sportswrap the chronicle
special edition, march 7, 2008
| FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2008
duke-unc101 The Chronicle recaps the last five Duke-North Carolina showdowns in Cameron Indoor Stadium
FEBRUARY 5, 2003 (W)
No. 9 Duke 83, UNC 74 Where they finished that year: • DUKE, lost in Sweet 16 • UNC, lost in NIT quarterfinals
MARCH 5, 2004 (W)
No. 3 Duke 70, No. 14 UNC 65
Where they finished that year: • DUKE, lost in Final 4 • UNC, lost in NCAA 2nd round
FEBRUARY 9, 2005 (W)
No. 7 Duke 71, No. 2 UNC 70
Where they finished that year: • DUKE, lost in Sweet 16 • UNC, NCAA Champions
MARCH 4, 2006 (L)
No. 13 UNC 83, No. 1 Duke 76
FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2008 |
senior spotlight the last homestand
Nelson looks to make statement with win by Ben Cohen The chronicle
The last time Duke honored scholarship seniors in 2006, the Blue Devils lined up at midcourt after an 8376 loss to North Carolina, thanked the crowd and basked in serenade of “Thank you, seniors!” Then-sophomore DeMarcus Nelson stood near his graduating teammates. But as he sat in the visitor’s locker room after Duke’s 86-70 win over Virginia Wednesday, Duke’s lone senior didn’t quite remember the senior day tradition. “I don’t have a speech yet,” Nelson said, slightly worried. “Am I speaking?” “Yeah, you’re speaking,” sophomore Gerald Henderson said emphatically as he walked past the captain. “Well, I don’t have a speech ready,” said Nelson, playing his last game in Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday night. “I’m just going to say whatever comes to me.” He may not be sure about his speaking plans, but Nelson’s performances in his past three home rivalry games have said plenty. As a freshman, Nelson tallied his second-most minutes of the year in Duke’s last win over the Tar Heels in Cameron. He scored 16 points on 5-of10 shooting in
29 minutes, and followed his first Duke-UNC home experience with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting the next year. But in that game—and in last year’s contest, in which Nelson scored 12 points—North Carolina came out on top, sending the sulking Cameron Crazies back to their dorms rather than Main West quadrangle to burn benches. This time around, Nelson said he has prioritized the Duke win, and the bragging rights and ACC title that can come with it, over personal performances. “That’s my biggest focus,” Nelson said. “As long as I can lead my team to the win, I don’t really care how I perform. “It’s going to be a bigtime game. It’ll be emotional. I’ll try to keep my emotions in check.” No matter how he plays, or whether Duke wins, Nelson will take centerstage after the game. In 2006, L e e Melchionni solicited a roar from the Duke faithful when he said that despite the Blue Devils’ loss, the season was “nowhere near over.” Nelson may not be able to recreate that type of inspirational message. But he can do something that J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams and Melchionni couldn’t: secure a win in their last home game. And if he can do that, Nelson’s game would speak louder than words.
Greensboro Coliseum • TONIGHT 8 p.m. • ACC Select
vs. Greg Paulus
3.4 ppg, 3.0 apg
10.9 ppg, 3.4 apg
vs. Gerald Henderson
12.6 ppg, 1.8 apg
weiyi tan/Chronicle file photo
Sophomore Gerald Henderson, who scored 12 points in 29 minutes against UNC in Chapel Hill last month, hopes to lead Duke to another win.
