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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  Weekly ACC WBB Digest for 12/27/2012
Volume 1, Number 7
 
By Rob Clough

Editor's Note: Due to the holidays we're a day late with this week's Digest, we'll be back to Wednesdays next week.

Parsing The Week's Results: The two biggest events in a quiet week were the debut of Uju Ugoka for Virginia Tech (see below) and Maryland's win over Delaware. Played before a big crowd on the road, the Terps dealt with the return of Elena Delle Donne (in her first game after another Lyme disease setback), holding her to 7-23 shooting. Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins both had double-doubles for the Terps. Katie Rutan was 3-5 from three, which allowed Thomas & Hawkins room to operate inside. As the season proceeds, this will will look even better for the Terps.

Duke rolled to two wins in Los Angeles as they beat Cal State Bakersfield and host USC in their tourney. Duke's superior shooting won the day against the Women of Troy, but the Devils were outrebounded. That's a red flag for a team that emphasizes dominating their opponents in that very category. Florida State easily beat UNC-G on the road in a game that was a warm-up for the Noles. FSU has never played well in the ACC tournament, so Sue Semrau wanted to give her team a little preview of the floor, and the feeling of winning on it. Georgia Tech evened their record to 5-5 against a pretty good Washington team (7-2 coming into the game), thanks to Aaliyah Whiteside's 19 points and help from a number of young players. Tech will only go as far as their young players take them. UNC eked out a win over ECU in Myrtle Beach as they continue to deal with injuries and general growing pains. Playing without frosh sensation Xylina McDaniel and dealing with Waltiea Rolle's injuries, the Heels held off ECU and the Edwards sisters (Britny and Whitny, who both transferred from Virginia) thanks to 24 points from Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. Without the rebounding dominance of McDaniel, the Heels were a bit shaky in the post and certainly missed her energy. The good news is that other young players like Antoinette Bannister made some big plays. Finally, Boston College not only won their sixth game of the year, but they also finally got some bench relief for their Iron Five starting lineup. There's no question that the ACC's lower tier teams have managed to get better over the past couple of months.

Best Win: Virginia Tech 73, Wake Forest 52. After sitting out the first nine games of the year, JuCo forward Uju Ugoka destroyed Wake Forest's veteran front line to the tune of 28 points and 8 rebounds. Ugoka was expected to be a game-changer for the Hokies, but this was a stunner. Wake has struggled a bit this year against good competition, but this was a game that in years past they have been able to take care of. Not this time against the very feisty Hokies, who managed to finish a decent 4-5 without Ugoka. It helped that guard Monet Tellier was on with 23 points and that Wake was cold the whole game, but the Hokies now have real hope for the first time in nearly five years.

Worst Loss: Miami 79, NC State 53. This was a great but expected win for Miami--they dominated at home against a decent but not great team. For the Wolfpack, it's the latest in a series of dispiriting losses. The Canes ran the Pack out of the gym in the first half and held Marissa Kastanek scoreless for the first time in her career (111 games). At 7-5, NC State is running out of opportunities to build a postseason resume.

Trending Up: Clemson. "The Magnificent Seven" struck again for the Tigers, as the Tigers won twice last week and are on a three game winning streak. What's stunning about this turnaround after losing three starters is that the Tigers are winning by double digits. Granted, Providence and Samford aren't great teams, but Providence is a Big East team and Samford was 5-4 coming into the game. Nikki Dixon is scoring nearly 20 ppg the last four games, but the Tigers are winning because of their overall balance and commitment to scoring in the paint. I'm not sure how this will transfer against good teams, but it's a relief to see Clemson at least looking competitive.

Trending Down: Virginia. The Cavs are 6-4 and have close losses to solid Syracuse and now Alabama teams. Those are games that Virginia probably should have won (especialy the 2OT thriller vs. the Crimson Tide) and need to win to cement an NCAA bid. This puts more pressure on the Hoos to win ten or more ACC games (in the new eighteen game schedule) and especially turns up the heat because they will need to beat some good teams. Virginia is playing great defense but isn't scoring enough points to put opponents away. Someone in Charlottesville needs to step up on a consistent basis and become player that opponents have to think about at all times. Currently, there is no such player on the floor for them.

Surprise Player Of The Week: Charmaine Tay, Clemson. Tay is a welcome addition to the Tigers, as this Louisville transfer just became healthy. She had 7 points and 7 rebounds for a team that desperately needed more guards in the wake of losing two of them in recent weeks. Having eight players gives Clemson a fighting chance for at least competing in the ACC, especially with a player like Tay who had a great prep career.

Stat Of the Week: 71.7. The least competitive team in the ACC right now is Wake Forest. That number (71.7) is how many points per game the team is giving up. It's one thing to do that against Purdue or UConn (two of their several losses), but it's quite another to do it against Virginia Tech. The Hokies had a big home crowd (4,000), were excited about a new player helping them out and simply out-hustled a listless Wake team that doesn't have much of an identity at the moment. They have some scorers but lack scoring depth and scoring efficiency. They aren't a great rebounding club. Wake needs to get tougher and have an attitude about defending the rim. They have the athletes to do it but haven't shown the collective will to get it done.

Three Games To Watch (12/26 - 1/1//2013):

  1. Boston College @ Florida State (12/30). This is yet another "what we're made of" for teams in different positions. BC is supposed to be one of the league's weakest teams, but they've shown great fight so far. Can they control the tempo against a team that likes to go fast? For FSU, BC is a game they're "supposed" to win and need to win to stay in contention for a top-three finish. I think FSU's point guards will be too much for BC to handle.

  2. Hampton @ Virginia Tech (12/30). The Hokies have a chance to pick up a quality win against an outstanding mid-major program. Under David Six, the Pirates have become a very dangerous and proud program that plays intense defense. VT has the talent to win this game if they play with efficiency.

  3. UNC @ Clemson (12/30). This one should be a blowout, but I'm curious to see if the revamped Clemson lineup shows any signs of life against an injury-plagued and sloppy UNC team. The Heels have too much size, speed and depth for Clemson to put up a fight, unless the Heels shoot under 25% and/or turn the ball over 30+ times.

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