Duke women's basketball Player of the Week: Week 6

Azurá Stevens

Statline: Monday vs. Massachusetts: 24 points, 10 rebounds, 7-of-8 from the free throw line; Thursday vs. Liberty: 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting, six rebounds, three steals; Sunday vs. Kentucky: 17 points, five rebounds, three blocks.

The good: The sophomore forward shined during this week’s three game stretch, averaging 18 points per game and scoring consistently from the free-throw line by going 12-of-13 from the charity stripe. After taking a week off for finals, Stevens had no trouble returning to her impressive form against Massachusetts as she lead the team in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks in the 29 minutes she played. Stevens put her game on full display against the toughest opponent of the week as well, leading Duke with 17 points while going a perfect 5-for-5 from the free-throw line in the loss to Kentucky.

The preseason all-ACC selection was the most consistent player for the Blue Devils this week and was the only Duke player who scored in double-figures in all three games. Stevens showed solid defensive play as well, with seven blocks and seven steals that allowed the Blue Devils to hold their opponents to just 52.7 points per game, an improvement on their opponents’ average of 55.9 points per game coming into the contest.

The bad: When the pressure turned up, Stevens caved a bit, tying her season high in turnovers and fouls with four apiece. Despite having the height advantage against Kentucky’s Evelyn Akhator, Stevens failed to win the rebounding battle, notching five boards compared to Akhator’s six. Stevens was a rare bright spot during Duke’s only challenging game of the week, with only Crystal Primm matching her double-figure scoring. The sophomore has plenty of skill and talent, but the Blue Devils are not going to win games against big opponents if Stevens is not backed up by a strong supporting cast.

The bottom line: Stevens’ standout play during this weeks matchups comes as no surprise, but it still failed to get this season’s Blue Devils team its first win against a ranked opponent. The Raleigh, N.C., native—who now boasts a 26-game double-figure scoring streak—added to her double-double count with her performance against Massachusetts and now sits 10th nationally in double-doubles this season. During the Kentucky contest Stevens went just 6-of-15 from the floor, marking the second straight time that the forward—who also went 3-of-11 against second-ranked South Carolina—has failed to shoot well her against a tough opponent.

Honorable mention: Rebecca Greenwell had all but guaranteed her nod for player of the week until she had one of the worst games of her career Sunday night against Kentucky. The redshirt sophomore dominated against Liberty with a team-high 26 points highlighted by a 4-of-8 mark from beyond the arc, and also did her part against Massachusetts by leading the team with five assists. But against the Wildcats, Greenwell struggled tremendously, going 0-of-6 from the floor and finishing the game with just one point.

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