#9 Duke Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Duke Blue Devils

Overall Rank: #9
Conference Rank: #2 ACC
#9 Duke Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview
Duke Team Page


By Duke standards, finishing tied for fourth in the ACC with an 11-5 record is a bit disappointing. Still, the Blue Devils finished earned a four seed in the NCAA Tournament and reached the Sweet Sixteen. Duke could not get past Maryland in the Sweet Sixteen, but this group is just as talented and they will get another shot at a deeper NCAA Tournament run this season.

2014-15 Record: 23-11, 11-5
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Joanne P. McCallie
Coach Record: 225-53 at Duke, 511-201 overall

Azura Stevens, a 6-6 sophomore wing, is one of the best players in the country. As a freshman last season she averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds. And that was stepping right into a very talented team as a freshman. Stevens is ready to take over this team and one way or another she will. With her size and ability to play on the wing, Coach Joanne P. McCallie has options with her lineup. Obviously at 6-6, Stevens can play in the paint, but she can play on the wing too, especially if her outside shooting starts improving. The frontcourt will obviously look different now that Elizabeth Williams is gone. She led the team with 14.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. However, there are plenty of frontcourt options for Duke. Oderah Chidom averaged nearly 20 minutes per game as a sophomore and averaged 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds. She will be a big interior scoring threat for the Blue Devils. Senior Amber Henson is the best shot blocking threat. Kendall Cooper can block some shots too. Sophomore Erin Mathias did not get much of an opportunity to show her stuff last season, but she had a few promising moments. Replacing Williams is not going to be easy, but Coach McCallie has a lot of very good options.

As much as losing Williams hurts, losing point guard Ka’lia Johnson hurts just as much. Johnson was never a great scorer, but she was a good leader. The backcourt does return Rebecca Greenwell, a 6-1 sophomore who knocked down 72 three-pointers. There is not much experience in the backcourt beyond Greenwell. Fortunately, Coach McCallie has brought in a great recruiting class. Point guards Kyra Lambert and Angela Salvadores are the top recruits in this class and one will likely take over the starting point guard role right away. Guards Haley Gorecki, Crystal Primm and Faith Suggs are all top 50 recruits as well. Those three will likely battle it out for playing time off the bench on the wing.

Final Projection:
However, with Stevens’ versatility, Duke could run a smaller lineup and start one of the freshmen at the shooting guard or small forward spots with Greenwell manning the other. That will all depend on the development of the freshmen and the young frontcourt. However it shakes out, this is a talented Duke team that, even without their point guard and proven dominating post presence, has the tools to win the ACC and make a run for the Final Four.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Kyra Lambert, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Rebecca Greenwell, Sophomore, Guard, 14.0 points per game
Azura Stevens, Sophomore, Forward, 14.1 points per game
Oderah Chidom, Junior, Forward, 8.5 points per game
Amber Henson, Senior, Center, 4.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.6 (66th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.0 (59, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.1 (24, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 34.6 (4, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.4 (234, 14)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.4 (124, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.5 (209, 9)
Rebound Margin: 11.5 (5, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.7 (69, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 18.3 (287, 13)

Madness 2016 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#12 Alexis Jones

Madness 2015 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#8 Kyra Lambert
#13 Angela Salvadores
#35 Crystal Primm
#37 Faith Suggs
#42 Haley Gorecki


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