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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC

    DWBB: 2018 Season

    The Duke women defeated Alaska-Anchorage 87-56 tonight in an exhibition game. UAA is a perennial D-2 power and went 30-2 last season, 97-7 over the last three seasons. Their MO is fast-break, press, frequent substitution, create havoc.

    Not very big, like most D-2 teams, but scrappy and not at all intimidated by Cameron.

    In other words, a test.

    In addition to this game, I've watched last week's scrimmage, some practice and had a bunch of conversations with players and staff.

    So, some general observations.

    First, some injury updates.

    Kyra Lambert suffered an ACL injury in the NCAAT last season and underwent surgery. She is not practicing yet. I'm told it's 50-50 if she returns this season. No firm go/no-go date but Duke opens ACC play December 31. I suspect she needs to be back by then or pretty close afterwards or Duke will sit her out and protect her redshirt.

    Freshman Mikalya Boykin left tonight's game with a knee injury and did not play in the second half. I'm told it's likely a bone bruise and not likely to be serious. But she did miss her sophomore and junior seasons at Clinton High School with knee issues, so fingers crossed.

    Haley Gorecki has missed a season and half with hip and shoulder injuries but she's fine now, albeit more than a little rusty.

    This happened last spring but Lynee Belton was forced to give up the sport due to chronic knee problems. She's still with the program as a student assistant coach.

    Sofia Roma set out last season as a transfer from Wagner. She underwent knee surgery earlier this fall and is unlikely to ever play for Duke.

    Redshirt freshman Emily Schubert is recovered from knee surgery. But she was a DNP-CD tonight and is a long way from being able to play at this level.

    With that out of the way. . . .

    Lexie Brown and Rebecca Greenwell are the returning mainstays. Greenwell is one of the best players in the ACC and Brown is one of the best players in the country. In fact, Brown was pre-season ACC Player of the Year. She's darn near the perfect player; athletic, skilled, smart, tough, a born leader and hyper competitive. Her father Dee played umpteen years in the NBA and this is the family business. She knows what she's doing.

    Greenwell came to Duke as a shooter and she's on track to break all the school's 3-point records. But she's more than that. She led Duke in rebounds last season--at 6-1--has become a solid defender and good ball-handler.

    Leaonna Odom is, IMO, the key to the season. She was a promising but erratic freshman last season. I'm frequently told some variation of "she doesn't know how good she can be."

    I think she's figuring it out. She's a thin 6-2 but is almost unstoppable inside. She's very quick and can run all day. Try to guard her with a conventional 4 and she'll run them into the ground. Odom has great positional awareness. She always seems to know where she is in relation to the basket, the backboard, her teammates and her opponents and just finds open water where there shouldn't be open water.

    She's still a work in progress. Her handle has improved but she's hasn't shown any shooting range longer than about 10 feet. But assertiveness is the question. If she's assertive, there's no reason why she can't give Duke 15 or so PPG. She's a budding star.

    Is anyone else ready to be more than a complementary player? Returnees are senior post Erin Matthias, junior wing Faith Suggs and Gorecki.

    Mathias is an intriguing player. She's 6-4, can run and has some skills. McCallie said tonight that Mathias succeeds when she "simplifies" the game. When she's fluid and decisive, she's effective. But she can overthink things. Duke needs her to rebound and defend. Any offense is gravy.

    Newcomers?

    Boykin could be really good and if Lambert doesn't come back, she's even more of a key. She averaged more than 37 ppg last year for a state champion. But that was a 2-A school and because of her knee problems, she didn't play a lot on the summer AAU circuit.

    Boykin presses 150, btw, a McCallie-era Duke freshman record.

    Grad-transfer Bez Davalos adds post depth. She's 6-3, a native of Mexico and played three seasons at Fresno State. She was one of the NCAA's leading rebounders and shot blockers last season. She seems smart and fundamentally sound. But she's not a great athlete and she's moving up in class. Can she keep up with ACC athletes?

    Mathias and Davalos are both good and willing passers, not always the case with Duke posts.

    Jade Williams is a 6-5 McDonald's All-American. She looked good last week, looked lost tonight. A high ceiling but it may take some time. Jayda Adams is a combo guard who looks like she's a keeper. Tough defender and can hit an open J. Madison Treece is a physical 6-4.

    Lots of talent and lots of options. Still raw. Duke had 22 turnovers against UAA. And the schedule includes road trips to South Carolina, Louisville, and Miami. But it's early November and there is young talent that should get better.

    This time last season, the perception was that the Duke program was in free-fall. Last season was a bounce-back season but Duke needs to build on that, especially in a season when the two best players are grad students.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Thanks for the report, had no idea we had an injury list thrice as long as the football team.

