Jones leads Duke women in Blue-White game
Sophomore point guard Alexis Jones led Duke with 29 points and nine steals as the Blue Devils’ women’s basketball team opened its season with the Blue-White game Sunday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The White team, made up primarily of projected starters, beat the Blues by a score of 82-67 in the intra-squad scrimmage. It’s tough to attach any meaning to the final score, however, since coach Joanne P. McCallie shuffled players from one team to the other to experiment with different lineups.
Only three Blue Devils—Jones, Elizabeth Williams and Amber Henson—wore the same color jersey for the entire 40 minutes. The other nine players switched sides for at least one of the first three 10-minute quarters.
“I know the format, to some, might not be as exciting as a quote-game,” McCallie said, “but, to us, it’s important to mix and match combinations and give people a chance to play against each other. We tried to work on that competitive cauldron a little bit and get some film of us playing against each other.”
The entire team then joined forces to play against the 14 male practice players for the final 10-minute stretch. Veerain Gupta hit a shot with 0.5 seconds remaining to give the scout team a 21-20 edge over the women’s team.
“We just added those guys in at the end because of their quickness,” McCallie said.
The male players forced the White team into five turnovers, the highest total of any quarter.
“Their point guards are really quick,” Jones said. “They really make us play defense, which is good.”
Duke also allowed the practice squad to shoot 53.3% from the field.
“We’re learning how to play together,” McCallie said. “Obviously, we’re not there yet. Obviously, there’s nothing I was that impressed with, except that we were out there, competing.”
Jones led Duke with nine points against the practice players. For the game, she shot 12 of 17 from the field, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range.
Tricia Liston and Haley Peters each scored 20 points. Freshman Oderah Chidom was the leading rebounder with 14. Chidom was also awarded the team’s Iron Duke championship belt, for leading the team in performance in the weight room during the offseason, in a halftime ceremony.
Two Blue Devils returned to the court after recovering from injuries.
Redshirt freshman Amber Henson, who has missed the last two seasons with a knee injury, scored four points in nine minutes.
“She’s closer (to being ready) than that, but I’m kind of holding her back,” McCallie said. “We’re being smart with her. Just a little taste is all that we were going to give her today. The next two games, she should have a little bit more of an opportunity.”
Chelsea Gray, who injured her knee in mid-February and missed 11 games, started and scored eight points. Gray led the team with five assists.
“I felt good,” Gray said. “It was good to be back out there. I missed it. My timing was better than I expected, and it’ll improve throughout the season.”
Gray played 26 of the first 30 minutes, before sitting out the final quarter against the practice players.
“That was coach’s prerogative,” McCallie said. “She played (almost) 30 minutes. That was enough for now.”
Duke has two exhibition games, against Glenville State College on Wednesday and Coker on Sunday, before the Blue Devils open their season at California on November 10.
“The big thing will be the film on Tuesday,” McCallie said. “We’ll see it on film, and we’ll go from there. That’s the most important part of this.”