THE OPENING TIP
- After a 62-50 win over Syracuse on Sunday, the number 16 finishes a brief two-game home streak with the number 16 in Duke with another top 20 match, and hosts the number on Thursday, January 26 at 8:00 p.m 12/10 Virginia Tech live ACC network.
- Pam Ward and Brooke Weisbrod will broadcast the action on ACC Network while Chris Edwards will broadcast the game on the Blue Devil Sports Network radio from Learfield.
- Duke ranked #16 in both the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls for week 11.
- The Blue Devils are ranked eighth in the latest NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings as of January 25.
- Defense has been the Blue Devils’ calling card this season as the team has won each of their games by an average of 21.8 points and kept each of their opponents below their season average, including 11 of the 19-50 points or fewer.
- Duke has kept his opponents at 50.9 points per game on 34.7 percent shots off the ground, marks that currently place them fourth and 13th in the NCAA, respectively, as well as first in the ACC (as of January 25).
- Duke has been finding his shot from long range lately, putting his Treys down with a 41.8 percent clip in ACC play.
- The Blue Devils have received a huge boost from their reserves, averaging 25.2 points from the bench.
- Duke and Virginia Tech will meet for the 33rd time ever, with 27 of those games going the Blue Devils route.
- Though Duke has won six of the last 10 meetings, the Hokies swept the series last year with victories on December 30 (77-55) and January 13 (65-54).
SHARE THE WEALTH
- Duke is five of the seniors Elizabeth BalogunJunior Kennedy Brownsecond grader Shayeann Day-Wilson and Reigan Richardson and seniors Celeste Taylor have given the Blue Devils a steady hand this season, collectively scoring 67.8 percent (46.7 points) of the team’s 68.7 points per game.
- Taylor has reached double digits in 14 of the 19 games this season, followed by Balogun with 11. Day-Wilson has nine games with double digit goals, while Richardson and Brown have seven each.
- Taylor leads offense for Duke with an average of 12.5 points per game, while Balogun (10.7) and Day-Wilson (8.8) are right behind in second and third. Brown and Richardson round out the group with 7.8 and 6.9 points per competition, respectively.
- Duke’s skill level has been showcased as the Blue Devils have featured seven different top scorers in 19 games this season, with Taylor (6) and Balogun (5) finishing high with the team on a number of occasions.
- The roster consists of 10 players who average at least 12 minutes per game, with four of them averaging more than 20 minutes per competition – Taylor (27.9), Brown (24.3), Day-Wilson (23.4 ) and Balogun (22.3).
- As a team, Duke ranks fifth in the ACC in field goal percentage (.442) and has assisted on 295 of its 491 field goals made (.601) for an average of 15.5 cents per game — tied for third in the ACC.
- The Blue Devils are also second in the ACC in turnover advantage (+3.95), third in free throw percentage (.757), third in three-point field goal percentage (.333), and fourth in the goal margin (+17.79). and sixth in assist/turnover ratio (1.01).
DISTURBING THE PEACE – ELITE BLUE DEVIL DEFENSE
- Disruptive defense was the Blue Devils’ calling card early in the season as the team ranks among the nation’s elite, keeping their opponents off the field at 50.9 points per game with a 34.7 percent lead.
- These marks rank fourth and 13th in the NCAA, respectively, while ranking first in the ACC (as of January 25).
- Duke is also seventh in defensive rating, allowing his opponents just .663 points per possession.
- The Blue Devils have won each of their games by averaging 21.8 points and kept each of their opponents below their season average, including 11 of the 19-50 points or fewer.
- In addition to leading the league in goalscorer defense and field goal defense percentage, the Blue Devils are first in the ACC in rebound defense (30.37), second in three-point defense (.265) and third in the Defensive rebound percentage (.739) and rebound margin (+7.74), fifth in steals (9.58), and sixth in blocks (4.63).
DUKE IN NATIONAL RANKING
- Duke ranks #16 in both the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls for week 12.
- The Blue Devils are also ranked No. 10 on the ESPN Women’s Basketball Power Rankings.
- In the latest NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings, the Blue Devils ranked eighth nationally (as of Jan. 25), second in the ACC, with a home undefeated record (9-0), a 7-1 mark at real street competitions and are 1-1 in games on neutral sides.
- With an average opponent NET ranking of nine, the Blue Devils are 3-2 against teams in the top 50 on the NET ladder this season and 10-2 against the top 100, including wins over NC State (No. 12 ), Louisville (#33), Virginia (#40), FGCU (#57), and Oregon State (#58). Duke’s two losses have come to UConn and North Carolina, who check in at No. 2 and 19 on the NET, respectively.
INCREASE IN EFFICIENCY
- Duke’s Trio of Elizabeth Balogun, Shayeann Day-Wilson and Celeste Taylor have seen an increase in their efficiency, especially on offense.
- Taylor, the team’s top scorer this season, has averaged 14.3 points at 43.6 percent from the ground and 41.9 percent from distance since the start of ACC play.
- She has double-digit goals in seven of eight games, including a season-high 23 points to help the Blue Devils defeat then-No. 6 NC State, 72-58.
- In non-conference play, Taylor put up 11.2 points on 44.0 percent from the floor and 29.4 percent from three.
- Day-Wilson has upped her game since the schedule switched to conference play, improving her scoring average by nearly three points while also increasing her shooting percentage.
- After averaging 8.8 ppg at 38.1 percent and 35.7 percent throwing splits in non-conference play, the sophomore averages 11.5 points at 45.5 percent from field and 48.0 percent from deep achieved.
- In eight league games, Balogun has increased both her goal (10.9) and rebound averages (6.5) while maintaining roughly the same shooting efficiency off the field and off the arc.
- Balogun shot 53.2 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from three in non-conference play while she shot 52.9 percent and 40.0 percent, respectively, in ACC play.
- During that stretch, Balogun has hit double digits in five games, including consecutive double-doubles in wins over Louisville (20 pts, 10 reps) and at Wake Forest (12 pts, 10 reps).
WARM UP FROM A DISTANCE
- After a slow start from downtown to open the season, the Blue Devils have settled in and started finding their shot from three-point land.
- Since conference play began, Duke has downed his trees at a 41.8 percent clip, compared to just 34.3 percent in non-conference action.
- The Blue Devils have shot over 40 percent in four of their eight games, while seven Duke players have combined for 48 three-pointers.
- Celeste Taylor led the charge with 18 Treys followed by Shayeann Day-Wilson with 12 triples.
- Elizabeth Balogun and Vanessa deJesus have conceded six each Ashlon Jackson drained five Reigan Richardson has three and netted Taya Corosdale added one.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE HOKIES
- Virginia Tech (16-3, 6-3 ACC) comes into Thursday’s game after a 74-57 win over Wake Forest Sunday in Blacksburg.
- The Hokies own the second-best defense (57.1) in the conference and rank fourth on offense with 75.1 points per game.
- Virginia Tech has four athletes who average 10 or more points per game – Elizabeth Kitley (18.7), Georgia Amoore (14.4), Taylor Soule (12.1) and Kayana Traylor (11.6).
- Kitley leads the rebound effort with 11.1 boards per game, while Amoore is the team leader in assists with 5.5 per game.
The Blue Devils will play three of their next four on the road, beginning with a trip to Tallahassee for a date with Florida State No. 24 Sunday, Jan. 29 at 2 p.m. on ACC Network.
For all things Duke women’s basketball, follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook by searching “DukeWBB.”