Don’t Sleep on Duke

The Duke Blue Devils were not expected to be a highly competitive team this season.  It is still early in the season and their only quality win so far is the Sunday upset of South Carolina, but it may be time to start considering Duke as a tournament team.

After falling out of last year’s polls and missing last year’s tournament, the Duke Blue Devils are out to prove the doubters wrong and right the ship that is Duke women’s basketball.

On Sunday, Duke hosted the number 3 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks.  South Carolina would lose their first game of the season and Duke would move on to 9-1 on the year.  Duke is now undefeated at home and their only loss is a road game at Vanderbilt.

The final score of the game was Duke 74 to South Carolina 63, Duke being led by Rebecca Greenwell’s 29 points.  This victory is the first win over a top-3 ranked opponent for Duke since 2009.  Duke applied enough pressure to force the Gamecocks in to 19 turnovers, currently a season high for South Carolina.

Duke got some support from forward O. Chidom with 15 points, eight rebounds and a couple of blocks.  Guard K. Lambert added 10 points, but there wasn’t much production from Duke beyond that.

South Carolina was a little more balanced in scoring with starters A. Wilson adding 18 points, K. Davis adding 14 points and A. Gray adding 11 points.  T. Harris was the only player to score off the Gamecocks bench, adding 3 points, so this may be something South Carolina works on for the rest of the season.

South Carolina was the top free throw team in the nation, averages of 21 made out of 30 attempted, prior to this game.  However, Duke kept them off the line in this matchup, allowing them to only get to the line 14 times (9 makes).

This win should go a long way towards a potential Duke top 25 ranking.  If not next week, possibly after a couple of bit home games around the New Year.

Duke will host current #17 Kentucky on December 29th and current #7 Louisville in the very next game on January 2nd.  A win in either of those games (assuming wins in the next two) should easily get them ranked.  A tough road lies ahead though, with games against the current #8, #1, #20 and #18 still on their schedule.

John Sill