With high expectations and a No. 12 ranking in the preseason AP poll, Duke will have its first chance to display its talent against another team in its lone exhibition game.

The Blue Devils will take on Alaska-Anchorage at Cameron Indoor Stadium Sunday at 6 p.m. The Seawolves possess plenty of talent that pushed them as high as No. 1 in Division II last season, finishing the year with a 30-2 record. The Blue Devils’ leadership must play a big role in Sunday’s game in order for Duke to secure what should be an easy win. 

Preseason All-American graduate students Rebecca Greenwell and Lexie Brown both proved themselves last season, leading Duke in scoring. Brown has already begun to show her leadership by winning the Iron Duke award for working the hardest in summer workouts. If Greenwell and Brown repeat their performances from last year, the Blue Devils will be tough for any team to beat.

“[Greenwell and Brown] provide a lot of experience,” head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “We appreciate their leadership both in work ethic and also getting other verbal leaders to be more vocal on the floor.”

This season, Alaska-Anchorage has added two transfers, senior Rodericka Ware and junior Sydni Stallworth. Both played well in the Seawolves' recent win against Johnson & Wales, scoring 21 and 14 points, respectively. Ware and Stallworth will attempt to challenge the Duke defense, but with 6-foot-4 senior Erin Mathias protecting the rim, the Seawolves might be limited to shooting outside shots.

Duke also boasts a lot of young talent, in particular, with freshman Mikayla Boykin running the point. Boykin provided a reliable scoring option when the Blue Devils played in Italy in August, and her preseason play has earned her a spot on the ACC's Newcomer Watch list. 

“Our rookies are great. We have four of them and they can all play,” McCallie said. “They’re still learning roles, but we’re excited about them and we’re just trying to get them to be as aggressive as they need to be at this level.”

In the Blue Devils' Blue-White scrimmage, Boykin struggled, only scoring three points. Boykin will have to perform better against Alaska Anchorage in order to prove to be a scoring threat for Duke.

The Blue Devils might also ger contributions from graduate transfer Bego Faz Davalos and sophomore Leaonna Odom. They have both received high praise from their coaches and teammates for their performances overseas and in preseason practice.

McCallie is focused on putting the pieces of her team together to create a team that lives up to its potential. This exhibition will give her a chance to see who plays well together and what needs to be tweaked in order to be ready for the season opener against Grand Canyon next Sunday. 

“We’re excited to play and to get out there and get a little bit better from last time out,” McCallie said. “There are a lot of things we can improve on: defense, rebounding in particular, and getting to the free throw line. It's important that we build the whole team.”