#39 Duke Women's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Duke Blue Devils
Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank: #7 ACC
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Duke played just four games into the Coach Kara Lawson era before opting to sit out the rest of the 2020-2021 campaign. Previously, the Blue Devils had a couple of disappointing seasons in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, but Coach Lawson has brought in the talent to get off to a good start to her collegiate coaching career.
2020-21 Record: 3-1, 0-1
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Kara Lawson
Coach Record: 3-1 at Duke, 3-1 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Jaida Patrick, Guard/Forward, 11.8 ppg
Sara Anastasieska, Guard, 10.0 ppg
Mikayla Boykin, Guard, 5.0 ppg
Jada Claude, Guard/Forward, 3.5 ppg
Uchenna Nwoke, Center, 1.3 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Miela Goodchild, Senior, Guard, 15.3 ppg
Vanessa de Jesus, Sophomore, Guard, 12.0 ppg
Jade Williams, Senior, Forward/Center, 11.0 ppg
Onome Akinbode-James, Senior, Forward/Center, 7.5 ppg
Key New Players
Elizabeth Balogun, Senior, Guard/Forward, Transfer from Louisville
Shayeann Day-Wilson, Freshman, Guard
Amaya Finklea-Guity, Transfer from Syracuse
Lexi Gordon, Senior, Guard/Forward, Transfer from Texas Tech
Nyah Green, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Louisville
Jiselle Havas, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Lafayette
Imani Lewis, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Wisconsin
Jordyn Oliver, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Baylor
Celeste Taylor, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Texas
Lee Voolker, Freshman, Guard
Four starters are back, highlighted by senior guard Miela Goodchild. She averaged 7.3 points in 2019-2020 and proved to be a very effective three-point shooter. Jade Williams and Onome Akinbode-James were both regular starters two years ago. Both are big centers who can score in the paint and block some shots. Vanessa de Jesus got off to a great start last year as a freshman, averaging 12.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists in those four games. Duke will hope she can keep up that pace during a full season. To fill in the rest of the roster, Coach Lawson hit the transfer market. There are two incoming freshmen, highlighted by point guard Shayeann Day-Wilson, but it will be the eight Division I transfers that will make the biggest impact. The backcourt brings in Nyah Green, a former McDonald’s All-American who had a short stay at Louisville. Lexi Gordon had a couple very productive seasons at Texas Tech after seeing limited playing time at Connecticut. She can score in bunches and help out on the glass too. Celeste Taylor was a two-year starter at Texas and averaged 12.3 points, 2.0 assists, 2.1 steals and 4.9 rebounds a season ago. Elizabeth Balogun comes from Louisville where she saw her scoring output diminish last year. Balogun averaged 14.6 points and 5.1 rebounds as a freshman at Georgia Tech. Jordyn Oliver is another former McDonald’s All-American. She only earned a few starts in two years at Baylor, but a change of scenery could reignite the point guard’s collegiate career. Imani Lewis will add another tough rebounder to the roster. The three-year starter at Wisconsin averaged 15.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in 2020-2021. Coach Lawson will have a tough job figuring out what roles work best for the new look roster, but this is a talented group and sooner than later that will begin to show in the win column.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.5 (34th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.0 (65, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.0 (10, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.0 (39, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.2 (66, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.1 (64, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.3 (231, 11)
Rebound Margin: 18.2 (2, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.2 (21, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.5 (213, 11)
Madness 2021 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#32 Shayeann Day-Wilson