After the Blue Devils missed the postseason for the first time since 1994 and two key players announced they will transfer, athletic department starts evaluation of Duke Women’s Basketball program.
The Duke University athletic department recently announced that they will begin investigating the women’s basketball program and head coach Joanne P. McCallie. They will be looking into the mistreatment of players and assistant coaches which has caused former several players and staff members to leave the program.
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Since arriving at Duke in 2007, Joanne P. McCallie has recorded a 245-65 overall record which includes three ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament titles, 4 straight Elite Eight appearances from 2010-2013, and three ACC Coach of the Year awards in 2010, 2012, and 2013. McCallie has also been a great recruiter, luring some of the top high school prospects to Duke and helping the Blue Devils add one of the top recruiting classes in the country this past season.
Duke had one of its worst seasons in recent memory last year, which was disappointing because of the talented players coming in and the experience returning. The team finished with a 20-12 record (8-8 ACC), and missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994 and declined an invitation to the Women’s NIT. Part of their struggles were due to numerous injuries, with only three players appearing in all 32 games for the Blue Devils this season (Oderah Chidom, Kyra Lambert, and Crystal Primm). Inexperience also played a huge role, with Duke turning the ball over a total of 593 times this season and 18.5 times per game.
Additionally, the fact that two key players are transferring from the program also raised some flags that something might be wrong. Sophomore wing Azura Stevens and freshman guard Angela Salvadores both announced their intentions to transfer after the season ended. Stevens was an All-ACC and All-American performer for Duke and Salvadores arrived as one of the top point guard prospects after starring in international competition for Spain. The program has also had a number of other transfers leave the program over the past few years under McCallie.
There are still some things to look forward to for the program. Duke will add 5-star wing Leonna Odom next season and just received a verbal commitment from 3-star center Emily Schubert. Their young players will also have another year of experience and hopefully returning players can comeback healthy before preparation for next season starts. Whatever the outcome of the investigation, we hope that the Duke Women’s Basketball program will be able to bounce back next season and become competitive in the ACC and nationally once again.