#5 Duke Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Duke Blue Devils

Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #2 ACC
#5 Duke Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview
Duke Team Page


Duke has a lot of rebuilding to do. Four starters are gone from a team that struggled, by their standards, down the stretch. The Blue Devils started 21-1 with that lone loss coming against Connecticut. In February and March, Duke was a paltry 7-6. That was still good enough to earn a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they were upset by DePaul in the second round. Coach Joanne P. McCallie will now have to rebuild around a few veterans who were not playing their best basketball late last season. Much of that was due to injuries, so Duke’s returning players are ready to put last year behind them and make a better tournament run this year.

2013-14 Record: 28-7, 12-4
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Joanne P. McCallie
Coach Record: 202-42 at Duke, 488-190 overall

Elizabeth Williams is a nice piece to build around. The 6-3 senior center averaged 13.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game last season and is more than capable of carrying the load while the inexperienced players around her figure out their roles. Oderah Chidom, a 6-4 sophomore, and Ka’lia Johnson, a 5-10 wing, are the only other two returning players who averaged over ten minutes per game in 2013-2014. Chidom showed flashes of potential as a freshman and Johnson is a seasoned senior. This team may not have much experience, but this group of newcomers gives Duke plenty of talent. Lynee’ Belton, Sierra Calhoun and Azura Stevens are all top 20 prospects in this class. Erin Mathias is not too far down the list either. And then there is redshirt freshman Rebecca Greenwell, who missed last season with an injury. She was a McDonald’s All-American and could have been an impact player last year. She certainly will be now. But perhaps junior college transfer Mercedes Riggs is the most important newcomer. The point guard will need to take over this team right away and help the youngsters get involved.

When a team loses Tricia Liston, Alexis Jones, Haley Peters, Chelsea Gray and Richa Jackson, there is reason for concern. That is a ton of talent and experience. Liston led the team with 17.2 points per game and Jones added 13.1 points and 5.3 assists. Peters was a monster on the glass and Gray was playing well before an injury ended her season. Any way you look at it, Duke has work to do and is pretty unpredictable.

Final Projection:
By ACC play, expect Duke to be competing for a conference title. Williams will dominate the paint and Coach McCallie will have to find the right players to fill in around her. But there are great options. This is a Blue Devils team that can play extremely big if Coach McCallie wants to do so. Williams, Chidom, Stevens and Calhoun are all at least 6-0 and they could feasibly be on the floor at the same time. Whatever the combination turns out to be, Coach McCallie will find what fits best. And with this much talent at her disposal, Duke will be a tough team for everybody in the ACC even without much experience.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Mercedes Riggs, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Rebecca Greenwell, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Sierra Calhoun, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Oderah Chidom, Sophomore, Forward, 5.7 points per game
Elizabeth Williams, Senior, Center, 13.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.0 (16th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.7 (82, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.9 (3, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.8 (30, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game:  5.3 (162, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.7 (1, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.8 (276, 11)
Rebound Margin: 8.9 (13, 3)
Assists Per Game: 16.8 (15, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 17.3 (263, 13)

Madness 2015 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#3 Elizabeth Williams

Madness 2014 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#10 Lynee' Belton
#13 Sierra Calhoun
#19 Azura Stevens
#41 Erin Mathias


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