January 16, 2008

The Plight Of Abby Waner

"She's right. We are Duke and we should be winning," said Duke junior guard Abby Waner of Maryland's Laura Harper rejoicing with fans in a chant of, "We beat Duke! We beat Duke!" after the Terps defeated the Blue Devils in College Park for the first time since 1998 Monday.

In many ways, that distorted Duke doctrine that says the Blue Devils will forever be masters of anything basketball related is correct.

Year in and year out, we expect Duke basketball - men or women's - to be among the best in the nation. And although they lost the coach (Gail Goestenkors) and both All-Americans from a team that went undefeated in the regular season, here the Dukies are, once again, near the top of the rankings at No. 10.

But this isn't the same Duke team. It's not even close. And one of the biggest reasons the Blue Devils have struggled throughout a season in which they have already lost four times is the fact that their two biggest returning stars, senior Wanisha Smith and the junior preseason All-American candidate Waner, are simply not playing up to potential.

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November 29, 2007

What The Devil?

The year started off so promising for Duke. What happened?

Playing through an injury to Abby Waner, the No. 11 Blue Devils reeled off three wins to start the year, two coming over NCAA Tournament teams in Purdue and Temple.

But just as quickly as they won three straight, two consecutive losses have been added to their record.

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November 22, 2007

Music To My Ears

Happy Thanksgiving from South Florida, where right about now I am so stuffed that I couldn't move any part of my body but my arms, forcing me to write this blog post.

A quick look at the Top 25 scoreboard tonight sees No. 9 Duke doing their thing in paradise at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Blue Devils defeated No. 22 Purdue 53-41 with a strong defensive effort.

And I was surprised to find that Jasmine Thomas must have taken my words to heart. The Duke freshman, the topic of my Thursday column this week, led the Blue Devils in scoring with 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting and 2-for-4 from long range.

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