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Final Four coaches release joint statement about controversial Indiana law

Duke departed for Indianapolis and the Final Four Wednesday, an event that has received additional media attention for off-the-court reasons in the past week after passage of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics assert allows businesses to deny service and discriminate against LGBTQ individuals.

Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski joined fellow Final Four coaches Tom Izzo, John Calipari and Bo Ryan in releasing a statement addressing the act Wednesday afternoon.

The statement was released through the National Association of Basketball Coaches:

“We are aware of the recent actions in Indiana and have made a point to talk about this sensitive and important issue among ourselves and with our teams. Each of us strongly supports the positions of the NCAA and our respective institutions on this matter—that discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated... Read more

Elizabeth Williams first ACC player ever to earn 4 straight All-America honors

Senior Elizabeth Williams captured All-American honors for the fourth straight year Tuesday.
Jesús Hidalgo / The Chronicle

Senior Elizabeth Williams captured All-American honors for the fourth straight year Tuesday.

Although her Blue Devil career may not have ended the way she liked, Duke senior Elizabeth Williams continued to add to her long list of accomplishments Tuesday.

The Virginia Beach, Va., native garnered AP All-America honors for the fourth straight year—becoming the first player in ACC history to receive the accolade each of her four years. The center stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 14.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.0 blocks per contest this season en route to a second-team selection.

During her career, Williams was defined by her game-altering presence on defense. The All-American finished ninth all-time with 426 blocks during her illustrious career. Williams was also a dominant force in NCAA Tournament action as her 44 career blocks in the Big Dance ranked fifth all-time.

The center also showed tremendous growth on the offensive side of the ball over the course of her career... Read more

Duke basketball Player of the Week: NCAA Tournament Week 2

Swingman Justise Winslow came up big in his hometown to get Duke back to Indianapolis and the Final Four.
Darbi Griffith / The Chronicle

Swingman Justise Winslow came up big in his hometown to get Duke back to Indianapolis and the Final Four.

Justise Winslow

Statline: Friday vs. Utah: 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, 10 rebounds, two blocks and one steal in 37 minutes; Sunday vs. Gonzaga: 16 points on 4-of-12 shooting, five rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 32 minutes.

The good: Home, sweet home. Justise Winslow returned to his hometown of Houston last week, where he delivered two standout performances and helped punch Duke's ticket to Final Four in Indianapolis.

The 6-foot-6 swingman turned 19 just one day before the Blue Devils' 63-57 victory in their Sweet 16 clash against Utah. He celebrated it in style, registering his seventh double-double of the season. Thanks to a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds against the Utes, Winslow became the third Duke freshman to register at least 20 points and 10 rebounds during March Madness and the fifth freshman who grabbed at least 10 rebounds in his first three NCAA tournament contests... Read more

Duke women’s basketball Player of the Week: NCAA tournament Week 2

Elizabeth Williams

Statline: Saturday vs. Maryland: 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting, nine rebounds, two assists and one steal in 39 minutes

Elizabeth Williams impressed in her final game as a Blue Devil.
Jack Dolgin / The Chronicle

The good: After Duke’s Round of 32 win against Mississippi State March 22, senior Elizabeth Williams’ sights were immediately set on winning her first NCAA Regional final game... Read more

NCAA tournament recap: Week 2

After an exciting second week of action, four heavyweights will set their sights on a national title in Indianapolis this weekend. The weekend featured its fair share of great individual and team performances. The Chronicle recaps the action from the weekend, highlighting the biggest moments in each region:

South Region

Despite being home three of the nation’s top seven offenses, the South was ultimately won by defense as no team during the weekend shot even 50 percent from the floor. With teams struggling to shoot from the perimeter in NRG Stadium in Houston, both Gonzaga and Duke were forced to look for other sources of offense to proceed to the Elite Eight. For the Bulldogs, this meant feeding center Przemek Karnowski—who manhandled UCLA in Gonzaga’s 74-62 victory Friday. The Blue Devils followed in the night-cap by looking to attack in transition and used Justise Winslow’s 21-point, 10-rebound effort to defeat Utah 63-57. Center Jahlil Okafor was deemed as the best player in the region before the tourney, but averaged only 7... Read more

Missed open layup turns the tide in Duke basketball's Elite Eight victory

Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer missed a wide-open layup that could have changed the complexion of Duke's Elite Eight win.
Darbi Griffith / The Chronicle

Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer missed a wide-open layup that could have changed the complexion of Duke's Elite Eight win.

