By: Sarah Leggett, Duke Sports Information
The “Splash Sisters” duo of fifth-year seniors Lexie Brown and Rebecca Greenwell certainly left their mark on the Duke women’s basketball program in just the two years they played together, being one of the top-scoring backcourt duos in the country.
Brown is coming off turning in one of the best individual seasons in Duke and ACC history as a fifth-year senior by averaging 19.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.7 steals for the Blue Devils. Her 122 steals were a new Duke single-season mark, breaking Duke great Alana Beard’s record of 114. The 5-9 guard collected an impressive 14 steals over her final two collegiate contests against 18th-ranked Georgia and top-ranked Connecticut.
“I was able to bring a positive spark to the program,” Brown said. “They were doing just fine but I think they needed that push so I was able to provide that. I brought the defensive prowess that they lacked the last couple years. When I was growing up, they were known as a tough, defensive team and that was something I’m really proud of. I hope future players take that into consideration and continue the legacy of defensive dominance.”
The 2018 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Brown notched 16 games with 20 or more points and was selected All-ACC First Team for the second straight year. She notched espnW and Associated Press All-America and was named to the John R. Wooden Award final ballot, Naismith Player of the Year candidate, Wade Watch candidate, Senior CLASS Award finalist, Nancy Lieberman Award finalist and a top 15 finalist for the Dawn Staley Award among others.
“I want everyone to be able to smile when they think Lexie Brown,” Brown said. “I want them to know how much energy I brought to the program and to the gym. That’s the most important thing … loving my energy and how much fun I had on the court.”
Brown recorded 11 top-10 career records and 23 top-10 season records, including topping the career charts in steals average (3.3), minutes average (34.6) and consecutive games with at least one three pointer (29). The Suwanee, Ga., native also owns the top spot on the season charts with 122 steals, steals average (3.7) and was the second-fastest player to 1,000 points (53 games) in a season.
“It’s a goal that every player has … you want to leave your mark wherever you go,” Brown commented. “To be able to leave my mark here is super special, especially only being here two years. I credit my teammates and Coach P for letting me rock and do what I love to do, the way I love to do it.”
Two years on the court just wasn’t enough as Brown wishes she “had been here all four years. I can’t imagine what I would have been able to accomplish if I had been here the whole time.”
A mainstay in the Duke lineup for four years, Greenwell’s legacy will be known for years to come.
The Owensboro, Ky., native became the first Blue Devil in school history to notch 1,800 points, 600 rebounds and 200 made three-pointers and was named to the All-ACC second team and All-ACC academic team in 2017-18. The 6-1 guard averaged 13.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and shot .429 percent (73-of-170) from beyond the arc in her final season. She scored double digits in 20 games including a career-high 31 points against North Carolina on senior day.
“My freshman year, I was really timid and shy, mostly off the court but a little on the court,” Greenwell said. “Over the past five years, I’ve really grown into a more confident leader … not afraid to speak up when needed and being more assertive on the court.”
Greenwell finished her career ranking fifth in points (1,874), 12th in rebounds (761), first in three-point field goals made (301) and 11th in steals (215). Her 301 three-pointers passed Maryland’s Kristi Toliver (300) to rank fifth all-time and passed former Blue Devil record-holder Tricia Liston. She also became just the second player in ACC history to register 70+ three-pointers in four-consecutive seasons.
“All the records were obviously a huge blessing,” Greenwell commented. “Being done and looking back now, it really feels amazing and very rewarding to know I got so many of them. I think the one I’m most-proud of is the three-point record just because of all the great three-point shooters that have come before me … beating my buddy Tricia Liston was fun. Looking back, the records meant a lot but the most fun was just playing with my teammates and building the relationships and friendships that I got here through my past five years.”
Greenwell recorded 19 top-10 career records and eight on the season top-10 ledger. She was the fourth-fastest player in Duke history to 1,000 points in 67 games and ranks second in minutes with 4,218.
While Greenwell’s stats show a noticeable change on her improvement on the court, the Kentucky native says off the court is where she’s improved the most.
“My freshman year, I was so shy,” Greenwell said. “I hung out with a couple girls on the team but I wouldn’t speak unless I was spoken to because I was so nervous all the time. Duke was extremely out of my comfort zone, being from a small town in Kentucky. I didn’t really know what to expect … as I got more experience playing and got closer with my team and more comfortable with Duke in general, I thought that helped me really grow as a person and stepped me further outside my comfort zone. I started talking a lot more and now I’m one of the most vocal people on the team.”
Greenwell says building relationships and becoming closer with her teammates allowed her to take her game to the next level and it’s no surprise her relationship with her ‘Splash Sister’ might be the one that translated the most on the court.
“Playing with Lexie was awesome,” Greenwell said. “She’s definitely the best player I’ve ever played with and she made my job so much easier and made me look better than I actually was. We got really hype whenever each other scored. She really fuels my energy out there so it was so much fun to play with her and I’ll really miss it.”
“It was beyond awesome,” Brown added. “I think the best part was proving to everyone that we would be able to be successful together because a lot of people didn’t think it would work. To play next to someone with the same work ethic as me was awesome. I’d never played with a shooter like her before so she made my job super easy. For us both being fifth years and in Fuqua together made our relationship super strong. I’m definitely going to miss playing with her. We have our subtle conversations during the game or we have the looks we give each other because we just understand each other.”
Brown is one of 10 student-athletes invited to attend the 2018 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm that will take place on Thursday, April 12 at the Nike New York Headquarters. The first round of the draft will air live on ESPN2 beginning at 7 p.m. (ET), followed by coverage of the second and third rounds on ESPNU at 8 p.m. It will also be streamed live on the ESPN app.
“I’m super excited for it,” Brown said. “I love New York so I’m really excited it’s there and I’m even more excited to share this moment with my family and some of my close friends. I’m also excited about the outfit I’m going to wear. Now I’ll just wait, see where I end up and go from there.”
After spending two years getting hype on the court for each other, Brown and Greenwell will part ways as arguably the best back-court duo in Blue Devil history.
“I’ll miss playing beside her and miss being called the ‘Splash Sisters’,” Greenwell said. “Maybe one day we’ll be able to be on the same WNBA team and keep it going even longer.”