physical match up. In fact, Stanford Coach VanDerveer more or less whined about bodies hitting the floor just minutes before.
What McCallie didn't do was respond to any questions concerning the losing coaches comments, nor did she seemingly act any different with this victory than proceeding ones this season. She instead kept the focus on her team and she once again prefaced her opening comments with "We can do a whole lot of things better.""
While McCallie may not have tipped her hand with a broad smile after the victory, she had to be elated with the victory. it was a big step towards her goal of continuing to prepare for a deeper run in March. She was clearly already thinking of the next game and while I don't know this for certain, the message to the team may have been we are supposed to do this, we are going to win like this and lets act like it.
So in a night where the ESPN camera crew asked her to come back out for an interview in front of a nationwide audience, McCallie served notice that her "smack you in the mouth" defense is a new, firm and solid staple for the program and that Duke can succeed with that style.
More importantly her team has developed depth, confidence and is playing together. The Dukies seem poised to turn another corner but to do so they must put this big win behind them and be ready for a quick turnaround, flying cross country to take on USC.
Judging from last nights performance and comments, Coach P recognizes this and hopefully her team realizes that consistency and two wins out West, will move them up the ladder one step closer to the top.
Duke climbed to 8-1 on the season and won their 26th game versus a non conferences opponent out of the last 27 home games. McCallie holds a 3-0 record versus Stanford Coach VanDerveer and won her third contest against a top five ranked team in under two seasons at Duke.
One of the stats which stood out was the fact that Duke outscored a tall Stanford team 12-1 on second chance points.
Duke came up big at the free throw stripe as well going 17-22. Duke also won the battle of the boards 40-39 after trailing 22-11 at the half.
The Games MVP - Sophomore Karima Christmas had a career high of 14 points and a career high of 9 rebounds as well. She hit here first three pointer of her career and ended up 2 for 2 betond the stripe.
Duke next plays at Southern Cal on 12-19 in a game televised on FSNW.[/private]