With revamped roster, Duke women push for continued success :: WRALSportsFan.com

With revamped roster, Duke women push for continued success :: WRALSportsFan.com

Kara Lawson led the Duke women’s basketball team to their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2018.

The Blue Devils’ coach in his fourth year will attempt to repeat his success with another revamped and smaller team.

Last season, Duke had a record of 25-7 and currently has only 11 players on its team. This includes one injured senior, Vanessa de Jesus, four freshmen, and two transfers. During the offseason, three players transferred to schools in Power 5 conferences.

Lawson stated that our team is new this year and our main focus is getting everyone familiar with our system and playing style on both offense and defense. Progress is being made and we recognize the difficulty of the league and the challenges we will face. We are committed to improving and evolving throughout the season.

This is not a new experience for Lawson, as she began leading the team during the COVID-19 outbreak and her team only played four games in her first season before choosing to withdraw.

“Lawson expressed her hope to eventually have players who have been with the team for three or four years, as she believes it will bring continuity and be advantageous for the team. She shared this during the 2023 ACC Women’s Basketball Tipoff in Charlotte on Tuesday.”

The Blue Devils were one of the nation’s toughest defensive squads last season, holding opponents to 51 points per game (2nd in the NCAA) and 35.2% shooting from the field (9th in the NCAA).

The Blue Devils will count on Reigan Richardson and Kennedy Brown, who were part of the team’s strongest defensive players, to lead the team. They both joined the program before last season and have now assumed leadership positions.

Brown, who transferred from Oregon State, stated that the ACC demands one’s utmost effort every day. As everyone will give their best, one must also be prepared to do the same. By consistently emphasizing this in practice, it will become a habit to give everything on the court each time one steps onto it.

The Blue Devils have a strong roster with skilled players. They acquired Taina Mair, the ACC’s top freshman and leader in assists, from Boston College. Additionally, they gained Camilla Emsbo, a former first-team All-Ivy League center from Yale. Duke’s freshman class of four women, led by guard Jadyn Donovan, was ranked in the top-5.

Lawson, who successfully recruited a top 10 class in 2022, stated that acquiring talent is crucial, whether it comes from high school or through the portal.

I enjoy being in that place, so I will make an effort to remain there with the arrival of the best classes.

Duke Blue Devils

Kara Lawson has been the head coach of Duke for four years, with a record of 46 wins and 21 losses.

In the 2022-2023 season, their record was 26 wins and 7 losses, with a 14-4 record in the ACC. They were eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

AP Poll before the season starts: Other teams receiving votes.

Returning players: Guard Reigan Richardson, who is 5 feet and 11 inches tall, is a junior and averaged 6.8 points per game. Center Kennedy Brown, who stands at 6 feet and 6 inches, is a senior and led the team with 46 blocks as well as averaging 6.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

New players signed: Jaydn Donovan, a 6-foot freshman who can play guard or forward; Camilla Emsbo, a 6-foot-5 graduate transfer from Yale (who was unable to play in the 2022-23 season due to injury but was named first-team All-Ivy League in 2021-22 and recorded 13 double-doubles); Taina Mair, a 5-foot-9 sophomore transfer from Boston College (selected for the All-ACC freshman team in 2022-23 and led the conference in assists).

Notable departures: Guard Celeste Taylor (11.4 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, 44 3-pointers, and 82 assists) transferred to Ohio State; Guard/Forward Elizabeth Balogun (10.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg); Guard Shayeann Day-Wilson (8.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg) transferred to Miami; Guard Jordyn Oliver (3.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg) transferred to Vanderbilt.

The first game of the season will take place on November 6th against Richmond and will be broadcasted on the ACC Network Extra.

Important out-of-conference matchups: November 19th against Stanford on ABC, November 30th against Georgia on ACC Network, and December 3rd against South Carolina on ABC.

Reworded: Duke, now led by former Tennessee standout Lawson, made a return to the NCAA Tournament in 2018. However, senior guard Vanessa de Jesus will unfortunately be unable to play this season due to a knee injury. The Blue Devils will have the chance to face off against Team USA in an exhibition game on November 12 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Head coach Lawson expressed excitement for the opportunity to compete against such a high level team and believes it will be great preparation for future games. Additionally, Duke has gained the ACC freshman of the year and the assist leader from Boston College, Mair.

According to Lawson, our team has a great deal of athleticism, speed, and length. These are qualities that we should capitalize on. It is my responsibility to determine the best way to utilize these traits. Our recruiting class is ranked in the top five in the nation and includes highly skilled and athletic freshmen. They have all made a positive impact in our practices. It is the responsibility of everyone to assist in preparing them for the competitive nature of this experienced league.

Part II of their statement: “I am striving to be the leader that my team needs. While I believe I lead by example, I recognize the importance of being a vocal leader and the potential positive impact it can have on our team.” – Richardson

Source: wralsportsfan.com