Honoring The Devils

By Jeff Lippman - March 03, 2007

Well, it's official. Duke is real good.

As the Blue Devils get set to play in the conference semifinals against an athleticly inferior N.C. State team, they now boast the ACC's coach and player of the year.

Coach Gail Goestenkors was the hands down choice, garnering 44 votes to Kay Yow's seven.

As for the ACC Player of the Year, well, she's also the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year, and she's Duke's Lindsey Harding.

"At the beginning of the year, my three goals were, I wanted to be an All-American, I wanted to be ACC player of the year and I wanted to be the ACC defensive player of the year," Harding said. "Knowing that I have two, it feels really good to have it."

Something tells me that she won't have to fret too much about whether she'll get that third goal. An odds-on favorite to win the national player of the year award, I don't think they give that honor to someone who isn't an All-American.

Duke became the only team in women's basketball history with seven consecutive 30-win seasons. With their tourney win over Virginia, they are now a perfect 30-0.

Will N.C. State be able to beat them Saturday? Probably not, I sure wouldn't bet on it. Can the Terps or Tar Heels top them?

Yes, they can, but know this: These teams are not equals. All season long I've either lumped Maryland, North Carolina, Duke, Tennessee and Connecticut into the same elite group. Or I've gone as far as to say that the Terps, Tar Heels and Devils are a cut above the Huskies and Vols.

But I was wrong.

With the ACC's coach, defensive and overall player of the year--which will most likely turn into the national coach, defensive and overall player of the year--Duke is in a stratosphere of their own.

Oh, and don't let me forget about All-American candidate Abby Waner, who just happened to score 24 points to lead the Devils in their quarterfinals matchup, and 6'7" Alison Bales, who is Sports Illustrated's pick for Defensive Player of the Year--she lead's the nation in blocked shots.

These Devils are so good, it's almost as if they sold their soul...to themselves?

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 11:01 AM on March 03, 2007

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