ACC: Every Devil Has Her Day

By Jessica Garrison - January 16, 2007

I should have known it from the moment I saw Duke spank Rutgers in New Jersey this fall. Now that Duke has cracked the Terps' shell, it is obvious that there are a couple of Blue Devils who want that national title as much, if not more than Monique Currie.

Lost in the hype surrounding Currie's fifth-year return to Duke was the simple fact that even Superwoman can't go it alone. Maryland trampled past Currie and the game in the NCAA tournament with a hearty helping of old-fashioned teamwork. The Terps were so young we didn't know who to call their stars. They played with a carefree joy that was apparently absent from the go-to-work, now-or-never attitude that weighed so heavily on Currie, her coach and her teammates in her last year.

Never in a million years would I suggest that Duke is better off without Currie -- not by a long shot. But I may have underestimated how important her supporting cast really was, and the potential they had to step out from under her shadow and shine. Now that Duke has reclaimed the top spot in the rankings over even fun-gun 'n' run Carolina, it seems obvious that Duke coach Gail Goestenkors knew what she was talking about when she spoke in reverent tones about the team she surrounding Currie.

Now that Alison Bales has taken over as top dog inside (at 6-7 that should be tip-top dog) and Lindsey Harding shining at the point, Duke hasn't so much figured out its opponents as it has figured out itself. At times last year the Blue Devils looked like they were having a hard time connecting as one fluid team. It stood in stark contrast to the other ACC superpowers, where Latta, Larkins and Little often look like fingers on the same hand, or Maryland with it's "who's on tonight?" attitude. Now that the biggest name on the Duke women's marquee has come down, it seems like they're playing together like they haven't before. The passes are more natural, the transitions cleaner and it seems to me (though it's easy to say about a blowout) that Duke has a certain bounce to its swagger that may catapult the Blue Devils deep into the spring.

Posted by Jessica Garrison at 11:35 AM on January 16, 2007

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