M. BBALL from TC page 1
the NCAA Tournament likely awaits the winner. “We have a championship game Saturday, then we have the ACC Tournament playing for a championship, then we have a regional championship and a national championship,” senior captain DeMarcus Nelson said. “This is the time of the year when we can come together and be excited about playing.” The lone senior on the roster, Nelson is the only Duke player to have beaten North Carolina on the Blue Devils’ home floor. As a freshman in 2005, the wing had a breakout performance against the Tar Heels, scoring 16 points in Duke’s 71-70 win. Since then, however, North Carolina is 2-0 in Cameron, scoring a stunning 83-76 win over the top-ranked Blue Devils in 2006 before coming back last season for a 79-73 victory. But Duke has spent an entire season exorcising the demons of the past. The Blue Devils have avenged each one of their conference losses from a season ago, capped by Wednesday’s win at Virginia—the site of last year’s most heartbreaking ACC defeat. The victory over the Cavaliers was Duke’s fourth in a row following consecutive losses in mid-February. In those games at Wake Forest and Miami, the Blue Devils turned the ball over 45 times and surrendered
by Tim Britton The chronicle
Two schools, separated by a mere eight miles and a shade of blue. Two schools, together again in the top five of the country. Two schools, their histories intertwined with a montage of magical moments, intense battles and legendary performances. Saturday night, at 9 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium, their fates will once again be inexorably linked, when No. 5 Duke (26-3, 13-2 in the ACC) hosts No. 1 North Carolina (28-2, 13-2) for the outright conference regular-season title. As important as the game is, the schools will keep the proper perspective and honor late North Carolina student body president Eve Carson with a moment of silence before the tip. It is the first time the season finale between the two will decide the outright ACC crown since 1991, when the Blue Devils upset the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill en route to the program’s first-ever national title. Saturday’s meeting also marks the first time since 1998 that both teams are in the top five for the regular-season finale. As a result, a No. 1 seed in
an average of 91 points. During their winning streak, Duke has turned the ball over a total of just 42 times, and Wednesday night in Charlottesville, the Blue Devil defense suffocated Virginia star guard Sean Singletary into a 6of-16 performance from the field. Nobody in the ACC and perhaps even the country, though, has as much momentum as North Carolina. The Tar Heels visit Cameron riding a seven-game winning streak that dates back to the 89-78 loss to the Blue Devils Feb. 6. All-everything junior Tyler Hansbrough has carried North Carolina during the stretch, much of which was played without point guard Ty Lawson, Hansbrough averaged 29 points and 10.7 rebounds per game with Lawson out of the lineup, including a 28-point, 18-rebound performance in the loss to Duke. The junior has seemed to save his best for the Blue Devils throughout his career. In five games against Duke, Hansbrough averages 22.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per contest. Lawson returned to action for UNC last Saturday against Boston College. The sophomore has come off the bench in the two games since his return, and he and senior Quentin Thomas have split the minutes evenly. “The difficulty just comes in that
16,4 ppg, 2.1 apg
Thomas has improved steadily throughout the season, becoming more comfortable with his starting role. Paulus, however, has been extremely reliable with his ability to run the offense and hit critical three pointers. Ellington struggled mightily in the game in Chapel Hill and should bounce back. But Henderson has played superbly as of late in dealing with his wrist injury.
THE FRONTCOURT vs. Demarcus Nelson
15.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Senior Wanisha Smith hopes to provide the leadership Duke needs to advance deep into the Tournament.
vs. Kyle Singler
14.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg
8.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg
vs. Lance Thomas
4.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
23.3 ppg, 10.4 rpg
With Hansbrough leading the way as a National Player of the Year Candidate, the Tar Heels have a clear advantage down low and crashing the glass. While Duke’s smaller frontcourt has done a better job rebounding lately, it is still at a distinct disadvantage.
RIVALRY FAST FACTS
• Biggest Duke win: 104-69, February 29, 1964 • Biggest UNC win: 55-19, March 5, 1921 • UNC leads Duke 127-97 all-time • Duke is 38-32 all-time in Cameron
photo illustration by maya robinson/the chronicle
With Lawson, the Tar Heels are a completely different team and should eliminate a lot of the turnovers that plagued them the first time they played Duke. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, have a major advantage playing at home and coming off a solid victory on the road at Virginia. Duke’s high three-point shooting percentage and the raucous home crowd will ultimately make the difference in the game.
2007-2008 v. UNC
Where they finished that year: • DUKE, lost in NCAA 1st round • UNC, lost in Elite 8
Blue Devils aim to right ship in postseason play by Sabreena Merchant
Led by Jon Scheyer, who averages 11.2 points per game, Duke’s bench has been extremely productive all year and is very explosive. The Tar Heels, however, have an equally deep rotation bolstered by the return of Ty Lawson. Although Lawson is not starting, look for him to get into the game early and make his presence felt.
No. 5 UNC 79, No. 16 Duke 73
2007-2008 v. DUKE
FEBRUARY 7. 2007 (L)
A graphical breakdown of tonight’s stars and how they have performed this season versus how they have done in their careers against their crosstown rivals.
