Joanne P. McCallie and the Blue Devil players met with the media for interviews and photo shoots.DURHAM, N.C. – The third-ranked Duke women’s basketball team held its annual media day Wednesday in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Head Coach
Following a 138-32 exhibition win over Shaw Tuesday evening, McCallie commented on the team’s trip to Europe, the development of the squad’s younger players and the Blue Devils’ goals for the season.
“We’re a team that’s excited to make history, to do what’s never been done before on the women’s side here,” McCallie said. “This would probably be our best offensive team, but they’re also going to have to be the best defensive team because there are too many other great offensive teams. It’s year six as a coach for me at Duke, and I think it comes from an everyday commitment to breaking through to the top.”
Blue Devil players also fielded questions from the media Tuesday, discussing their expectations and their roles on and off the court.
“We’re trying to create a legacy here at Duke,” said junior guard Chelsea Gray. “I’m expecting this team to do great things. I want to hang some banners and get all the accolades. The men’s program here has been outstanding so we’re just trying to make our way up and get to that level.”
Duke held its first official practice on Oct. 19, and had its first taste of competition last Sunday in the Blue/White Scrimmage against the program’s scout team. The Blue Devils then hosted Shaw Tuesday night in their first exhibition game of the 2012-13 season, exploding for a 138-32 victory over the Bears.
McCallie said she is excited about the progression she has seen already from this year’s squad and the program as a whole over the past couple of seasons.
“When you think about success at the highest level, and we’ve had some success, it comes from being successful in the paint, playing great defense and rebounding,” she said. “There’s a blue-collar element to it that you cannot get away from. You’ve got to be able to defend, rebound and score points … We’ve got to create our future, and we’re enjoying doing that very much.”
As a team, Duke returns four starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's team that posted a 27-6 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. The Blue Devils return 88.7 percent of their scoring from a year ago, including All-America selections Gray and Elizabeth Williams. The squad also features returners Allison Vernerey, Richa Jackson, Tricia Liston, Haley Peters, Chloe Wells, Jenna Frush, Amber Henson and Ka’lia Johnson.
Three talented newcomers round out the Blue Devil roster – Katie Heckman, Alexis Jones and Sierra Moore.
The squad will face Queens in its second exhibition game on Sunday, Nov. 4 in Cameron Indoor Stadium at 2:00 p.m.