Lexie Brown combined for 13 steals in Duke's three games this week.

Duke women's basketball player of the week: Week 9

Lexie Brown

The statline:

Monday vs. Louisville: 17 points on 4-of-14 shooting, four steals, three rebounds and four assists

Thursday vs. Georgia Tech: 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting, seven steals, four rebounds and four assists

Sunday vs. Florida State: eight points on 2-of-10 shooting, two steals, five rebounds and one assist

The good: In a busy week in which the Blue Devils met two top-10 opponents, Brown made an impact both defensively and offensively. The All-American guard snatched 13 steals during the three games and converted most of those chances on the other end either with a fast-break layup or an assist. In Thursday’s win at Georgia Tech, that was especially important when backcourt mate Rebecca Greenwell was held to only three points in the first half.

The performance against the Yellow Jackets was her best of the week, but Brown made an impact even when shots were not falling. No. 8 Louisville and No. 6 Florida State both kept Duke's offense in check, but Brown still helped the Blue Devils to a narrow 58-55 victory against the Cardinals with four assists and impressive guard rebounding and defense.

Brown has also made a critical impact in end-of-game situations with her free-throw consistency. The Suwanee, Ga., native has now extended her ACC-record free-throw streak to 53 consecutive made foul shots, four of which were especially important in the final minute of the Duke’s victory against Louisville.

The bad: As the Blue Devils' primary ball handler, Brown still struggles occasionally with turnovers, tacking on five in the matchup against Louisville and two against Georgia Tech. The junior had four giveaways and just one assist against Florida State, failing to get Duke's offense into a rhythm in the ugly 69-45 loss. The Blue Devils also failed to make a 3-pointer against the Seminoles, with Brown shooting 0-for-5 from beyond the arc.

The bottom line: The Blue Devils competed well during their challenging first week of ACC play, even picking up their second top-10 upset of the year, but they still need to work on the two things that caused them trouble all of last season—turnovers and foul trouble. Brown has been vital to the team’s success in these two areas, and she must continue to be clean with the ball and aggressive on drives to the basket.

As seen against Florida State, Duke still needs to find ways to succeed against stifling defenses to show that it is one of the most elite teams in the country. Brown has provided an offensive and defensive spark when her co-captain Greenwell struggles, but will still need help against the strong opponents the Blue Devils will continue to face in conference play.

Honorable Mention: Kyra Lambert has continued to shine in the shadow of Brown with consistent performances in the backcourt. The Cibolo, Texas, native had only one turnover in the game versus Louisville and three in the matchups with Georgia Tech and Florida State, even as Duke committed a season-high 23 giveaways against the Yellow Jackets. Lambert also scored nine points against Louisville, 10 against the Yellow Jackets and had a team-high 12 points against Florida State and shot 50.0 percent from the field during the three games. 

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