Duke wins final tune-up

Looking at the scoreboard, the Blue Devils appeared dominant, but on the court the team was sloppy Monday night.

Duke defeated EV1 in its final exhibition game 71-57 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in a game marred by Duke turnovers.

Although Duke won by 14 points and led by as many as 22 late in the first half, the team was concerned with its offensive execution, as it turned the ball over 22 times.

“We made a lot of mistakes in chunks,” junior Monique Currie said. “At one time we had four turnovers in a row. Another time, we had three. [Improvement] comes with being more poised, more relaxed and not rushing things.”

Currie paced the Blue Devils with 21 points. She turned the ball over five times and was called for offensive fouls on two consecutive possessions. Many of the team’s turnovers were because of EV1’s pressure defense.

“I think our aggressive defense exposed some of Duke’s weaknesses and will make them go back to the drawing board,” EV1 coach Kevin Cook said. “That’s one of the goals of these exhibition games.”

With the suspension of point guard Lindsey Harding, the Blue Devils lack an experienced ball handler to break a full-court press. In its two exhibition games, Duke has experimented using Currie, freshman guard Wanisha Smith, and junior guard Jessica Foley bringing the ball up the floor.

In Monday’s game, Foley struggled at the point, coughing the ball up four times, but managed six assists and six points in the contest. Smith played well off the bench, netting 16 points in 23 minutes of action.

“We’re starting to gain a lot more confidence [in Smith] every game, and I think she’s starting to feel more confident,” Currie said. “It’s really hard to play the point coming into college, and I think she’s adjusting well and making better decisions.”

The team, although not thrilled with Monday’s performance, hopes to learn from its mistakes before the season opener later this week.

“I thought this was a very good team for us to play,” head coach Gail Goestenkors said. “I’m so glad we played this game and we can watch the videotape and have a couple of practices to work on some things.”

Goestenkors emphasized that the offense will have to learn to play better against aggressive defenses, because it will face many more teams that play EV1’s style throughout the season. Although Duke drained three consecutive three-pointers against EV1’s 2-3 zone, Goestenkors said she wants to work on the team’s execution against the zone.

“I think we wanted to get the ball inside a little bit more than we did [against the 2-3 zone],” Goestenkors said. “When they went man-to-man, I thought we did a better job getting the ball into the post.”

Freshman Chante Black started Monday’s game at center, but will compete with Allison Bales for the starting position in the final three days of preseason practice Goestenkors said.

The Blue Devils get their season underway Friday in the first round of the Preseason WNIT against in-state rival Davidson.


Share and discuss “Duke wins final tune-up” on social media.