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Aussie Whitaker gets top- level experience in Melbourne

(04/01/10 8:00am)

For many Duke students, spring break provides an opportunity to escape from Durham and see exotic bits of the world, if only for a few sun-soaked days. Last month, senior Alison Whitaker left the country, as well—but rather than spending her time lounging on the beach, Whitaker was busy trading shots with some of the best golfers in the world at the Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The case for Syracuse

(03/18/10 8:00am)

When Hakim Warrick’s spectacular block on Kansas’s Michael Lee secured Syracuse’s first national championship in 2003, the Orange completed a title run few could have predicted going into the season. While Syracuse featured perhaps the best player in the land that year in freshman Carmelo Anthony, the Orange weren’t ranked to begin the season and weren’t Tournament favorites in March.

Too much reliance on Thomas to perform

(03/04/10 12:46pm)

I was there in Cameron Indoor Stadium as a determined and generally unguardable Jasmine Thomas torched then-No. 3 Ohio State for 24 second-half points en route to an impressive 83-67 upset. From my seat on press row, it looked like an experienced Blue Devil squad led by one of the top guards in the country could grow to be one of the postseason favorites in the coming months.

Blue Devils battle top teams and the elements in Arizona

(02/23/10 10:00am)

The Blue Devils probably thought they’d be escaping the rain that drenched campus yesterday with a trip to usually beautiful Arizona, but Duke had to fight through some tough conditions Monday at the Wildcat Invitational. Pitted against some of the best teams in the country—the tournament boasts eight of the nation’s top 20—the No. 6 Blue Devils fired a 12-over 296 to finish the first round in fifth place, and are just six strokes back of leader Arizona State.

After loss to UNC, schedule gets no easier

(02/19/10 10:00am)

With the 2010 college tennis season now in full swing, the time has come to forget about last season’s triumphs and focus on new challenges. Still trying to escape the shadow of a national championship, a new set of Blue Devils will look to make their own mark when No. 6 Duke (7-1) hosts No. 7 Michigan (6-2) Saturday at 12 p.m. at Ambler Tennis Stadium.

Jackson ignites Blue Devil D

(02/09/10 10:00am)

With just 30 seconds left in the second half Monday night, with 12 of her players cheering exuberantly along with the standing crowd, even head coach Joanne P. McCallie couldn’t suppress a smile. The reason? Her Blue Devils, after struggling down the stretch last week in Chestnut Hill, responded with their best defensive showing of the season against No. 18 North Carolina.

11 years later, Redmond kicks off pro career in WPS

(02/09/10 10:00am)

When American defender Brandi Chastain blasted what would become an iconic penalty kick past Chinese goalkeeper Gao Hong to clinch the 1999 Women’s World Cup, Elisabeth Redmond was an 11-year-old girl dreaming of one day playing soccer on the big stage. Redmond never could have predicted that Chastain’s finish would give her just that opportunity, 11 years later.

Davidson, GMU see applications spike after deep Tournament runs

(01/26/10 10:00am)

In 2008, as Davidson College star Stephen Curry steered the Wildcats to an Elite Eight appearance in Detroit, the school’s admissions office dealt with an unexpected problem back in North Carolina. The tiny college, comprised of 1,668 students, was forced to process an increased number of applications and acceptances, in part because of the elevated exposure Curry and the Wildcats provided. Even a year later, despite an economic downturn, Davidson reported a surge in undergraduate applications.

Thomas delivers knockout blow

(12/04/09 10:00am)

In a nonconference battle that more closely resembled a late March prize fight, Duke got a good look at a potential NCAA tournament favorite. After an evenly matched first period, No. 11 Duke (6-1) made all the necessary hustle plays in the second half, forcing 21 Buckeye turnovers overall, and rode a career-high 29 points from guard Jasmine Thomas to a signature 83-67 win over No. 3 Ohio State. Duke’s physical defense and extra effort from the opening tip prevented the Buckeyes from establishing any sort of offensive rhythm, and held a high-octane offense to a season-low point total. Ohio State (8-1) entered the game Thursday night as the third-highest scoring team in the nation, averaging 89.4 points per contest.   The first half was closely contested, with each team missing opportunities to separate itself. Despite forcing 12 turnovers in the first period, the Blue Devils were often unable to convert defense into offense, only shooting 41.9 percent from the field. Just five minutes into the game, senior forward Joy Cheek got tangled up with a defender when positioning herself for a pass and had to leave the game with an apparent left ankle injury. Without one key rebounder in the post, junior Krystal Thomas and freshman Allison Vernerey were tasked with handling a stout Ohio State frontcourt, led by 6-foot-4 center Jantel Lavender. With an impressive array of post moves, Vernerey took advantage of shaky interior defense from the Buckeyes, scoring a quick eight points off the bench in the first half. Duke’s bench outscored Ohio State’s reserves 28-2 Thursday night. Cheek’s rebounding ability was missed, however, as Ohio State outrebounded the Blue Devils 23-14 in the first period. By taking advantage of offensive rebounds with five second-chance points in the first half, the Buckeyes were able to stay within striking distance, down only four points at the break. Ohio State came out firing in the second half, and two straight threes by guard Brittany Johnson—part of a 14-6 Buckeye run to begin the period—tied the game at 33. After Thomas and Ohio State guard Tayler Hill traded 3-point shots to make it 45-44 Duke, the Blue Devils made a visible effort to play more aggressively on defense and fight for rebounds in the post. After being outrebounded by nine in the first half, Duke slimmed the deficit to just five in the second period to go along with seven blocks and 11 steals. “I think we didn’t react well to their physical play,” Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. “They came after us and we didn’t respond.” The Blue Devils began a decisive run with 5:35 left to play in the game when Jasmine Thomas curled off a screen and buried a three from the right side to make it 69-61. Thomas would go on to score five more points as part of a 12-0 Duke run that stretched the lead to 78-61 with just over three minutes remaining. Thomas torched the Buckeyes with 24 second-half points, many of which came from incisive drives to the bucket. “I noticed I was rushing my shots a little bit in the beginning, so I decided to attack the basket in the second half,” she said. The Duke guard erupted for 29 points, breaking a career-high mark of 26 she set earlier this year against Texas A&M. Thomas stole an Ohio State inbound pass with 46 seconds remaining to cap a stellar second half defensive performance and seal an upset win in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in front of a spirited home crowd. “That’s the kind of game I came here for,” Vernerey said.

Duke perseveres past several injury setbacks

(12/04/09 10:00am)

After a 2-0 defeat at the hands of No. 12 ranked Rutgers, a roller coaster season came to a close for a depleted and exhausted Blue Devil squad. Though Duke was bounced from the NCAA tournament at an earlier stage than in any other tournament team during head coach Robbie Church’s tenure, the Blue Devils have reason to celebrate a sixth-place finish in the toughest conference in the country. 

Duke hopes to extend NCAA tourney success

(11/13/09 10:00am)

Come NCAA tournament time, Duke student-athletes live by a collective creed: survive and advance. This particular set of Blue Devils has been repeating the line since September, when a rocky start to the schedule combined with the losses of key players to injury left even head coach Robbie Church questioning whether his team would advance to postseason play.