2007-2008 v. UNC
Where they finished that year: • DUKE, lost in Sweet 16 • UNC, lost in NCAA 2nd round
SARA GUERRERO/Chronicle FILE PHOTO
7.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg
demarcusnelson BY THE NUMBERS
DUKE vs. FSU
PREDICTION: DUKE 88, UNC 84 —compiled by Archith Ramkumar
Sometimes it takes a slap in the face or a punch in the gut to serve as a wakeup call. As third-seeded Duke (21-8, 10-4 in the ACC) begins the ACC Tournament Friday night against Florida State at the Greensboro Coliseum, the Blue Devils can only hope that the sting of their most lopsided defeat in 15 years can provide the spark that the team has been missing—and perhaps propel Duke to a conference tournament title. “The players would do good to get ticked off at each other,” head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “I don’t think it’s a ‘Kumbaya—let’s all hold hands’ thing. I think you have to get ticked off.” And after Sunday’s 31-point loss to the Tar Heels, a game in which McCallie said her team played without pride for stretches, the Blue Devils have plenty to be “ticked off” about. But Duke can use that to its advantage now that it’s the postseason. The Blue Devils said that one of their most glaring weaknesses has been inconsistent leadership. But Sunday’s game forced Duke’s most experienced players to re-evaluate their contributions on and off the court. “[Leaders] need to step up, take this team up,” said Chante Black, who was named to the All-ACC second team Monday. “[Me], Abby [Waner] and [Wanisha Smith]—we need to make sure we’re doing what we should be doing.... We haven’t been vocal. When we get down in situations, if one of us doesn’t step up, then it goes downhill. All three of us need to step up for us to win this whole thing. All three.” The collective play of Black, Waner and Smith will be integral to the team’s ad-
vancement through the ACC Tournament. The Blue Devils have demonstrated a lack of teamwork on offense, resulting in just 15.2 assists per game in contrast to 18.7 turnovers. McCallie said that Duke needs to come together on the offensive end and make the right team plays instead of shooting individual shots. When the Blue Devils have shown the capacity to move the ball on offense and put up points, it has not always coincided with strong play on the defensive end, making consistency another pressing issue for this young squad. “[It comes down to] putting it all together,” said Waner, who earned third-team All-ACC accolades. “I think it’s being able to play a full 40 minutes in every category, every stat, all the intangibles—which we’ve shown, just at various times.” With the Blue Devils’ postseason slate beginning tonight, however, now is the time to bring everything together. Duke will face No. 6 seed Florida State (17-12, 7-7), a team they defeated handily during the regular season 70-38. But the Seminoles, just like the Blue Devils, hope to turn the tables in a new season. Nevertheless, Duke expects to continue playing through Sunday, even if it means putting away No. 2 seed Maryland and No. 1 seed North Carolina after losing to each team twice this year. The regular season is over, and the Blue Devils are looking to prove that they still belong among the nation’s elite by bringing home some hardware. “I know we’ve lost more games this season than we have in the past, but that doesn’t mean anything,” Waner said. “We still have championship expectations. The day that we start to lower those, it’s no longer Duke Basketball.”
| FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2008
DUKE vs. LOYOLA
Baltimore • Saturday • 2 p.m.
Duke reunites with ex-teammate, looks to avenge loss by Joe Drews The chronicle
When the second-ranked Blue Devils travel to Baltimore, they won’t just be facing one of three teams to beat them last year, Loyola. And they won’t just be going to the city where they lost the national championship game last May either. As Duke squares off against the Greyhounds (2-1) Saturday at 2 p.m., it will also mark the first time the Blue Devils (40) face former teammate Collin Finnerty since he transferred to the Maryland college last year. “It’s weird anytime you play against a transfer,” head coach John Danowski said. “You see that guy that you were buddies with and hung out at the Bryan Center or hung out at Cameron [with], and all of a sudden he’s wearing another jersey. It’s going to seem strange, but once that first whistle blows and once the guys get a glimpse of him pre-game, I think that the guys will settle down and just play.” Finnerty, however, isn’t a typical transfer. The formerly-indicted redshirt sophomore enrolled at Loyola in the fall after a tumultuous year under the national microscope. Despite the difficult circumstances, he has fit in well with the No. 13 Greyhounds, starting in all three games and scoring two goals this season. “I couldn’t imagine what that would be like, to start over fresh like that after building bonds with guys,” attackman Matt Danowski said. “He was here for two years and then having to start over fresh, especially
after what he went through—that would be really tough. But he’s a great kid and he’s a special person, so he can handle a situation like that.” Several of the Duke players talk to Finnerty on a regular basis, and they are happy he found a place to play where he isn’t held to any kind of a double standard. They know, however, that Finnerty will not be a friend once the game starts. They also know that he is a dangerous player and that he may have some extra motivation against his old team. “Until the game’s over, Collin’s just No. 20 on the other team,” senior Brad Ross said. “We’re going to handle him the same way we would cover any good attackman.... I’m sure he’s going to want to put one past us, so we’ll have to tighten up.” Aside from containing their former teammate, the Blue Devils will have to stop a team that is not intimidated by Duke, according to John Danowski. The Greyhounds have had previous success against Duke—including their 8-7 victory last year—and have had all week to prepare for this game. The mentality of concentrating on their opponent as a whole, and not just Finnerty, should also help keep the Blue Devils from getting caught up in the emotions associated with playing against their former teammate. “Its Duke vs. Loyola. It’s not Duke vs. Collin Finnerty,” John Danowski said. “Everybody loves him and everybody wants to see him be successful certainly in everything that he does—except hopefully he doesn’t score too many goals against us.”
larsa al-omaishi/Chronicle file photo
Attackman Matt Danowski and the Blue Devils face former teammate Collin Finnerty for the first time Saturday.
