GoDuke Weekly l www.GoDuke.com/gdw
By Barry Jacobs
She has a clear view of Cameron Indoor Sta-
dium from her fourth-floor perch. In the wake of last month’s events, Joanne P. McCallie also has a freshened perspective on the path to ultimate suc- cess.
Just last month the Duke women’s coach stood
among spectators at Cameron greeting the return of the men’s team with a fourth NCAA basketball championship, an experience that cemented a vivid lesson. “For us at Duke we’re proud, we’re motivat- ed, we’re hungry,” McCallie said. “It’s close up and in your face about what it takes, and being able to do what it takes.” Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team ended the
season with 10 straight victories, 35-5 overall. It was the fourth straight year the men’s record improved. Six wins came in the NCAAs, including a cliffhanger title contest against Butler. The women fared nearly as well while garner-
ing far less notice. For the third time in McCallie’s three seasons
at Durham, her Blue Devils won at least 25 games. This time it was 30 victories against six losses, an improved record over 2009, which in turn improved upon 2008. Both the Duke women and men finished first
during the 2010 ACC regular season and won the ACC Tournament. The men repeated as official league champions; the women hadn’t captured an ACC title since 2004. Embracing Coach P’s emphasis on defense, re-
bounding, and overall toughness, her Devils led the conference in field goal percentage defense, steals (480, a school record), turnover margin, scoring de- fense and scoring margin. They also advanced deep into the NCAAs, falling to Baylor, 51-48, in an Elite Eight contest they led much of the way. Where the programs diverged was in their abil-
ity to maintain an edge within the crucible of NCAA competition. That’s been true historically, as McCal- lie is acutely aware – despite repeated success, the Duke women have yet to capture a national champi- onship.
The proficiency and focus that allowed the
women to dispatch Hampton, LSU and San Diego State evaporated against Baylor. “We were disrupt- ed in game four down the stretch,” McCallie recalled of the defeat by the Lady Bears and 6-8 center Britt- ney Griner. “We did things we shouldn’t have been doing.”
Meanwhile, she noted admiringly, Krzyzewski
kept his squad on-task. “I think his ability to get his team in the mo-
Barry Jacobs Feature
The Lesson: McCallie Using Men’s Championship as Learning Tool
ment and focused, is what separates him from many coaches, and I think this particular national champi- onship symbolized that reality,” McCallie said. “We learned a lot – that you’ve just got to keep going, you’ve got to keep on going. Can’t be affected. Can’t change your mindset. You can’t be affected by what anyone says or does.” Fostering such single-mindedness is a matter
of program “culture,” Coach P said. Last season marked a major advance in that regard; she and her third Duke squad were in sync, sharing com- mon values. What had been a program in transition, dominated by inherited players, became a program reflecting the reigning coach’s philosophy.
“I don’t think the concept of ‘your players’ has
anything to do with whether you sat in their home or not,” McCallie said. “I think it has everything to do with whether you can be in a common space of understanding.” The concentration displayed by last season’s
Duke women in mastering two similar but distinctive matchup zones was reflective of that mental har- mony, leading the 18-year veteran to call the 2010 squad “the best defensive group I’ve ever had as a coach.”
She expects seniors Karima Christmas, Jas-
mine Thomas and Krystal Thomas to begin incul- cating preferred habits and attitudes before this sea- son’s freshmen, arguably the nation’s most talented incoming class, ever put on a Duke uniform. Getting to the top in 2010-11 begins with a
distinct upgrade in team ballhandling and what the coach called “the IQ piece.” Thanks to the arrival of a five-member group of
newcomers, the offense figures to improve immedi- ately, elevating Duke’s profile and prowess. “I hope we’re the team to beat” in the ACC, McCallie said. “I think we have to earn that.” Duke added a pair of highly acclaimed guards
from California, 5-11 Chelsea Gray and 5-7 Chloe Wells, both capable of handling the ball and run- ning a team. That should create more offensive freedom for senior Jasmine Thomas, an All-Ameri- can and winner of the 2010 Kay Yow Award as the ACC women’s basketball scholar-athlete of the year. Without primary ballhandling responsibility, Duke’s leading scorer (16.0) can move without the ball in the manner of men’s counterpart Nolan Smith, tak- ing advantage of her quickness and creativity in half- court situations. The freshman class also includes noted shoot-
ing guard Tricia Liston, 6-3 wing Haley Peters and 6-1 power forward Richa Jackson. Gray, Peters and Jackson were prep All-Americans. They join eight returning players, including three of the top five scorers and two of the three best rebounders. Given the blend of experience and talent, Mc-
Callie expects next year’s club to produce 10 more points per game on the fast break, better passes to the post, and an improved ratio of assists to turn- overs.
“We think of ourselves as being dangerous,
and think of ourselves being an attacking kind of team,” said McCallie, last season’s ACC Coach of the Year. “The bottom line is, we want to be the very best.”
Duke’s women need look no farther than the
rafters of Cameron for an intimate reminder of what it takes to reach that goal.
Letters to the editor and general feedback: email@example.com
This Week In Duke Athletic History
May 18, 1992
Gail Goestenkors is named the third head wom- en’s basketball coach in Duke history. Goesten- kors amasses 396 wins in 15 years at Duke.
May 19, 1980
The original press box of Wallace Wade Stadium is demolished to make way for the $3.5 million Finch-Yeager Building, which opened in 1981 as a combination health and media facility.
May 20, 2005
Anna Grzebien wins the individual NCAA cham- pionship and leads the Duke team to the 2005 national title, the program’s third championship. Duke stood in fifth place after the second day.
May 21, 1997
Gail Goestenkors is named the head coach for the USA Jones Cup Team. She leads the team to a silver medal while competing in Taiwan.
May 22, 1999
With freshman Candy Hanneman taking second individually, the Duke women’s golf team wins the NCAA Championship, held in Tulsa, Okla. Duke takes the lead on the opening day and never relin- quishes it. It marks the first title for women’s golf and the first for any women’s sport at Duke.
The official online magazine of Duke Athletics
Managing Editors Contributors Design Staff Writers
Jon Jackson Matt Plizga
Ben Blevins, Lindy Brown Art Chase, Chris Cook
Meredith Rieder, John Roth Colin Small, Ashley Wolf
Chris Cook Brad Jones Matt Plizga
Lance Thomas A.J. Carr
Al Featherston Barry Jacobs Jim Sumner
Michael Tomko YUDU
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