Freshman Leaonna Odom led the team in scoring for the first time this season with 15 points Thursday ...

Duke women's basketball player of the week: Week 10

Leaonna Odom

The statline:

Thursday vs. North Carolina: 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, seven rebounds, two blocks, two steals and one assist

Sunday vs. NC State: Four points on 2-of-8 shooting, four rebounds, one assist and one steal

The good: Odom gets the nod this week thanks to her breakout game against North Carolina Thursday, when the freshman led the team in points for the first time of her career and also added a team-high seven boards. The week was up-and-down for the Blue Devils, who beat their biggest rivals before going silent offensively in a 55-52 loss to No. 23 N.C. State, but Odom’s impressive play shined nonetheless.

The Lampoc, Calif., native set herself apart this week thanks in part to her display of efficiency and resilience. Eight of Odom's 11 rebounds this week came on the offensive glass, meaning she is playing both smart and hard to position herself well around the basket and out-hustle opposing frontcourts. In fact, Odom leads the team by 20 in offensive rebounds this season despite being fourth on the team in rebounds per game, and she is the only Duke player with more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds this season.

The forward also scored the third-most points of any Blue Devil this week with 19—Kyra Lambert and Lexie Brown scored 21 and 20, respectivelyOdom has played at least 30 minutes in the last three games and has steadily improved her production since entering the starting lineup for the first time Dec. 21.

The bad: Odom’s unusual success on the offensive boards shows that there is some untapped potential on the defensive glass. At 6-foot-2, the forward certainly has the height to succeed at her position along with the best in the country, but her thin body type could be problematic against the most physical of Duke’s opponents down the road. Odom really struggled against the Wolfpack with just four points on 2-of-8 shooting, but was not unique in her struggles, as the Blue Devils shot just 37.0 percent as a team.

The bottom line: The unexpected offseason departure of Azurá Stevens was expected to create a gaping hole for Duke’s offense in the post, but Odom has stepped up to the challenge of late and become an integral part of the team’s frontcourt, which features four players averaging at least 10 minutes per game.

Thursday was not the first time Odom has put up noteworthy numbers—the freshman posted 16 points and 10 rebounds Nov. 27 against Pepperdine—but none were against the high-caliber opponents the team faced this week and will certainly see more of with the bulk of ACC play still ahead. 

The freshman has proven she can step her game up as the competition toughens, which will be a valuable asset for head coach Joanne P. McCallie as Duke prepares to face two ranked opponents in its next three games. As Odom’s minutes have increased and fatigue has become a factor, her performance has not wavered, which is an excellent sign for the Blue Devils.

Honorable Mention: Lambert continued to be a reliable performer for Duke by leading the team in scoring during the last week, complementing Odom with 13 points against the Tar Heels. Lambert also had two steals Thursday and facilitated the swift ball movement that created opportunities for several other Duke scorers. 

The sophomore guard worked well running the offense alongside Brown, and without Lambert’s ability to create plays and draw the attention of multiple defenders, Odom likely would not have had the scoring opportunities she did.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Chronicle.