Between the Blue Devils' early exit from the ACC Tournament in Greensboro and the Women's NCAA Tournament, Duke has an opportunity to rest and retool before making its final push for the national title.
"Everybody's very disappointed," head coach Gail Goestenkors said of Duke's loss to Maryland in the ACC semifinal. "But we're also recommitted to becoming better and to working towards winning a National Championship."
Goestenkors added that her team has never wavered from its goal of winning the NCAA title. If anything, the Blue Devils are now even more motivated to achieve what they have set out all season to do, she said.
As part of the team's recommitment to its objectives, practices this week are going to focus on several areas in which Duke struggled at the end regular season-rebounding, efficiency in transition, and team defense.
"We've been out-rebounded three out of our last four games," Goestenkors said. "We were one of the best rebounding teams in the country earlier in the season and now we're being beat on the boards."
In its loss to Maryland in the ACC Tournament, Duke was out-rebounded 30-18 on the defensive glass. For the conference season, Duke averaged 27.2 defensive rebounds per game, trailing only the Terrapins for the highest mark in the ACC.
Despite being beaten on the glass in their last two games of the regular season, the Blue Devils still finished second in the ACC in rebounding margin per game at +9.7.
"We need to take more pride in doing the little things: boxing out, making contact down low, pursuing rebounds, taking control of the offensive glass," Goestenkors said. "We just aren't pursuing the boards like we need to in order to be a great rebounding team."
The team is planning on watching the Selection Show together at 7 p.m. Monday.
"We're looking forward to the selection show," Goestenkors said. "It's always exciting to find out which bracket you're in, which teams you're going to play and where. But it doesn't really matter where we end up because you've got to play the best to beat the best to be the best."
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