The Duke Blue Devils women’s basketball team, under the leadership of head coach Joanne P. McCallie, has been selected as the preseason No. 3 team nationally in the Lindy’s College Basketball preview issue.
Duke returns four starters and 88.7 percent of its scoring from a year ago and was ranked behind only Baylor and Connecticut while Maryland, Stanford, Louisville, Kentucky, Penn State, Notre Dame and Delaware rounded out the top 10.
A total of four Blue Devils 2012-13 opponents are listed in the top 25 and include Connecticut (2), Maryland (4), St. John’s (12) and California (14).
A look back and ahead
Finishing with a 27-6 record, last season’s squad advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the third straight year.
McCallie returns key starters Elizabeth Williams, Chelsea Gray, Haley Peters and Tricia Liston who started a combined 116 contests a season ago.
Other returning letter winners for the Blue Devils include Allison Vernerey, Richa Jackson, Ka’lia Johnson, Jenna Frush and Amber Henson.
Chloe Wells also returns for the Blue Devils after missing the second semester last year.
Duke welcomes a solid recruiting class that includes McDonald’s All-America selections Sierra Moore and Alexis Jones along with center Katie Heckman.
Williams, Gray selected to preseason All-America teams
Lindy’s also released its preseason All-America teams and selected Blue Devils sophomore Williams to the Second team and junior Gray listed to the Third team.
A product of Virginia Beach, Va., Williams was also listed as an “Emerging Star” by Lindy’s, after being named the consensus National Freshman of the Year in 2011-12.
The 6’3″ center averaged 14.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 1.6 assists and 1.5 steals a year ago, while earning ESPN.com, USBWA and Full Court rookie of the year accolades.
Williams was a John R. Wooden Award finalist and Naismith candidate for Player of the Year while posting one of the top freshman campaigns in ACC history by notching a freshman record 116 blocked shots and ranking fourth nationally with a 3.5 per game average.
She also became the first league freshman to be named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and only the third freshman to be voted to the All-ACC First Team.
From the backcourt
Gray is coming off a sophomore season during which she averaged 12.5 points, 6.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.8 steals.
She ranked 12th nationally in assists and 29th in steals.
The 5’11” playmaker elevated her game even more in the NCAA Tournament averaging 16.0 points, 6.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 steals as she was named to the Fresno Regional All-Tournament team.
Other honors Gary received last year included USBWA All-America, Naismith Midseason Player of the Year list, All-ACC Tournament second team, First Team All-ACC, two-time ACC Player of the Week and a John R. Wooden Award candidate.
The Stockton, Calif., product tallied a Duke single-season record 201 assists on the year.
Lindy’s Preseason All-America Teams
First Team: Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Alyssa Thomas (Maryland), Elena Delle Donne (Delaware) and Brittney Griner (Baylor).
Second Team: Elizabeth Williams (Duke), Bria Hartley (Connecticut), A’dia Mathies (Kentucky), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Connecticut) and Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford).
Third Team: Chelsea Gray (Duke), Christina Foggie (Vanderbilt), Angel Goodrich (Kansas), Shoni Schimmel (Louisville), Destiny Williams (Baylor).
Lindy’s Top 25
8. Penn State
9. Notre Dame
12. St. John’s
15. Oklahoma State
16. West Virginia
18. Texas A&M
22. Iowa State
24. Middle Tennessee
25. San Diego State
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