60-52 Duke, FINAL

Jasmine Thomas nails her free throws, and the Blue Devils are headed to the Sweet 16.  It was a remarkably sloppy day for Duke, but a win's a win in the NCAA tournament. Performances like this will send them home sooner than they'd like, though, and Coach McCallie can't be happy with her team's play.

That's all for now, check out the Chronicle tomorrow for a fuller analysis and game notes.

58-52 Duke, 1.1 seconds remaining

Jasmine Thomas is fouled as chants of "Our House" rain from the rafters.  This moderately-sized crowd has done a remarkable job this evening.

56-52 Duke, 14.6 seconds remaining

The Tigers have begun fouling, and a huge 3-pointer keeps LSU close. Duke still has the ball though, and LSU will need to be quick.

54-49 Duke, 22.7 seconds remaining

Two consecutive airballs by LSU has all-but iced the game for the Blue Devils.

54-49 Duke, 1:22 remaining

A Joy Cheek post move gives Duke a five-point cushion as time continues to wind down. Seeing the typical Blue Devils stars has gotten the crowd crazy. Another move by Cheek keeps Duke on top by five after two made Tiger free throws.

50-47 Duke, 2:51 remaining

A successful drive from Jasmine Thomas got the crowd to its feet, and a putback moments later from Keturah Jackson gave the Blue Devils a cushion.

46-45 Duke, 3:49 remaining

Bridgette Mitchell has begun to make herself known in her last game in Cameron, pushing her point total up to 12. But, the most important play of the game came at the hands of classmate Karima Christmas, who converted a 3-point play to give Duke its first lead in a long, long while. Blue Devils have all of the momentum now, but the Tigers are at the line shooting two.

39-39, 7:40 remaining

More turnovers. More poor shot selection from both sides. Jasmine Thomas has been whistled for traveling and had her shot blocked on her last two offensive touches. Joy Cheek has had a rough night, getting whistled for poorly-timed fouls and adding no offense. For LSU, LaSondra Barrett has emerged as a real secondary shooting threat. She has only eight points, but on a night like this that stands out.

37-37, 10:07 remaining

Well, if the Blue Devils lose this one they'll have no one to blame but themselves. Turnovers, bad passes, out-of-control drives, no boxing out, this one has it all. LSU isn't shooting especially well, nor is it attacking the hoop all that well anymore. Although, it seems like the rest of the team is realizing the Jasmine Thomas isn't going to carry them tonight and they've begun to become more aggressive in shooting.

31-31, 15:47 remaining

Both teams have begun running a full-court press, so half-court offense has been a rarity. The Blue Devils have forced two more turnovers, but the real excitement came on a Krystal Thomas block on a Hightower drive. The block itself was massive, sending Hightower sprawling, but afterward Thomas offered some words of 'encouragement' to her victim while she was down, which has made this defensive struggle even more intense.

Key first half Stats:

Rebounds: LSU 15, Duke 11

Allison Hightower, 5-7 FGs, 11 points

LSU has 13 turnovers

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the first half:

The Good: Allison Hightower's jump shot; Duke's 2-3 zone defense; the LSU band (you can't even hear yourself think when they're playing)

The Bad: Jasmine Thomas' jumper; Krystal Thomas' and Allison Vernerey's inability to rebound; Duke's 1-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

The Ugly: One of LSU's assistant coaches is wearing an over-sized striped bow tie in Tiger colors. Not a good look.

25-25 tie, halftime

A spirited Duke crowd is in a tizzy after watching the Blue Devils finally begin to look like the No. 2 seed they are. Four more turnovers from the Tigers gave Duke ample opportunity to score, and Jasmine Thomas made herself known at the end of the half with a driving layup and a steal on the full-court press that Coach McCallie instituted after the last media timeout.

23-17 LSU, 3:54 remaining in the first half:

The turnover parade finally ended for LSU, but since switching to a zone Hightower has not scored. The Blue Devils still cannot find any rhythm on offense. Bridgette Mitchell just airballed a 3-pointer by about three feet, and then on the next possession had the ball stolen and picked up a bad foul.

19-15 LSU, 7:27 remaining in the first half:

Duke is beginning to show signs on life on both ends of the court. The Tigers have committed three straight turnovers on offense—two traveling calls and a desperation pass as the shot clock was running out. The simultaneous play of Krystal Thomas and Allison Vernerey has given the Blue Devils an even bigger advantage inside, and its finally beginning to pay off. Vernerey to the line to shoot two.

17-11 LSU, 10:11 remaining in the first half:

Duke is getting absolutely killed on the glass, especially on the offensive end.  They haven't use their substantial height advantage to create any advantage thus far. Also, the 3-2 zone (not a 2-3 like I mentioned before, my mistake) has started to keep most of the LSU drivers out of the middle, but enough have snuck through to keep the Tigers in front.

13-6 LSU, 13:36 remaining in the first half:

Coach McCallie takes a time-out after having both her man-to-man and 2-3 zone defenses exploited by the Tigers' Allison Hightower for 11 points already on 5-5 shooting.

Tie 6-6, 15:57 remaining in the first half:

Sloppy offense early for both teams.  Every time Krystal Thomas touches the ball inside for the Blue Devils, good things seem to happen. Unfortunately, Duke just can't seem to get the ball inside.  The Tigers have looked no better, turning over the ball on out of control drives.


The LSU band just finished a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and we're about to get underway here in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Here are the probable starters for both teams.


#22 Courtney Jones, 6-2, So.

#55 LaSondra Barrett 6-2, So.

#23 Allison Hightower, 5-10, Sr.

#20 Destini Hughes, 5-10, So.

#1 Katherin Graham, 5-11, Jr.


#21 Joy Cheek, 6-1, Sr.

#13 Karima Christmas, 6-0, Jr.

#34 Krystal Thomas, 6-4, Jr.

#31 Keturah Jackson, 6-0, Sr.

#5 Jasmine Thomas, 5-9, Jr.

No surprises on either lineup card. The Tigers are led by Allison Hightower and LaSondra Barrett, who average 18.2 and 12.8 ppg, respectively. The Blue Devils have a huge size advantage on the inside, but whether Duke can survive on a poor shooting night from Jasmine Thomas remains to be seen.


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