Women's basketball head coach Gail Goestenkors yesterday submitted her entry for understatement of the year with this quote: "I feel very good about where we're heading right now."
After capturing the Duke Women's Basketball Classic title in convincing fashion, the women are doing far more than just heading in the right direction. This weekend, Duke outscored American (0-4) and Miami of Ohio (2-1) by a combined 202-125 in improving its season record to 4-0.
The Classic raised funds for the Durham Ronald McDonald House.
Senior point guard Missy Anderson was tabbed the Classic's Most Valuable Player and was joined on the All-Tournament team by junior center Zeki Blanding. Blanding was named to the All-Tournament squad for the second consecutive year.
The drubbing began Saturday as the Blue Devils dismantled American, 104-71. In a balanced scoring attack, five players registered double-figure point totals, led by Anderson's 16 points.
As has been the case so far this season, Duke's bench got the job done. Junior Carey Kauffman notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds in only 13 minutes of action, and sparkplug point guard Kira Orr recorded 14 points, seven rebounds, and a team-high four assists.
Nevertheless, Goestenkors was displeased with her squad's performance Saturday.
"Our rebounding has a long way to go," she said. "We don't think we played very well. We don't know how we won by as much as we did."
Sunday, the Blue Devils wiped the scowl off Goestenkors' face with a 98-54 thrashing of the Miami of Ohio Redskins, shooting a blistering 59.4 percent from the floor. Sophomore guard Jen Scanlon erupted out of a two-game shooting slump, pouring in 23 points in just 20 minutes of playing time. Scanlon was 10-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-3 from three-point range.
"I just had to keep my confidence in my shot," Scanlon said.
Junior sniper Kristina Meiman was also in fine form. She scored 13 points in as many minutes off the bench, on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor and 4-of-4 free throws. For the game, Duke made its freebies count, knocking down 17-of-20 from the free throw stripe compared with the 5-of-10 mark for the Redskins.
Blanding contributed the second half of her All-Tournament performance with eight points, a team-leading five rebounds, two steals, and one resounding, crowd-igniting blocked shot in the low post.
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Again, Anderson showed why she is the floor leader for the Blue Devils, dominating the game on both sides of the ball. She scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, and also wreaked havoc on the defensive end. Anderson recorded three steals and hounded Miami's freshman point guard Jesse Weisbrod into 2-of-8 shooting and five turnovers.
Despite these stellar individual efforts, Duke was more satisfied with the team's defensive pressure. The Blue Devils created 13 steals to Miami's eight, and held a 25-14 advantage on the defensive glass.
"Before this game, I wasn't confident in our defensive ability as a team," Goestenkors said. "I feel much better about our defense. We're way ahead of the game defensively."
Goestenkors was especially complimentary of her starting backcourt members for their intensity. She said that Anderson was picked tournament MVP primarily for her hustle and defense.
As for Scanlon, Goestenkors said that, "we've been getting on Jen for her defense since her freshman year. We told her to concentrate on defense, and not worry about her shooting. [Today's game was] better `D' than she's ever played."
All and all it was a very satisfying weekend for the Blue Devils. They can only hope that they can continue to maintain the performance they had during the Classic.
"This is the best we've played so far," Anderson said. "It all came together today. We just tried to keep that cohesiveness."