Duke returns a strong core from last year’s Sweet 16 team, but new faces during the team’s Blue-White scrimmage proved the Blue Devils have the potential to contend for more this year.

Saturday's scrimmage at Cameron Indoor Stadium featured four 10-minute quarters to match this year’s rule changes, with the women playing against each other in the first three quarters and matching up against the men’s practice squad in the fourth quarter. The White team won the three-quarter intra-squad scrimmage 52-50, but the teams were switched up after each quarter. This was the first game-like action for Duke’s top-ranked recruiting class and All-American transfer Lexie Brown. And highly-touted freshmen Kyra Lambert, Crystal Primm and Haley Gorecki lived up to their billing.

"I think our guard play has a chance to get very good. Lexie obviously has the experience and Kyra is an explosive player," Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "Having Lexie in practice is a huge benefit. She’s attacking all the time and plays with a great deal of energy but also poise, so that’s going to benefit all the guards."

Gorecki and Brown both showed off their range with four deep 3-pointers between the two of them, and Primm converted on strong drives to the basket time after time to finish 7-of-12 from the field with 16 points. Brown will sit out this season due to NCAA regulations after transferring from Maryland, but she controlled the pace of play at point guard for the Blue team throughout the scrimmage and will challenge freshman point guard Lambert in practice all year. These four newcomers combined for 51 points in the scrimmage.

"I definitely am excited about Kyra. She’s an incredible player, she’s the sweetest little girl in the world, so we’re trying to pull that dog out of her on the court, but from where she was when she first got here, she’s made incredible steps," Brown said. "I didn’t really have that point guard mentor that I needed my freshman year, so to be able to be someone else’s mentor and be able to push her...I'm really excited about that."

In the first quarter, the White team featured the unit that will likely see the most action this year—including graduate student Amber Henson along with All-ACC returnees Rebecca Greenwell and Azurá Stevens—but couldn’t finish on several point-blank layup attempts and dropped the opening period 15-14. Stevens struggled from the field throughout the first half, shooting 1-for-7 as she adapts to being more of a post presence to fill the void left by the departure of four-time All-American Elizabeth Williams. The 6-foot-6 forward rebounded for a better second half and finished the scrimmage with a team-leading 17 points on 5-for-19 shooting.

"It was definitely not [Stevens'] A-game, for sure. You really have to focus and be aggressive to the basket, and I thought she was drifting a lot, getting pushed and hit," McCallie said. "But she’s a tough player...she’ll look at that film and it will motivate her."

Greenwell and Henson remained on the White team in the second quarter to try and bounce back before halftime. Their experience paid off when both teams showed signs of tiring towards the end of the half with no substitutions available.  With the White team down 29-27 and less than a minute remaining, Henson nailed a go-ahead trey from the left corner and Greenwell followed with an impressive assist to Primm for a layup to help the White squad end the second quarter with a 32-29 advantage.

Brown tried to bring the Blue team back with eight points in the third period, but the White squad held off its opponent—led by Greenwell and Henson’s continued leadership. Greenwell finished the scrimmage with 16 points, and Henson added 12 points and made both of her 3-point attempts.

"Obviously when it’s my turn to shoot and get a point, I have to do that, but at the same time, directing traffic, setting good screens, rebounding, playing great defense—that’s always been a big point of pride in my role," Henson said. "I think [having] more confidence in my shot, that should reflect in the games, too."

The scoreboard was reset to zeroes for the fourth quarter as the men’s scout squad that practices with the Blue Devils had the opportunity to take the floor and compete against them. This was the first opportunity for the women to make substitutions, and the scout squad came out with fresh legs and a high level of defensive intensity, holding the women’s team to a single point in the first five minutes of the quarter. Duke's offense came alive in the closing minutes, and Brown made two free throws with 1.6 seconds left to end the quarter in an 11-11 tie.

"Unfortunately, we didn’t get to play the guys in overtime," Brown said. "I think we could have beat them."

The Blue Devils have some time off now before their first exhibition game Nov. 5, when they will host Pfeiffer.