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DWHoops Presents ACC Women's Basketball Digest

  Weekly ACC WBB Digest for 2/5/2014
Volume 3, Number 12
By Rob Clough

Digest ACC Power Rankings
Through February 5, 2014

#1 Notre Dame 21-0,
Last: VT (W, 74-48)
@DUKE (W, 88-67)
Next: 2/6 @FSU (ESPN3)
2/9 CUSE (ESPN3)

#2 Duke 21-2,
Last: @MIA (W, 76-75)
@ND (L, 88-67)
Next: 2/6 @CLEM (CS-SE)
2/10 UNC (ESPN2)

#3 NC State 19-3,
Last: MD (W, 72-63)
Next: 2/6 WF (ESPN3, 7 PM)
2/9 @VT

#4 Maryland 17-4,
Last: @NCSU (L, 72-63)
@SYR (W, 89-64)
Next: 2/6 PITT
2/9 CLEM

#5 North Carolina 18-5,
Last: CUSE (L, 78-73)
MIA (L, 83-80)
Next: 2/6 @GT (ESPN3, 7 PM)
2/10 @DUKE (ESPN2, 7 PM)

#6 Syracuse 16-6,
Last: @UNC (W, 78-73)
MD (L, 89-64)
Next: 2/6 VT
2/9 @ND (RSN, 3 PM)

#7 Virginia 12-10,
Last: @WAKE (W, 64-59)
CLEM (W, 80-43)
Next: 2/6 @BC
2/9 open

#8 Miami 12-10,
Last: DUKE (L, 76-75)
@UNC (W, 83-80)
Next: 2/6 open
2/9 GT (CSS, 2 PM)

#9 Georgia Tech 14-8,
Last: @CLEM (L, 80-79 OT)
@PITT (W, 77-66)
Next: 2/6 UNC (ESPN3, 7PM)
2/9 @MIAMI (CSS, 2 PM)

#10 Florida State 15-6,
Last: @WAKE (L, 78-54)
Next: 2/6 ND (ESPN3, 7 PM)
2/9 BC (RSN, 1 PM)

#11 Wake Forest 12-10,
Last: UVA (L, 64-59)
FSU (W, 78-54)
Next: 2/6 @NCSU (RSN, 7 PM)
2/9 @VT

#12 Clemson 11-12,
Last: @GT (W, 80-79 OT)
@UVA (L, 80-43)
Next: 2/6 DUKE (CSSE, 7PM)
2/9 @MD

#13 Pittsburgh 10-12,
Last: BC (W, 67-65)
GT (L, 77-66)
Next: 2/6 @MD
2/9 WAKE

#14 Virginia Tech 11-10,
Last: @ND (L, 74-48)
BC (W, 70-63 OT)
Next: 2/6 @CUSE
2/9 NCSU

#15 Boston College 11-12,
Last: @PITT (L, 67-65)
@VT (L, 70-63 OT)
Next: 2/6 UVA
2/9 @FSU (RSN, 1 PM)

Editor's Note: Our sidebar is presented in pink in
remembrance of Kay Yow

Digest Weekly Coverage: DWHoops Weekly Coverage:

Parsing The Week's Results: This was a week for separation in the ACC, as Notre Dame established itself as the team to beat (see below) as several of their nearest competitors took some hits. Duke, the only other undefeated team in league play coming into their showdown, has been noticeably struggling the past couple of weeks. Their game with Miami went down to the wire, with Elizabeth Williams hitting the game-winning free throw with a second left. The Irish, on the other hand, easily dispatched Virginia Tech before going to Cameron Indoor Stadium and taking care of Duke.

Maryland lost its grip on third place thanks to NC State coming from behind to win in Raleigh. This wasn't a game that the Pack won because they shot freakishly well; indeed, they were just 4-18 from behind the arc. Instead, NC State won by beating Maryland at their own game: attacking the basket, getting rebounds and going to the foul line. Alyssa Thomas did her best for the Terps, but didn't get much help beyond Lexie Brown's 20 points. Maryland did recover to crush Syracuse on the road, earning a sweep of the Orange. However, Syracuse did stun UNC in Chapel Hill, coming back from a 20 point deficit to hold on down the stretch. The Day twins (Briana and Bria), who decommitted from UNC after the Heels signed their famous quartet of stars, combined for 19 points, 12 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 blocks in the amazing comeback that was fueled by ball pressure. The Heels dropped another home game to hard-charging Miami, as frosh Adrienne Motley scored 27 points for the Canes. Miami blew out to a big lead, only to see the Heels narrow the margin. In the end, Miami made enough clutch jump shots to pull off the upset.

