#8 Duke Women's Basketball Preview

Duke Blue Devils

Overall Rank: #8
Conference Rank: #1 ACC
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At Duke it’s not just the men’s basketball program that has been a tremendous model of consistent excellence. This year marks 12 straight years of starting the season ranked in the top 10 for Duke Women’s Basketball. Joanne P. McCallie has come in and built on what Gail Gostenkors got rolling and has been able to use her ability as a tremendous recruiter to elevate the profile of Duke Women’s Basketball by getting players drafted high in the WNBA draft.

2010-11:  32-4, 12-2
2010-11 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Joanne P. McCallie (114-26 at Duke, 430-174  overall)

Who’s Out:
The Blue Devils lost three WNBA draft picks in Jasmine and Krystal Thomas along with Karima Christmas. These three combined for 45.8 percent of the team’s scoring last season. The losses will be an interesting challenge for the Duke coaching staff to replace early on in the season before hitting ACC play.

Who’s In:
Duke again welcomes the number one recruiting class in the nation. The Blue Devils did a lot of damage in the State of Virginia plucking Elizabeth Williams, a 6-3 center out of Virginia Beach. She won the Morgan Wooten National Player of the Year honors. She scored 21 points in the team’s first exhibition game in a rout over Pfeiffer College. Amber Henson comes in as a McDonald’s All-American out of Tampa, Florida and she will compete right away at the forward spot to help offset Thomas and Christmas’ graduation. Kalia Johnson will provide depth in the backcourt as well and she comes from just outside of Richmond, Virginia.

Who to Watch:
Chelsea Gray will be counted on heavily to increase her scoring in the backcourt. She was tabbed as an honorable mention preseason All-American. Haley Peters averaged over 10 points a game last year in the ACC tourney and with a year of experience and the need for frontline scoring, her role in the starting lineup should grow.  Peters should have every opportunity to be a double figure scorer and a potential of 6-8 rebounds a game for Duke.

Final Projection:
This team is young, but the talent on hand is undeniable. Joanne P. McCallie has a team stacked for the tough ACC gauntlet. It should be a down to the wire race between the Blue Devils and Miami for the top spot in the conference. McCallie has directed two straight ACC Championships and has established a high standard of excellence wherever she has been.  The schedule presents an exciting potential showdown with Notre Dame at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas. A road game at Kentucky in front of an expected huge crowd down in Lexington at Rupp Arena will provide great preparation for life on the road in ACC conference play. Expect another deep run into the NCAA tournament into the Sweet 16/Elite Eight and, with the right draw, a berth in the Final Four.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Chelsea Gray, Sophomore, Guard, 8.7 PPG
Chloe Wells, Sophomore, Guard,  3.5 PPG
Haley Peters, Sophomore, Forward, 6.3 PPG
Kathleen Scheer, Senior, Forward,  3.3 PPG
Elizabeth Williams, Freshman Center, DNP last season

Madness 2011 Women's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#2 Elizaeth Williams
#13 Amber Henson
#59 Ka'lia Johnson