The Blue Devils' Tiny Dancer

Before she plays her final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium tonight, Duke senior guard Vicki Krapohl sat down with TDD's Dave Dixon to discuss the path of her career, her future plans, and her favorite memories of Duke.

The band starts to play and the crowd starts to roar as the Lady Blue Devils run onto the court in warm-ups of every game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. As the Blue Devils make their way out onto the court you see 6-foot-3 Brittany Hunter, 6-foot-3 Mistie Bass, 6-foot-4 Iciss Tillis and 6-foot-6 Alison Bales. If you pan down about a foot you will also observe 5-foot-5 Vicki Krapohl, the tiniest Blue Devil with anything but the tiniest game.

Krapohl is easy to overlook to the naked eye due to her size, but don't be mistaken, Krapohl is deadly. Just ask Sylvia Hatchell and the North Carolina Tarheels, who fell victim to six 3-pointers and 20 points in the Blue Devils last outing with the Tar Heels at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill. Seven days earlier Krapohl knocked down five 3 pointers in a win over Georgia Tech. The player who came to Duke with minimal expectations, has exceeded them every step of the way, and now in her senior year, is playing the best basketball of her career.

Krapohl can certainly shoot, but do not make the mistake of thinking she is limited to just shooting. She is a very steady ball handler and passer as well, which was illustrated on a pass to Iciss Tillis during a fast break against North Carolina that brought back Magic Johnson and Bobby Hurley type memories. On several occasions this year Krapohl has come up with huge steals for Duke in crucial moments. Need more proof? The Mount Pleasant, Michigan native has even blocked a few shots this season, including one in the lane against Maryland this past Sunday.

On top of her game and with the clock running out on her college basketball career, Vicki Krapohl is doing her best to view tomorrow's game as just another game, while still recognizing how special it is.

"I haven't really thought about it too much, I don't really want to think too much about it, I think Senior Day is more enjoyable when it is over, and you are looking back on it"

In a team meeting at the mid-season mark, head coach Gail Goestenkors singled out Krapohl and called on her to look for her shot more, after the senior had been passive on offense during the recent stretch of games.

"She told me in front of the whole team that we really need me to search for my shot more often, that gave me a lot of confidence and knowing this is my last year and my last opportunity has really made me focus."

Off the court, Krapohl spent her summer doing a Pratt Fellowship at Duke with a Professor from the Pratt School of Engineering. During this time, the Mechanical Engineering major worked 40 hours a week in a wind tunnel testing the flutter of airplane wings.

"Basically I was measuring turbulence" explained the energetic Krapohl, who has won the Duke Heart and Team Hustle award in all of her three previous seasons at Duke. Despite her busy schedule, Krapohl still found time to work out and on many occasions was seen in Cameron Indoor Stadium at 5 AM starting her day with a workout.

"I like to work out in the morning and I had to do it then because of my job. Getting a morning work out in makes the day go faster and makes me more productive throughout the day." she explained.

In keeping with her major, Krapohl is currently engulfed in two types of March Madness, one on the basketball court and one with the robot she recently invented and named "Alana Beard."

"March Mayhem is a project for one of my senior design classes in which we are given a box with a few motors and electrical supplies and we have to make a robot with it. The object of the contest is for your robot to make three pointers on a small basket with its arms. My robot made three this afternoon before we had to make some adjustments. The final competition is in March, hence the name March Mayhem." To add extra luck to her robot's chances, Krapohl has even added a number twenty to her robots center to pay tribute to her teammate.

Upon graduation, Krapohl intends to pursue career opportunities in her field of mechanical engineering.

"I have made a few contacts at NASA and that would be an ideal spot for me. I am also looking into opportunities with General Electric and Ford, because my dad owns a Ford dealership in Michigan called Krapohl Ford."

One thing that many people do not know about this year's Duke Team is that they are being followed by a camera crew at all times. The girls are taped during practices, locker room pep talks, road trips and games by an outside organization. Currently, there is not a specific plan for the footage, but it is likely a documentary will be put together, it's something that took a little getting used to according to the senior.

"At first it felt very unnatural having a camera follow you everywhere you go" explained Krapohl, "but we have all gotten used to it now and we don't even think about it."

A lover of cooking, Krapohl recognizes her mother for sparking her culinary talents. "My mom is Italian and we are always making homemade pastas and sauces together, I love cooking and she is the one who got me involved in it."

Krapohl also enjoys lots of physical exercise and outdoor activity with her long time boyfriend Paul, a former member of the Duke Football team before a kneecap injury ended his football playing days. "I love to be active outside, I love playing golf, tennis and throwing a football around, so it is great to have a boyfriend who is also an athlete."

A lover pf virtually all music from the 80's, she also enjoys fishing and points to her Mount Pleasant, Michigan home's close location to Lake Michigan that got her started fly fishing.

When the three seniors take the floor for their final regular season game in Cameron Indoor Stadium tomorrow night, Vicki Krapohl can take pride in the fact that she has over achieved every step of the way in her four years at Duke.

"No one ever expected too much from Vicki when she came to Duke, she was not a highly rated high school player nationally, but she has proven to be an asset to the team every year she has been here" stated a long time Duke fan after a recent game. "We are going to miss her more next year than we have even begun to realize now!" I think we can all appreciate that comment about all three of our seniors as we honor them tonight!

Duke plays its final regular senior home game tonight in Cameron Indoor Stadium against Clemson at 7pm. We at the TDD encourage all who can make it to the game to attend and cheer on our seniors!

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