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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  Weekly ACC WBB Digest for 12/12/2012
Volume 1, Number 5
By Rob Clough

Parsing The Week's Results: Except for the first two league games being played, things are winding down in the ACC for a while due to semester exams and the holidays. Duke and Georgia Tech squared off in the conference opener last week, with Maryland and Virginia following suit an hour later. The results were not surprising, as the Devils and Terps still look very much like the 1 and 2 teams in the ACC. The other big game was Florida State's narrow loss to Nebraska on the road. Natasha Howard missed two free throws with a second left that would have given her team the win. That's a killer for a great player on a team that's played up to their maximum potential so far. The Noles won't encounter another real challenge until they face Boston College in their ACC opener.

Another slightly disappointing loss was Boston College falling at home to Arizona State. Once again, that's a tough team for the fragile Eagles to face, but they played tough to the end. BC simply doesn't have enough weapons to beat most good teams, unless everyone on the team is playing at their best. Miami crushed Davidson as they continue their strong early season play. While seniors Morgan Stroman and Stefanie Yderstrom have been rock-solid, the Canes are playing well because they get contributions from new players every night. Against Davidson, for example, frosh Keyona Hayes had 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 blocks. In other games, NC State beat Elon in extremely unimpressive fashion. The final margin of victory (15 points) belies the fact that this was a competitive game most of the way. Virginia Tech lost to Richmond by 14 on the road, which is not a shocking development.

Best Win: Wake Forest 64, Seton Hall 63. While the Pirates aren't a great team (just 3-4 coming into the game), the Deacs needed any kind of win. The fact that Asia Williams hit a game-winning free throw made it all the sweeter, considering that she suffered a broken leg last season and missed most of the ACC campaign. Williams deserved a moment like this.

Worst Loss: South Carolina State 67, Clemson 55. This is just the latest in a string of bad losses for Clemson. It was made all the worse because crucial players Daneajah Grant and Nikki Dixon did not play; there's no word on why this was so. While Jonquel Jones was great with a double-double, the Tigers could not stop a MEAC team, which bodes ill for their ACC performance.

Trending Up: Duke. The Blue Devils just finished the first challenging part of what is overall a fairly easy schedule. Duke crushed a solid but searching Georgia Tech team in Cameron (Click here for our coverage) and then went to Madison Square Garden and took care of a good St John's team. The Devils seized double-digit leads early in both of those contests and were never seriously threatened. Duke is slowly getting players back from injury, as Chloe Wells has returned and Elizabeth Williams is playing big minutes.

Trending Down: Virginia. Losing two games in a row by double digits is slightly alarming for a Virginia squad with an eye on postseason play. What was most distressing in the Hoos' loss to Maryland was their anemic guard play was against a Terp team missing two starting guards. Kelsey Wolfe, China Crosby and Faith Randolph combined for 1-15 shooting from the floor. Ataira Franklin can't do it alone from the perimeter, and those other players have be more consistently productive if they're going to be NCAA contenders.

Surprise Player Of The Week: Tierney Pfirman, Maryland. Pfirman scored 17 points in her ACC debut against rival Virginia. She followed that up with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals against George Mason. Pfirman is a crucial component for this Maryland team held together by spit and bailing wire, because if she can credibly play at the wing, then Alyssa Thomas can make things happen at off-guard and point guard. So far, so good.

Stat Of the Week: 35.2, 34, 33.5, 32.5. These are the number of minutes per game played by Boston College's Nicole Boudreau, Kerri, Shields, Kristen Doherty and Katie Zenevitch, respectively. Tessah Holt isn't far behind at 31.1 mpg. This is as close to an "iron five" as it gets these days, with only Kat Cooper getting double digit minutes outside that group. Coach Erik Johnson is going to ride his best players as far as they will go. Playing a slow-down style helps, but we'll see how long it takes for this group to hit the wall.

Three Games To Watch (12/12 - 12/18/2012):

  1. Florida Gulf Coast @ Virginia Tech, 12/16. This will be the last game that Uju Ugoka has to sit out before becoming eligible. FGCU was an NCAA tournament team last year and will give VT a tough challenge this season.

  2. Miami @ Rutgers, 12/16. This is a big road game for a Miami squad that's looking more and more confident as it starts to earn big wins with its revamped lineup. Rutgers is loaded with talent, even if this team is struggling to get wins against a tough schedule. The Scarlet Knights trademark deliberate style will test Miami's patience.

  3. Radford @ Clemson, 12/16. The Highlanders gave UNC some trouble in the second half of their game. It wouldn't be surprising to see them beat Clemson outright, especially if Grant and Dixon don't play.

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