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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  Weekly ACC WBB Digest for 12/4/2013
Volume 3, Number 3
 
By Rob Clough

Digest ACC Power Rankings

#1 Duke 8-0
#2 Notre Dame 6-0
#3 Maryland 6-1
#4 Syracuse 8-0
#5 North Carolina 6-2
#6 Florida State 6-1
#7 Georgia Tech 4-2
#8 NC State 8-1
#9 Virginia Tech 6-1
#10 Miami 5-2
#11 Virginia 3-4
#12 Boston College 3-4
#13 Wake Forest 6-3
#14 Pittsburgh 4-3
#15 Clemson 4-3

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Parsing The Week's Results:

It was Turkey Time for the ACC, which meant jetting off to warmer climes and playing a ton of basketball in empty gyms. Duke took care of its business in the Paradise Jam, crushing Xavier, Central Michigan and Kansas without much trouble. They had slow starts in each of these games, but they took control late in the first half and cruised from there. (Syracuse also rolled in another Paradise Jam bracket, as detailed below.) Notre Dame crossed the 100-point mark for the first time this season as they easily whipped Duquesne. Maryland stomped Texas Southern and Ohio U in the San Juan Shootout, as they continue to develop Lexie Brown as the starting point guard. Georgia Tech went to Brooklyn to play in the LIU Turkey Classic, defeating Southern Utah and McNeese State. Ty Marshall continues to come off the bench, but she's finally starting to click on offense, scoring 20 or more points in both contests. Florida State beat Stetson at home and then traveled to Miami (of Ohio) to squeak out a win. Miami hit a lot of threes to stay in that game until late, but FSU's overwhelming rebounding advantage won the day.

UNC's youth was exposed a bit in the Cancun Challenge, as they lost to Arizona State in overtime. They actually had a five point lead with just over a minute left, but they Heels missed 3 out of 4 down the stretch, including two foul shots by Diamond DeShields that would have sealed the game. Instead, Adrianne Thomas hit a layup at the buzzer to send it into overtime, and ASU dominated the stunned Heels. The ending was especially unfortunate, because DeShields had a breakout 28-point performance. That followed 24 points against Arkansas State and 18 in the win against Illinois, though that came on 19 shots. DeShields and the Heels are slowly starting to figure things out.

Boston College was also in the Cancun Challenge, but they were thumped by both Iowa and Southern Cal. The Eagles are treading water until they can get their injured players back, because their roster simply isn't deep enough to compete against good teams. Clemson picked up wins against Radford and North Florida in offensive showings that can charitably be called "excruciating" (41-39 and 48-44, respectively). Nikki Dixon saved the Tigers in the first game by hitting 4 straight foul shots down the stretch, while the latter game saw Clemson rally from 7 down at the half. Wake Forest dropped a pair of games in Reno at the John Ascuaga's Nugget Classic, predictably getting thumped by Cal (a mini-reunion for Jen Hoover) and then allowing 95 points to Nevada. Pitt dropped a close game to Buffalo but beat Mount St. Mary's. Finally, as I noted in my preview, Virginia Tech was in line for a tough game with Richmond, and the Spiders defeated the Hokies. Monet Tellier, Hannah Young and Taijah Campbell combined to go 1-21 from the field in this game, and those are all usually fairly dependable scorers. The Hokies kept on coming despite being down, coming within 3 points with a minute left before Richmond made their foul shots down the stretch. VT did bounce back with a win over Presbyterian.

Best Win: Miami 74 , Missouri 68. The Canes are starting to develop the balance they've needed on offense, developing some young players into take-charge scorers. Caprice Dennis had 23 in this game, and frosh point guard Adrienne Motley had 12. Suriya McGuire has started to embrace her role off the bench as an energizer, scoring 16 points. Missouri was undefeated prior to this game and was in the top thirty. This is a solid win for Miami, one that helps set them up for the ACC season.

Worst Loss: Wright State 99, NC State 90. While the Wolfpack recovered to win the final two games of the Gulf Coast Showcase, they simply couldn't stop the spread-and-shoot offense of the Raiders. Essentially, State was presented with a mirror image of itself, only with slightly lesser talent, and they relied too much on their offense to win the game. While Wright State is a solid mid-major club, this is the sort of game that NCSU can't afford to lose.

Trending Up: Syracuse. I had wondered if the Orange's 5-0 start was smoke and mirrors, given the low level of competition. Turns out that this team can play. In the Paradise Jam, they first took care of Texas and Memphis -- two mid-level "name" programs. However, they absolutely mauled #12 Texas A&M 78-63 as Brianna Butler had 29 points. She averaged 23 ppg during the tournament and fellow top scorer Brittany Sykes averaged 16 ppg. While those two have provided some star power and consistent scoring, the reason why the Orange are winning is because they're getting a different set of secondary players to step up in every game. Whether it's post Shakeya Leary, point guard Rachel Coffey or wing La'Shay Taft, Syracuse's players are providing enough firepower to score on anyone. Their zone (and is anybody surprised at a stifling zone defense from that quarter?) murdered a poor-shooting A&M team, and any opponent who doesn't have their fair share of long-range bombers will struggle against them.

Trending Down: Virginia. The Hoos have lost three in a row and are struggling in every phase of the game. They actually gave Tennessee a decent fight in the Junkanoo Jam, but they turned around and shot a disastrous 23% against a Kansas State squad that they should have beaten. Virginia desperately needs to beat Michigan in the ACC-Big 10 challenge and then win the next five non-conference games after that if they hope to make it to postseason play.

Dearica Hamby, Wake Forest.
Dearica Hamby,
Wake Forest
(Photo by Orin Day)
Chelsea Douglas, Wake Forest
Chelsea Douglas,
Wake Forest.
(Photo by Orin Day)
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Stat Of the Week: 56%. That's the percentage of Wake Forest's total points that have been scored by Dearica Hamby and Chelsea Douglas. Hamby is responsible for a quarter of Wake's rebounds. But any further advancement by the Deacs will depend on how quickly their frosh continue to develop, as just two options aren't enough to win consistently in the ACC.

Surprise Player Of The Week: Caprice Dennis, Miami. The soph dropped 23 points on both Missouri and St Francis, providing the Canes with the dynamic wing scorer they've desperately been needing. Dennis pushed Miami ahead of Mizzou with 8 straight points in the second half and later hit a three that put the Tigers away.

Four Games To Watch (12/4 - 12/10/2013):

  1. Nebraska @ UNC (12/4, 6 pm): I've chosen four games to watch for this year's installment of the ACC-Big 10 challenge, because all four feature ranked teams from both conferences. The Heels took a bit of a hit in their loss to Arizona State, and Nebraska may well be their stylistic opposite. With a patterned offense predicated on getting great shots for star Jordan Hooper going up against UNC-style chaos ball, the winner of the game will be the one who makes the other team most uncomfortable.

  2. Notre Dame @ Penn State (12/4, 7:30 pm): This is an excellent road test for an Irish team that's beginning to look like a reloading powerhouse, not a team rebuilding after losing one of its all-time greats. It will be up to the Irish's defense to contain volume shooter Maggie Lucas.

  3. Purdue @ Duke (12/5, 6:30 pm): The veteran guard duo of K.K. Houser and Courtney Moses return to Cameron to go up against Duke's highly experienced squad.

  4. Syracuse @ Iowa (12/5, 7 pm): Syracuse is newly minted in the top 25, and playing at Iowa will be a huge test of just how good this young team is at the moment. This is another matchup of an uptempo team in the Orange and a space-and-shoot squad in the Hawkeyes.

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