Duke women lose another guard
DURHAM — Already playing without one all-American guard, Duke’s women’s basketball will enter the postseason next week without another top perimeter player.
Medical tests revealed Monday that Alexis Jones, the Blue Devils’ sophomore point guard, suffered a torn ACL during Sunday’s game at Notre Dame and will miss the rest of the season.
The news is another tough blow for the No. 7 Blue Devils (24-4, 11-3 in ACC), who already lost senior guard Chelsea Gray to a fractured kneecap last month.
Jones, an all-American candidate herself, averaged 13.1 points, 5.3 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals this season for Duke.
Jones was injured in the second half at No. 2 Notre Dame on Sunday in a game the Blue Devils lost 81-70. While completing a layup in traffic, Jones landed awkwardly on her left knee.
“I was really proud of Lex,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “She was going so fast. She was getting the play under control, bolting down the floor. She finished beautifully and there was a little bit of contact. Suddenly I saw her hopping toward the bench.”
The initial report was that Jones had a sprained knee. But Duke’s medical staff on site warned that the injury looked serious. Jones returned to the bench with ice on her knee and was in tears. Gray consoled her.
“It was a very tough trip home,” McCallie said. “It was tough to get through anything like that.”
A follow-up MRI exam Monday revealed the torn ACL. McCallie said Jones is fortunate that there is no other damage to the knee, a fact that should make for a smoother recovery as she prepares to return next season.
As for the rest of this season, Jones is the fifth guard the Blue Devils have lost this season. Freshman Rebecca Greenwell is redshirting after having knee surgeries in April and July.
Another freshman, Kianna Holland, transferred to Ohio State at the end of the fall semester.
Gray was lost to her broken kneecap and senior guard Chloe Wells is out indefinitely with a shin injury.
Duke has two regular-season games remaining, starting with the regular-season home finale with Wake Forest on Thursday night (6:30 p.m., ESPN3). The Blue Devils complete the regular season at No. 14 North Carolina on Sunday (1 p.m., ESPN).
The ACC Tournament is next week at Greensboro Coliseum.
McCallie said, with the perimeter rotation depleted, the coaching staff will formulate a plan with the remaining players. Seniors Tricia Liston, Richa Jackson and Haley Peters are all capable ball handlers and playmakers, she said, and junior Ka’lia Johnson could also see her role increased.
“I love our team and I love our kids,” McCallie said. “We will focus on what we have. We have great kids. We might look at little bit different. There are a lot of ways to be successful on the basketball court. That’s the challenge. I can’t wait for practice Tuesday.”