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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  Weekly ACC WBB Digest for 1/2/2013
Volume 1, Number 8
 
By Rob Clough

Parsing The Week's Results: The ACC wrapped up most of its non-conference play and snuck in a couple of conference games before the end of 2012, with no surprises. Duke crushed Monmouth, holding the Hawks to an NCAA record-tying 3 points in the first half. Maryland easily won their own Terrapin Classic by stomping Brown and then Jen Rizzotti's Hartford club, as the makeshift Terp lineup continues to gel nicely in its new roles. An injury-riddled Virginia club won its own Cavalier Classic by beating a hapless Norfolk State team and a decent Xavier club. The Hoos were without Jazmine Pitts (concussion) and Rae Gaffney (who is looking more and more like a redshirt) and played just seven. Of those seven, Virginia had four players in double figures, including a double-double for frosh forward Sarah Imovbioh.

A couple of ACC teams had close calls on the road but still pulled out wins. NC State nearly blew an 18 point lead to St Bonaventure. Kody Burke stuck back a missed free throw with 13 seconds left to push State's lead to 70-66 and end the comeback threat, but State's lack of focus was on display once again. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech beat host FIU 65-63 to win the Fun In The Sun Classic in Miami. A game after a mediocre performance against Quinnipiac, the Jackets came back from a late deficit to win, thanks to 2 foul shots by Dawnn Maye and a three by Jasmine Blain, of all people. It was only her second basket of the game and her seventh trey of the season (where she's shot just 23% to date). Finally, Wake Forest picked up some badly needed wins against Campbell and Nevada to push their record to 7-6. Only Clemson has a losing record going into ACC play, and they've recently proven that they're no longer a pushover.

Best Win: Virginia Tech 53, Hampton 45. Playing without star transfer Uju Ugoka (out with a knee sprain; she should return soon), the Hokies came back from a halftime football deficit of 17-10 to win decisively over a talented and dangerous Hampton club. Once again, Monet Tellier led the way with 14 points, further establishing herself as a potential all-ACC candidate, a game after she led the way against NC A&T.

Worst Win: Seeing as how there were no actual bad losses this week, I'm going to go "off the board(*)" to select FSU's 76-70 home win over Boston College. It took a double-double from Alexa Deluzio to secure the win, but the Eagles cut the lead to 72-70 with a minute left before missing their last three shots. It really should not have been that close, which is a testament both to the way in which Erik Johnson gets his team prepared and the ways in which BC's shooting frustrated a FSU team that loves to run and gamble. That said, a bad win beats a good loss any day.

Trending Up: Miami. The Canes won their Christmas Tournament without much trouble despite not shooting all that well. They beat Central Connecticut and a solid Wisconsin club thanks to excellent rebounding and great defense. The team's three point shooting and overall balance made the difference against the Badgers.

Trending Down: UNC. This is only a very mild trend downward, but the Heels looked mighty rusty in defeating East Tennessee State and then Clemson. The Tigers led at the half and for much of the second half before going cold and turning the ball over (35 times!), but they rallied to make things interesting in the final minute before the Heels put them away. The Heels were a poor 13-27 from the foul line, which explains why the game was so close despite the Tigers shooting just 36%. Another problem for UNC: being outrebounded 48-35 despite having a full roster against a team with little skilled size. I suspect the challenge of playing a good team will garner their full attention this week.

Surprise Player Of The Week: Krystal Saunders, Miami. Saunders is never going to be on an All-ACC team nor receive much recognition. She's just one of those solid veterans who comes in, fills a role and does her job. Against Wisconsin, the guard proved to be an x-factor with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. She had 7 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists against Central Connecticut. Sometimes it's just as important to have someone dependable if unspectacular in your lineup as it is to have someone explosive but inconsistent.

Stat Of the Week: Going into conference play, I wanted to do a quick look at the leaders in various categories, because some of the names are surprising.

Scoring: Tianna Hawkins, Maryland. 18.8 ppg.
Rebounding: Krista Gross, UNC. 10.4 rpg
Assists: Chelsea Gray, Duke. 6.4 apg.
FG %: Sarah Imovbioh, UVa. 67%.
FT%: Katie Zenevitch, BC: 93.5%
Steals: Dawnn Maye, GT & Chelsea Gray, Duke. 3.7 spg
3FG%: Leo Rodriguez, FSU. 53%.
Blocks: Elizabeth Williams, Duke. 3.5
Hawkins is the most interesting case for me. I'm not sure her scoring will be sustainable against good ACC frontcourts, but there's no question that she's put herself into first team All-ACC contention. I expect the rest of these leaders to hold up, with the possible exception of Gross.

Three Games To Watch (1/2 -1/8/2013):

  1. Florida State @ Georgia Tech, 1/3/13. If Georgia Tech wants to be taken seriously as an ACC contender this year, then they have to defend their home court against the Noles. That's especially true as FSU does not present an overwhelming advantage in the post. Both teams are built on speed; the key for Georgia Tech will be turning over crafty point guards Morgan Toles and Cheetah Delgado.

  2. Maryland @ UNC, 1/3/13. UNC will go deep into their roster in order to pressure Maryland's inexperienced ballhandlers. Expect both teams to cough up the ball 20+ times. UNC's big duo of Xylina McDaniel and Waltiea Rolle are capable of matching up with Maryland's Tianna Hawkins and Alicia DeVaughn. The winner of this game will be the team that blocks out better, and the stats show that this will be Maryland. I do suspect that UNC will raise its level of play from the rough few weeks they've had of late.

  3. FSU @ Maryland, 1/6/13. This is a huge game for the Noles, as it will be one of their few opportunities to work their way up the ACC standings. If their guards shoot well, they can win. Otherwise, I expect Maryland to crush them on the boards and get plenty of second shots.

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