Oct 17, 2011, 10:08 PM EST
Coach: Kenny Brooks
Last year: 26-8, 16-2 CAA, won CAA Tournament
Who’s missing: Guard Dawn Evans (23.1 ppg, CAA Player of the Year); center Lauren Jimenez (14.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2nd team All-CAA); guard Courtney Hamner (8.5 ppg); forward Jalissa Taylor (6.5 rpg).
What’s new: A motto befitting a two-time defending conference champion – “Encore!”Also, a four-player freshman class featuring 6-2 guard and Virginia High School Coaches Association state player of the year Jazmon Gwathmey, and junior college transfer point guard Tanica Anderson.
The headliners: Redshirt senior Lauren Whitehurst and juniors Tarik Hislop and Nikki Newman must all adapt to meatier roles.
We’d like to see more from: Hislop has shown flashes of being a high-volume scorer, but during her first two seasons the Dukes already had one of those. They don’t anymore.
Welcome back: Junior guard Kanita Shepherd, who played only nine games last season before being shelved by a knee injury.
The challenge: To smoothly transition out of the Dawn Evans Era and maintain their status as the team to beat in the CAA.
We like their chances if: The Dukes can replace the 70 percent of the 2010-11 scoring Evans, Jimenez, Hamner and Taylor took with them down the graduation aisle.
Sexy non-conference matchup: at Virginia, Dec. 20 – The Dukes have won the last two meetings but will be contesting this one without Evans, who scored 78 points in the two games.
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