Virginia Tech finally earned their first league win, beating Boston College in overtime. Georgia Tech, after a damaging last-second, overtime loss to Clemson (whose Nikki Dixon has been on fire of late), took care of Pitt to stay in the postseason hunt. Their next six games (UNC, Maryland, Virginia, Miami, Notre Dame, Florida State) are quite a gauntlet to run, however.

Best Win: Notre Dame 88, Duke 67. The suspicion going into this game was that without a creative force like Chelsea Gray around, Duke's depleted guard corps might be in trouble. What actually happened was that Notre Dame concentrated on shutting down Elizabeth Williams first through a series of clever double teams, and then they got her out of the game by getting her in foul trouble. Without Duke's offensive anchor, the Devils were reduced to one-on-one play, and that led to key turnovers and droughts that Notre Dame took advantage of by running for easy points and hitting dagger threes. After defeating Tennessee, Maryland and now Duke on the road, there's no question that the Irish are the undisputed best team in the ACC and a lock for a #1 seed.

Worst Loss: Wake Forest 78, Florida State 54. Fun fact: Wake stars Chelsea Douglas and Dearica Hamby combined for 54 points -- as much as the entire FSU squad. Take away star Natasha Howard's 22 points, and you find an FSU club that laid an egg on the road. The Noles were 1-16 from three and 9-20 from the foul line, and they were outrebounded by nine (thanks mostly to Wake frosh Jill Brunori's 15 boards). Meanwhile, Wake shot 50% from the field and got solid contributions from their supporting cast to win an important game at home.

Trending Up: Virginia. The Hoos quietly took care of business as they held off a hard-charging Wake Forest club and then pummeled Clemson at home. Virginia is now two games over .500, their RPI is in the forties, and things are generally looking up with their seniors finally starting to play up to expectations. In particular, guards Kelsey Wolfe and Ataira Franklin are providing a lot of offense, while Faith Randolph continues to excel off the bench. This is not a great team, but it's one that's starting to make best use of the talent it does have.

Trending Down: Boston College. The lack of depth, the lack of size and the lack of quickness are taking a toll on the Eagles. They blew a lead against Pitt because they turned the ball over twenty times and couldn't defend the three. They lost in overtime to a Virginia Tech squad that was missing their best player in Uju Ugoka. The Eagles are beat up, with multiple players playing through injury, and they've just been a few plays away from winning several games. The reality is that they didn't make those plays and that they're regressing as a team instead of improving. They still have a puncher's chance of beating teams with their shooting, but their defense and ball handling must improve or they might not win any more games.

Caprice Dennis, Miami
Caprice Dennis
(File Photo by Orin Day)
Surprise Player Of The Week: Caprice Dennis, Miami. Dennis was a key cog in the Canes nearly beating Duke and upsetting North Carolina. She averaged 11 ppg in those contests and shot nearly 60% from three. Getting consistent offense from her players has been a problem for coach Katie Meier this year, but Dennis has been one of the players (along with Adrienne Motley and Keyona Hayes) who's been producing in every game.

Five Games To Watch:

  1. Notre Dame @ Florida State (2/6, 7pm, ESPN3): These are two teams going in different directions. The Irish have a firm grip on the ACC, while FSU is desperate to get a big win. Playing at home will help, but the Irish have too much firepower.

  2. Wake Forest @ NC State (2/6, 7pm): NC State is in the position of being a favorite now, but this is still a team vulnerable to upsets. While the Deacs are still in our bottom five, having Chelsea Douglas and Dearica Hamby at least gives them a puncher's chance as evidenced by their thrashing the Noles last Sunday.

  3. Virginia @ Boston College (2/6, 7pm): Two more teams headed in different directions. The Hoos are on the upswing and looking to pick up every win they're "supposed" to get, while the Eagles have dropped a number of excruciatingly close games. Again, playing at home could give BC a lift, especially since Virginia is so jumpshot-dependent.

  4. Georgia Tech @ Miami (2/9, 2pm CSS): These are two teams fighting tooth and nail for a postseason bid. Miami seems to finally be gelling at the same time Georgia Tech is struggling. Miami is especially tough at home, so the Jackets need to step up their game.

  5. UNC @ Duke (2/10, 7pm, ESPN2): This is a game that both teams need to boost their resumes. The Devils are desperate to keep up with Notre Dame in hopes of beating them in a rematch in South Bend, while the Heels need a win in order to get back into the ACC's top four teams. Expect Duke to play a lot of zone and UNC to pressure the ball and force tempo.

Look for Digest coverage of Wake Forest at NC State on Thursday, and DWHoops coverage of UNC at Duke on Monday. Just four weeks until Greensboro!


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