With the influx of talent coming from the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation, Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie will have plenty of opportunities to vary her lineups, and the Blue Devils plan to take advantage of every opportunity they can get.

After a 2014-15 season in which the Blue Devils adapted to a roster loaded with frontcourt size, Duke will revert back to its more traditional style of play this season, looking to push the ball in transition and apply a greater level of defensive intensity.

Last year, with National Defensive Player of the Year Elizabeth Williams and 6-foot-6 forward Azurá Stevens in the post, the Blue Devils boasted one of the tallest teams in the country. As a result, Duke sought to slow down the game and score in half-court sets.

This year, though, the Blue Devils are much more guard-heavy, and Stevens and redshirt senior Amber Henson—who have spent parts of their careers extending out to the perimeter—may see more time strictly inside the paint. McCallie will try to employ them in the high and low posts in the half-court offense, as Stevens will have a height advantage over many defenders with her towering frame.

The Blue Devils are not expected to spend much time in the half-court, though. Because both Henson and Stevens have the versatility to run the floor, Duke will look to push the ball off every miss. Henson and Stevens both have capable outside jump shots and will be options in transition. With the addition of quick guards like Angela Salvadores and Kyra Lambert, the Blue Devils will take advantage of their surplus of ball-handlers to leak out for fast breaks.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned, we’re not putting the ball in one hand. We’re going to be versatile,” McCallie said. “We’re going to be able to change things up based on foul trouble, according to the matchups on the floor, so we are definitely going to have a lot of point guard play from different people at different times.”

In that respect, this year’s Duke team could resemble the 2013-14 squad, spearheaded by a two-headed monster in the backcourt of point guards Chelsea Gray and Alexis Jones. The duo played together, taking turns leading the fast break and delivering no-look passes left and right, before each suffered season-ending knee injuries. With sharp-shooter Tricia Liston on the wing and Williams down low, that season’s squad averaged 80.0 points per game—10.4 more than Duke’s output in 2014-15.

This year, McCallie’s roster is a happy medium between the speed and flashy play of the 2013-14 squad and the overpowering height of last year’s team. Duke’s quintet of freshmen guards—Lambert, Salvadores, Haley Gorecki, Faith Suggs and Crystal Primm—joins forces with returning post players Stevens, Oderah Chidom, Kendall Cooper, Erin Mathias and Lyneé Belton. The versatility will allow the Blue Devils to pick and choose their lineup combinations to take advantage of their opponents’ weaknesses.

Regardless of the pace of play, Duke will aim to cut down on the rash of turnovers that have plagued the Blue Devils in each of the past two years. With Gray and Jones at the helm, Duke committed 17.3 giveaways per game. Despite slowing down the offense, that figure rose to 18.3 last season, due in part to the lack of true point guard depth.

There may be growing pains early on as the Blue Devils’ young guards adjust to the college game, but the suddenly-brimming backcourt should enable redshirt sophomore Rebecca Greenwell to slide back to her more natural position—spotted up on the perimeter ready to launch a 3-pointer.

“I probably won’t be a point guard as much but I’ll definitely still bring up the ball every now and then and still try and be a versatile player,” Greenwell said. “But it’ll be nice having other weapons around the wings to play off of, and I think we’ll be a lot faster team, and definitely more versatile.”

But the changes in Duke’s style of play are not limited to the offensive end of the court.

Last year, the Blue Devils rarely pressed on defense for the first time in McCallie’s tenure in Durham. But Duke will return to form this season, equipped with the speed and depth in the backcourt that it lacked last season.

“We do have a variety of defenses we’re trying to shore up, whether it’s pressing, whether it’s man, whether it’s matchups,” McCallie said. “If you’re going to press more, you’re going to have to run people in and out more. You can’t keep up the intensity without that.”