Published Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 10:27 pm / Updated at 1:38 am
BASKETBALL
Scouting Report: NU vs. Duke

Point guard: NU’s Lindsey Moore vs. Duke’s Alexis Jones

Were there any shred of doubt remaining as to just how good she is, Moore erased it with a 20-point, 10-assist performance at Texas A&M. Poised and aggressive when needed, Moore has elevated the play of teammates around her. Jones has started all year, but she’s Duke’s backup point guard, replacing the injured Chelsea Gray. She’s good, but still a freshman. Edge: Nebraska

Shooting guard: NU’s Rachel Theriot vs. Duke’s Tricia Liston

More of a second point guard, Theriot has bloomed into a consistent second ball-handler and third scoring option for the Huskers’ attack. She’s no longer afraid to take — and make — the open jumpers given to her. Theriot’s defense is fair, not yet great. As for Liston, she might score 20 points per game for a lesser team. As it is, she averages 13.3, hitting 47 percent of her 3-pointers and an impressive 93 percent of her free throws. Nebraska’s been burned this year by good 3-point shooters — Liston fits that bill, and adds five rebounds per game. Edge: Duke

Small forward: NU’s Hailie Sample vs. Duke’s Richa Jackson

Here are two utility players who can do a variety of things for their teams. Sample is a perimeter defender and good offensive rebounder whose offensive game continues to evolve. Jackson is a slightly better scorer, but not quite as good of a rebounder. On paper, the players perhaps cancel each other out, but look for one to be an X-factor in Sunday’s game. Edge: Even

Power forward: NU’s Jordan Hooper vs. Duke’s Haley Peters

The last 50 minutes or so of Hooper’s season have been stellar; she’s scored roughly 40 points in that span, making a number of 3-pointers when Nebraska needed them. She’s become a consistent, hard-nosed rebounder this year. Peters, again, isn’t asked to do as much for Duke as Hooper is for Nebraska, but if she were, she’d pull it off. Averaging 12 points on just 10 shots per game, Peters is Duke’s top rebounder and a good passer. She also makes 46 percent of her 3-pointers. She’ll likely draw the task of guarding Hooper. Edge: Even

Post: NU’s Emily Cady vs. Duke’s Elizabeth Williams

Cady’s not a natural post player, but she does a lot of lunch-pail work around the rim. She’s been a pesky help defender and good for the occasional 3-pointers. Williams is arguably Duke’s best player, a true center who can score effectively but, perhaps more important, averages nearly three blocks per game. Her defense of the rim allows Duke’s guards to play for more steals, and her low-post offensive presence opens up those same guards to hit 3-pointers. She’ll likely be guarded by a combination of Cady and Hooper. Edge: Duke

Bench

The Huskers’ top two guards off the bench, Tear’a Laudermill and Brandi Jeffery, are quick, energetic, exciting guards who can bring the Huskers a big lift — or hurt them with a turnover. Senior forward Meghin Williams has become a fine, hard-working reserve center. With the injury to Gray, Duke was forced to start Jackson, who is normally a good sixth player. Junior point guard Chloe Wells could get the start while Jackson comes off the bench, but she’ll be listed here for the matchup. Reserve center Alison Vernery is 6-foot-5 and capable of giving Williams a brief rest. Edge: Even

The pick

In many years, Duke would have been a No. 1 seed, having won the ACC by three games in a talented league. But Gray’s injury probably put the Blue Devils on the No. 2 line, slightly vulnerable to a team that has a good offensive night. Nebraska will need not only that, but strong defense and good rebounding against one of the nation’s most efficient offensive teams. The trouble Duke presents NU is simple: a great post, and great 3-point shooters. The Huskers don’t have a true post to defend Williams. So do they let her score and defend the perimeter, or hope that Duke has an off night? On this night, Nebraska fights — and falls a bit short.

Prediction: Duke 75, Nebraska 69

Contact the writer: Sam McKewon

sam.mckewon@owh.com    |   402-219-3790    |  

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him. Follow him on Twitter. Call him.

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