    Good luck to the team!
    “Fútbol is life!” — Dani Rojas, Richmond Greyhounds

  3. #3
    “Duke had 22 turnovers against UAA.”

    Proving we can turn it over against anyone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley
    Quote Originally Posted by grossbus View Post
    “Duke had 22 turnovers against UAA.”

    Proving we can turn it over against anyone.
    I think in the blue-white game there were 39 turnovers in 40 minutes, so getting better!
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by CameronBornAndBred View Post
    I think in the blue-white game there were 39 turnovers in 40 minutes, so getting better!
    Yes, but in the B/W game, Duke forced 39 turnovers.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    Thanks for the report, had no idea we had an injury list thrice as long as the football team.

    Good luck to the team!
    I second all of this. Thanks, Jim.

    Though I was hoping for just one season where the injury bug didn't consume half the DWBB team.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    Yes, but in the B/W game, Duke forced 39 turnovers.
    I wasn't able to watch...but any idea how many were steals and how many were, as tennis nuts would put it, unforced errors?
    basketball is back, baby!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya
    Lexie Brown had the 6th most votes for the AP pre-season All-America team. I would include a link, but I found it on the NCAA page and I felt a little dirty just going there. The other articles I found only mentioned the top 5.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya
    Also, for those interested, the Chronicle has several articles up today. No time to read yet, don't know if they give more info than Jim did.

    http://www.dukechronicle.com/section/womens-basketball

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya
    Olivia Nelson-Ododa to make her decision Wednesday. She is #5 according to espn, one of only three top 100 left and the only top 50. She is coming back from a knee injury and I believe was the #1 ranked player before her injury (dropped in rankings because she obviously did not play the summer circuit this year).

    Our current top recruit is #81, so she would be a big get. But from my limited observations, after the top 10 women's high school basketball evaluations are all over the place and not to be trusted. Any of the other girls might be a rough gem.

    She says she wants to study medicine so Duke should have a sizable advantage in recruiting her. If we miss on her, that does not bode well.

    http://www.espn.com/high-school/girl...a-nelson-ododa

    Ignore the schools on the evaluation link, a late October story says she is down to us, Uconn, Florida State, Georgia, and South Carolina. We were her last campus visit (hopefully a good sign), I think last weekend.
    Last edited by dudog84; 11-11-2017 at 03:47 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley
    Quote Originally Posted by dudog84 View Post
    Olivia Nelson-Ododa to make her decision Wednesday. She is #5 according to espn, one of only three top 100 left and the only top 50. She is coming back from a knee injury and I believe was the #1 ranked player before her injury (dropped in rankings because she obviously did not play the summer circuit this year).

    Our current top recruit is #81, so she would be a big get. But from my limited observations, after the top 10 women's high school basketball evaluations are all over the place and not to be trusted. Any of the other girls might be a rough gem.

    She says she wants to study medicine so Duke should have a sizable advantage in recruiting her. If we miss on her, that does not bode well.

    http://www.espn.com/high-school/girl...a-nelson-ododa

    Ignore the schools on the evaluation link, a late October story says she is down to us, Uconn, Florida State, Georgia, and South Carolina. We were her last campus visit (hopefully a good sign), I think last weekend.
    Thanks for update. I think your "rough gem" comment is a good one, always a possibility in WBB. Would be odd not having a top tier class since we seem to get them all the time. Assistant coaches and staff changes make a big impact in the recruiting category, and we've had a few lately.
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  12. #12
    Odd season opener against Grand Canyon. Odd because Duke dominated the boards (39.4% OR%; 86.7% DR%), didn't turn the ball over so much (18 assists vs. 15 turnovers), shot 54.8% from three-range (eFG of 52.6%), got to the line reasonably well (31.0% free throw rate; hit 72.2% of FTs), played pretty good defense (0.90 opposing points per possession, with 11 Duke steals), and only won by 13.

    Becca was the player of the game (19 pts, 7 rebs, 5 assists against only 1 TO, 5 for 5 from three-range). Lexie could have played better, but still had 13-6-6. Erin missed some layups early, but ended up shooting 50% and had 12 and 9.

    This is the first I've seen the women this season. The five starters look very strong, and they played a lot (37, 36, 32, 32, 27 minutes). The non-starters appear to be a work-in-progress.

    I'll be interested to see how we look against better competition. We play #19 Oregon State on Thanksgiving weekend, and then back-to-back against #5 Ohio State and #4 South Carolina on Nov 30/Dec 3, so I guess we don't have long to wait.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Walnut Creek, California
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    Odd season opener against Grand Canyon. Odd because Duke dominated the boards (39.4% OR%; 86.7% DR%), didn't turn the ball over so much (18 assists vs. 15 turnovers), shot 54.8% from three-range (eFG of 52.6%), got to the line reasonably well (31.0% free throw rate; hit 72.2% of FTs), played pretty good defense (0.90 opposing points per possession, with 11 Duke steals), and only won by 13.

