The last time the Blue Devils dropped two consecutive games by double-digits, Hanson was still on the radio.
On two straight Saturdays in December 1997, Duke fell at Clemson and to UCLA by 11 and 10, respectively. That season, though, the team went on to a 13-3 conference record and finished first in the ACC.
Flash forward 10 years to the 2007 Blue Devils (5-2), who head to University Park, Pa. Sunday on a rare two-game losing streak looking to bounce back against the Nittany Lions (5-2).
No. 11 Duke must not only regroup after the losses but recover from an influx of injuries that certainly hampered its performance in last Sunday's 74-48 loss to UConn and in Wednesday's 68-55 loss at Vanderbilt.
Freshman Krystal Thomas suffered a knee-cap injury in the first half of the game against the Commodores. Sophomore Abby Waner, who returned against the Huskies after being sidelined with a bum ankle, clocked 25 minutes and scored nine points in Wednesday's contest. Senior Wanisha Smith did not see any action in Nashville and is currently listed as day-to-day.
First-year head coach Joanne P. McCallie said the slough of injuries has affected her players' ability to grow into a new system, but that the hard work her hurt players are putting in-particularly Waner-is paying off.
"We're working on creating that chemistry," McCallie said. "You can never know what dimensions are thrown at you. Abby's been fighting hard, and she's getting more into her game mode and game speed-that's a good thing."
One challenge the Blue Devils did expect, however, was a grueling slate that has them traveling again after trips to Nashville and the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam.
"It's a crazy schedule," McCallie said. "But it's great to have the opportunity to play excellent teams and to test ourselves and push ourselves, and learn to trust better or believe better or handle adversity better. All of those things are very valuable, and that's what we will do."
When the ball tips at 5 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday, Duke hopes those lessons will start paying immediate dividends.
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