Weve Seen This Before With Duke

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College CentralJust like a year ago, the Lady Blue Devils from Duke finished their fall campaign a perfect 5 for 5. After winning the Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship this past Tuesday, the group from Durham started their holiday break as once again the most dominant womens team in the land. But there are some questions which still need to be answered in my mind about this Duke team.
 
Will this years team find a way to win the most important event of the year in May?
While victories in the fall are nice, and dominance of the womens game is big, it doesnt necessarily translate to capturing the National Championship. All you have to do is look back to last season, when UCLA took it to the Dukies, rendering their amazing season to the prospects of asking What if? or How did this happen? On the flip side I do place a high level of importance on taking care of business, and thats exactly what this team did this fall.
 
Head coach Dan Brooks has opted to go with just five players on his roster for 2004-2005. Can this pose potential problems down the road? This one is hard for me to get a grasp on. Division I womens golf has six scholarships at their disposal. While balancing the newcomers with veterans, Brooks has been solid on who he brings into the program. The main issue I have with regard to this is the lack of depth regardless of how good this team is.
 
There is no back up plan in place if injury or other unforeseen circumstances come to the forefront. Look no further than Tuesday, when Niloufar Aazam-Zanganeh had to WD from the finals of the match play due to recurring knee problems. Last year, Zanganeh sat out the fall season after surgery on her hip. If this continues to be a problem, there will only be more pressure on this squad, as four scores count in stroke play events, and will not allow Duke to have the luxury of that throw-out score.
 
I am not sitting here, ripping on the No. 1 team in the land. Bottom line, they have gone about their business better than anyone to this point in the season. But as the spring rolls around and the Lady Blue Devils prepare to make a run in Oregon at Nationals, there are those potential speed bumps which could make things very interesting. But for years now, Duke has not always followed the typical blueprint for success, and maybe that in itself is why they are always so good.
 
Only time will tell on how this one plays out.
 
Email your thoughts to Steve Burkowski
 
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