No. 3 Blue Devils take on Tigers Duke battles Tar Heels by Taylor Field The chronicle
Duke (5-0) looks to continue its undefeated season against No. 7 Princeton Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Princeton, N.J. The Tigers (2-0) have faced only two opponents this season, neither in the top 10, and the Blue Devils are running with the momentum they garnered in their 1413 victory over No. 5 Maryland. But No. 3 Duke still has some things to work on— namely, ground balls. “Coming off Maryland, we got killed off the draw,” senior defender Sarah Kirchhofer said. “We need to help each other coming up with them and with ground balls.” The Terrapins topped Duke 22-7 in draw controls, but the Blue Devils still managed to prevail. Against Princeton, Duke will look to junior Carolyn Davis and freshman defender Emma Hamm, both named national players of the week after Saturday’s win, to step up and take charge. Davis, also the ACC Player of the Week, scored two goals in the Blue Devils’ 16-14 victory over the Tigers last year, and currently leads the team with 19 goals and 27 points. “One of Carolyn’s strengths is that she’s mentally tough,” head coach Kerstin Kimel said. “Having her in a position of leadership on our offense sets a really nice tone for us.” Hamm, womenslax.com’s National Rookie of the Week, had three of Duke’s seven draw controls against the Terrapins. With 14 on the season, the freshman’s number is second only to senior Allie Johnson’s 18. Duke hopes to use its experience against relatively untested Princeton, a team that has only topped No. 14 Johns Hopkins and Rutgers this season. The Blue Devils’ schedule, on the other hand, has been significantly more challenging. “Every game this season we’ve gotten better in one area or a couple areas,” Kimel said. “We’re taking one game at a time trying to get better each game.... So far, so good.” Youth and depth are the other two factors that Duke is depending on to top the Tigers. Three freshmen—Sarah Bullard, Christie Kaestner and Hamm—are among the top Blue Devil scorers, and 13 have recorded points this season. Although Princeton will likely target Davis as the main threat on offense, Duke has planned its counterattack. “What’s nice is it’s going to be hard for them to key in
by Tim Britton The chronicle
zachary tracer/Chronicle file photo
Junior midfielder Carolyn Davis is the reigning ACC Player of the Week. on just one or two people,” Kimel said. “They will probably try to on Carolyn, but we’re making some changes in our offense so it isn’t as predictable.” Mostly, however, the Blue Devils have focused on internal improvements rather than what the Tigers will bring to the game—especially since they have been on limited display. “We just have been focusing on ourselves,” junior midfielder Jess Adam said. “We’ll be able to benefit from our experience against higher-caliber teams in terms of our strategy.” The Tigers enter the game coming off of a 16-8 rout of Rutgers and seeking revenge for their two-goal loss last year. “They’re always a very well coached team, always disciplined,” Kimel said. “Our game is always a good game, that’s the bottom line—always a close game.”
While their men’s basketball teams prepare for a Saturday night showdown in Cameron, Duke and North Carolina will also face off on the diamond this weekend. The Blue Devils (12-0) and second-ranked Tar Heels (8-1) will open the ACC season with a three-game series, starting today at 3 p.m. at Jack Coombs Field. This rivalry hasn’t been quite vs. as competitive as the one on the hardwood, with the Tar Heels winning 14 of the last 15 in Durham and 28 of 32 overall against their FRI-SUN Jack Coombs Field Tobacco Road rivals. Duke was able to steal one in Chapel Hill a season ago, however, and is trying to build on the momentum of a perfect start to the season. It’s been 12 up, 12 down for the Blue Devils in the non-conference slate, and the squad will look to continue that streak into conference play. “We’re just really excited,” head coach Sean McNally said. “We’re excited to come through the non-conference part of this the way we have and just excited to play North Carolina. It’s a great program, and Friday can’t get here soon enough.” Duke is coming off its most exciting win of the season, as Gabriel Saade’s two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Blue Devils past Valparaiso, 5-4. “We’ve been working very hard, and everything has been preparation to starting the ACCs and being one of the top contenders in the conference this year. And of course, [Wednesday] was a must win for us because of momentum,” Saade said. “We’re going to battle, we’re going to take two-out-of-three from UNC. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t.”
FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2008 |