DURHAM, N.C. - Another preseason basketball publication has hit the newsstands as the Athlon Sports College Basketball preseason issue lists the Duke women's basketball team No. 8 nationally heading into the 2010-11 campaign.
Along with Duke being tabbed No. 8, Blue Devil senior Jasmine Thomas was selected preseason first team All-America along with Brittney Griner (Baylor), Maya Moore (UConn), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Stanford) and Danielle Robinson (Oklahoma).
Earning the top slot was Connecticut with Stanford, Tennessee, Baylor, Ohio State, Xavier, Texas A&M, Duke, West Virginia and Maryland rounding out the top 10. Closing out the top 25 was Kentucky, Georgetown, UCLA, Notre Dame, St. John's, Oklahoma, Bowling Green, Iowa State, Florida State, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Vanderbilt, LSU and Nebraska.
The Blue Devils feature seven teams on their schedule who are ranked in the Athlon ledger. In the Sporting News preseason poll, Duke was listed sixth.
Thomas, who is a product of Fairfax, Va., is coming off a junior campaign where she averaged 16.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.8 steals on the year, while leading Duke to its sixth ACC Championship and a share of the ACC Regular Season title. The 5-11 guard started all 36 contests and led the Blue Devils with 11 games with 20 or more points scored.
As a junior, Thomas was one of 12 finalists for the State Farm Wade Trophy, Naismith and John R. Wooden candidate for National Player of the Year, ACC Tournament MVP, first team All-ACC, Nancy Lieberman Award nominee, Kay Yow Award as the ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America a year ago.
She had one of the best all-around seasons in Duke history as she became only the second Blue Devil to notch 100 steals in a season along with Alana Beard. Thomas also ranked in seven other Duke single-season categories -- 63 three-pointers (4th), 577 points (7th), 1,168 minutes (1st), 532 field goal attempts (2nd), 177 three-point field goal attempts (5th), 146 assists (8th) and 100 steals (4th).
Duke returns three starters in 2010-11 - Thomas, Karima Christmas and Krystal Thomas - to go along with returning letterwinners Kathleen Scheer, Shay Selby and Allison Vernerey. Janee Johnson will see her first action in 2010-11 after missing last year due to a knee injury.
The incoming recruiting class of Chelsea Gray, Richa Jackson, Haley Peters, Tricia Liston and Chloe Wells was tabbed No. 1 in the nation by HoopGurlz and features three McDonald's All-America selections. The class is also made of four state players of the year from New Jersey (Peters), California (Gray), Oklahoma (Jackson) and Illinois (Liston). Gray was also named Parade Magazine Co-National Player of the Year.
Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie is coming off leading Duke to its sixth ACC Championship, the NCAA Elite Eight and the Blue Devils' eighth 30-win season over the last 10 years with a 30-6 mark.
Preseason action will get started on Sunday, Oct. 24 with the annual Blue/White Scrimmage at 2:00 p.m., followed by exhibition contests on Nov. 3 versus Wingate and a Nov. 7 match-up with Carson-Newman.
All home games are played in historic Cameron Indoor Stadium. For ticket information, contact the Duke Ticket Office at (919) 681-2583 or 1-877-375-3853. You can also purchase tickets online at www.GoDuke.com.
5. Ohio State
7. Texas A&M
9. West Virginia
14. Notre Dame
15. St. John's
17. Bowling Green
18. Iowa State
19. Florida State
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