The devil is in the details: men’s and women’s basketball teams face ups and downs in conference games
They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details and the numbers.
Duke women’s basketball took a different approach in their win over the then No. 1. 17 Notre Dame to start 2022, with just four of his 72 points coming from players off the bench. In previous Blue Devils competition, bench players have averaged 34.2 points per game, often thanks to one of the team’s top scorers, first-year guard Shayeann Day-Wilson. It was the first game of the season in which Duke’s opponent’s bench outperformed their own, and it was also the lowest-rated game for the Blue Devils bench by a wide margin, their second total the lowest being 11 against Virginia Tech. Other players stepped in to make up for Day-Wilson’s unusual lack of shooting grace, including senior Elizabeth Balogun, who dropped a season-high 27 points. Overall, the Blue Devils landed 10 of 20 attempts from three, a fantastic and game-changing performance to kick off the new year after the team shot three poorly in December.
Duke men’s basketball drew so many fouls against Georgia Tech in its second game of the season with the ACC that it made headlines after the game, but it bears repeating. The Yellow Jackets committed 27 personal fouls in Tuesday night’s game to Duke’s 14. That performance caused two Georgia Tech starters to be fouled and allowed Duke to outscore opponents from the free throw line 26-9. Not only did the Blue Devils commit more fouls in this fight than in any of their previous games this season, Duke’s points on the tape were what gave them the win, as the Yellow Jackets stung the home team by outclassing them from the field. Keeping that pace when it comes to shooting fouls can only serve Duke well. The Blue Devils have fouls as many as their opponents in two games this year, in a win over Appalachian State and a road loss to Ohio State.
Getting back to women’s basketball, the team put together a united effort against Syracuse on Sunday after the unfortunate injury of junior guard Celeste Taylor. In his absence, not only did five players rack up double-digit points, but all five improved their scoring averages for the season and notched a few more accomplishments. Senior Onome Akinbode-James was the star of the show with a career-high 16-point performance, and senior guard Miela Goodchild dropped 13 points, including four three-pointers, to tie her for the tenth place on Duke’s 3 all time. points classification with Lexie Brown. In addition to adding 11 points, graduate forward Lexi Gordon had four assists. Day-Wilson and graduate student Jade Williams came off the bench and filled the fivefold, picking up two steals and seven rebounds, respectively.
While the men’s basketball team wasn’t in top form in Saturday’s game against foe ACC Miami, it certainly wasn’t a blast for the Hurricanes. This fact is made even clearer by the 15 lead changes that occurred throughout the game, the most of any Blue Devils game this season. Despite the game’s disappointing conclusion, the back and forth nature of the game shows that Miami had to capitalize on every weakness in Duke’s performance to even stay in the points column. The Hurricanes forced 17 turnovers, including 15 steals, but even then they only finished the game two points clear. As the Blue Devils enter their next contest even further away from their 12-day COVID-19 break, there is hope that they lock in those weaknesses and turn the opportunities in their favor.
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