    Becca was the player of the game (19 pts, 7 rebs, 5 assists against only 1 TO, 5 for 5 from three-range). Lexie could have played better, but still had 13-6-6. Erin missed some layups early, but ended up shooting 50% and had 12 and 9.

    This is the first I've seen the women this season. The five starters look very strong, and they played a lot (37, 36, 32, 32, 27 minutes). The non-starters appear to be a work-in-progress.

    I'll be interested to see how we look against better competition. We play #19 Oregon State on Thanksgiving weekend, and then back-to-back against #5 Ohio State and #4 South Carolina on Nov 30/Dec 3, so I guess we don't have long to wait.
    In general, I agree. The scoring was extremely well-balanced, but our poor perimeter defense kept Grand Canyon in the game. P's famous match-up zone did not account for those shooters for it did not extend into either corner. From those corners the Lopes hit 8 threes, none of which were closely defended. That's 24 points we shouldn't have given up.

    I also think that freshman Mikayla Boykin will be a star at some point. She's really good. Too, I liked the board work of Bego Faz Davalos, the Mexican grad transfer from Fresno State. She missed some chippies, but I don't see why that will continue. She's a force, except at the line.

    The team needs to improve the FT shooting. 72% will not be good enough later in the season. Faz Davalos needs to be able to feed at the FT line.

    It was certainly nice to see Gorecki on the floor. Healthy, she can contribute. Let her scrape some rust off. She'll be fine.

    All in all, not a bad opener, even if Grand Canyon turns out to not be as good as they appeared here. I expect Coach P was very happy with the balanced scoring, despite the fact that the team did not display an explosive runout. With Greenwell and Brown, that will certainly happen.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC unless it's a home football game then I'm grilling on Devil's Alley
    I didn't get to watch it, but I kept an eye on the score and was surprised at how close it was, but I also assumed it was in Cameron. It wasn't until the 4th quarter that I realized we were playing an away game in Phoenix. I'd lend that fact to allowing for it being closer than I expected. (But like I said, I wasn't watching and don't know how the crowd looked.)

    Thanks for the reports from those that saw the action.
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  15. #15
    Going to respectfully disagree with Jim about the perimeter defense. GCU shot 8-25 from three, on the way to an overall 0.9 PPP. It can and must get better, but that’s perfectly respectable defense for a season opener.

    I also think this year’s GCU team is going to be a lot better than the one that lost by 30 in Cameron last year. To cite only one example, Lee, the primary post player, scored two points all of last year; she had 10 yesterday. The new staff (former Stanford All-American and WNBA All-Star Nicole Powell as head coach and new top assistant Nikki Blue) appear to have gotten solid buy-in to the new system.

    I wonder which is going to be the real Erin Mathias: the one who rushed on easy shots and went 0-4 in the first half, or the one who let the game come to her and went 5-6 after halftime. If we get 12 and nine from her every night, that’s a huge boost.

    Finally, you won’t hear me complain about 18 assists on 27 made field goals, or a 22-7 advantage in points off turnovers.

  16. #16
    Very happy with the way Duke slammed the door late. After Lee’s FTs made it a seven-point game with 5:57 to go, Duke went on a 9-0 run that ended with Murphy’s meaningless three at 0:02. During that stretch, Boykin hit a killer three on a kick-out after an offensive rebound, and Duke went 6-6 from the line. GCU had more turnovers than shot attempts.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Here's hoping this is the season Duke WBB breaks through and back into the Final Four (in Columbus!!)

    Thanks for the helpful reports, Mr. Sumner et al., for those of us that haven't seen this squad on TV or in person just yet.

    Hope a lot of you can attend the Ohio State @ Duke game on 11/30. The Buckeyes are very fun to watch, and I'm hopeful Duke's team is as well.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Skinker-DeBaliviere, Saint Louis
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    Thanks for the report, had no idea we had an injury list thrice as long as the football team.

    This is basketball now, men's and women's. It has gotten so violent; even when you suffer a "non-contact" knee injury, who knows how much the wrestling match inside the 3-point arc contributed to it before it gave way.

    It's no wonder a lot of the best players want to chuck 3s from a comfortable distance.

  19. #19
    I know I shouldn't... but I fantasize about how this team would be without the transfer attrition, especially if we retained Azura.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by DevilYouKnow View Post
    I know I shouldn't... but I fantasize about how this team would be without the transfer attrition, especially if we retained Azura.
    Wanna play what-might-have-been?

    Asia Durr came down to Duke and Louisville. And she might be the best player in the country.

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