Joanne P. McCallie announced the 2014-15 non-conference schedule Monday, which features six teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2014.DURHAM, N.C.- Duke University women’s basketball head coach
Entering her eighth season with the Blue Devils, McCallie has guided Duke to four ACC regular season titles out of the last five years, three ACC Championships and five NCAA Elite Eight appearances, while posting a 202-42 record.
“It's another fantastic schedule that will challenge us in all ways,” McCallie commented. “It will give us a chance to honor senior Elizabeth Williams by taking her home and will bring outstanding teams to Cameron Indoor Stadium.”
Duke will feature its annual Blue/White Scrimmage Sunday, Oct. 26 in Cameron Indoor Stadium, before hosting exhibition contests against Limestone and Armstrong Atlantic State University Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, respectively.
The Blue Devils will open the 2014-15 campaign at Alabama Sunday, Nov. 16 before traveling to Norfolk, Va., to take senior Elizabeth Williams home to face Old Dominion Thursday, Nov. 20. Williams, who is out of Virginia Beach, Va., enters her final season at Duke after becoming the first Blue Devil in school history to earn three All-America accolades over her first three years with the Blue Devils.
Duke will host Marquette Sunday, Nov. 23 in its home opener in Cameron Indoor Stadium, which will kick off a three-game homestand. On Nov. 25 and Nov. 28, the Blue Devils will host Buffalo and Stony Brook.
The Blue Devils will feature a very challenging stretch starting Nov. 30 when Duke will go up against six squads that advanced to the 2014 NCAA Tournament over the span of the next seven contests.
“We will travel on the road to put us in hostile environments, which will prepare us for the future,” said McCallie. “The schedule is very consistent with being challenging and it will get us ready for the very difficult ACC season.”
Duke will travel to Texas A&M Sunday, Nov. 30 and then take on Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Wednesday, Dec. 3 as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Returning home for four straight home contests Sunday, Dec. 7 against South Carolina, Duke will also take on Oklahoma (Dec. 17), UMass Lowell (Dec. 19) and Kentucky (Dec. 21). Both the South Carolina and Kentucky contests will be aired live on ESPN2.
The Blue Devil will take off for the Christmas holiday, before traveling to Connecticut Tuesday, Dec. 30 and will close the non-conference portion of the slate Friday, Jan. 2 versus North Carolina A&T in Durham.
As a team, Duke collected a 28-7 overall and 12-4 league mark in 2013-14. The Blue Devils advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round and won the 2013 Paradise Jam title as McCallie completed her seventh year at Duke. The Blue Devils will return one starter – Elizabeth Williams -- and seven letterwinners in 2014-15, while welcoming the second-ranked recruiting class in the nation.
Williams along with Ka’lia Johnson, Jenna Frush, Amber Henson, Oderah Chidom, Kendall McCravey-Cooper and Rebecca Greenwell are the seven returning letterwinners for the Blue Devils. Greenwell, who is out of Owensboro, Ky., redshirted the 2013-14 season due to a knee injury.
“This team is going to be very exciting with a lot of versatility,” said McCallie. “I think it's the tallest and longest team I've ever coached. Elizabeth Williams returns for her final season, who is obviously very special and a National Player of the Year candidate. Elizabeth along with other great post players like Henson., McCravey-Cooper and Chidom come back after getting excellent experience last season. Then you mix in Lyneé Belton and Erin Mathias, who are working hard as freshmen.”
The No. 2 recruiting class includes Sierra Calhoun (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Lyneé Belton (Clinton, Md.), Erin Mathias (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Azurá Stevens (Raleigh, N.C.) and Mercedes Riggs (Salt Lake CC).
“We have a very, very strong post base and our guards are showing great savvy,” commented McCallie. “It's amazing to think of Greenwell being able to play this season, after redshirting last year. Johnson has been a fantastic senior guard for us in leadership and directing the team and it has been great to have Mercedes Riggs now on the team. She's made an immediate impact on us, as has Calhoun in the guard spots. They have terrific three-point shooting and ability to create on the perimeter. So again, we're the infancy level of what we're developing, but it's very exciting.”
2014-15 Duke Non-Conference Schedule
Sunday, Oct 26 - Blue vs. White game
Thursday, Oct 30 - Limestone (Exhib)
Sunday, Nov 2 - Armstrong Atlantic State (Exhib)
Sunday, Nov 16 - @ Alabama
Thurs Nov 20 - @ ODU
Sunday, Nov 23 - vs MARQUETTE
Tuesday, Nov 25 - vs BUFFALO
Friday, Nov 28 - vs STONY BROOK
Sunday, Nov 30 - @ Texas A&M
Wednesday, Dec 3 - @ Nebraska
Sunday, Dec 7 - vs. SOUTH CAROLINA
Wednesday, Dec 17 - vs OKLAHOMA
Friday, Dec 19 - vs UMASS LOWELL
Sunday, Dec 21 - vs KENTUCKY
Tuesday, Dec 30 - @ UCONN
Friday, Jan 2 - vs NC A&T