HOUSTON—What a difference one shot can make.

Duke's 66-52 victory against second-seeded Gonzaga in the South Regional final looked as though it was headed for a thrilling finish. With 4:48 to play, the Blue Devils clung to a 53-51 lead and the Bulldogs had the ball looking to extend a 5-0 run and tie the game.

Redshirt junior forward Kyle Wiltjer—former SEC Sixth Man of the Year at Kentucky—had been a thorn in Duke's side all night. After scoring 13 first-half points and seeming to disregard what defensive looks the Blue Devils threw at him, Wiltjer was held in check during the second half, scoring just three points. But when Wiltjer took a feed under the rim for a wide open layup to tie the game, there wasn't a single person at NRG Stadium doubting the Gonzaga star would convert.

Except Wiltjer's shot was too strong, and the ball clanged off the rim and out.

"It was a shot he makes. He would make that thing 499 times out of 500. Just a fluke," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said... Read more

President Bush, Dallas Cowboys take in Duke basketball's Elite Eight win

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife were on hand for Duke's win against Gonzaga to get to the Elite Eight.
Darbi Griffith / The Chronicle

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife were on hand for Duke's win against Gonzaga to get to the Elite Eight.

HOUSTON—The Blue Devils may have found their good luck charm deep in the heart of Texas.

The area behind Duke's bench during its 66-52 Elite Eight win against Gonzaga Sunday was stocked deep with Texas royalty. President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara were on hand, as well as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, tight end Jason Witten and head coach Jason Garrett.

This, of course, was not the first time these Texas icons have watched the Blue Devils play. President Bush became the first sitting or former president to take in a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium when Duke knocked off N.C. State 95-60 Jan. 18, 2014. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and the 41st president are close friends thanks to their mutual involvement in the organization C-Change, a non-profit committed to assembling cancer leaders and eliminating the disease... Read more

Strange, but true: Geographic connections between Duke's Final Four runs

The Blue Devils' 2010 title run also went through Houston. | Michael Naclerio, Chronicle File Photo

The Blue Devils' 2010 title run also went through Houston. | Michael Naclerio, Chronicle File Photo

HOUSTON—Duke's triumph in the South Regional final wasn't quite déjà vú, but it definitely had an air of familiarity.

The Blue Devils triumphed against second-seeded Gonzaga 66-52 Sunday, earning a trip to Indianapolis for the Final Four. The last time Duke won a national championship, five years ago, the Blue Devils won the South Regional in Houston before advancing to Indianapolis and topping upset-minded Butler.

Five years later, Duke will look to replicate its 2010 feat by winning the South Region championship in Houston and national title in Indianapolis.Read more

Jahlil Okafor named to AP All-America first team, one vote shy of unanimous selection

Jahlil Okafor was named a first team AP All-America selection Monday.
Emma Loewe / The Chronicle

Jahlil Okafor was named a first team AP All-America selection Monday.

The AP All-America team was announced Monday, and to nobody's surprise, Jahlil Okafor made the cut.

The ACC Player of the Year added to his growing list of awards, becoming the second straight Duke freshman to be included on the first team after Jabari Parker earned one of the five spots last season.

Okafor was joined on the team by Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky, Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein, Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant and Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell. Russell and Okafor are the first pair of freshmen to make the All-America first team since the 2009-10 season, when Kentucky's John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins captured the honors.

Okafor has averaged 17.5 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Blue Devils this season, helping the Blue Devils advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2010. In addition to Monday's honor, the Chicago native has been named ACC Player of the Year, ACC Rookie of the Year, recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Award and a first-team selection on the USBWA All-America first team... Read more

VIDEO: Krzyzewski addresses on-campus crowd after South Regional title Sunday

Duke has been waiting a long time to get back to the Final Four—its fans have too.

After the Blue Devils arrived back in Durham following their South Regional title to earn their first Final Four bid in five years Sunday, they were received by an ecstatic group of fans early Monday morning. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski briefly addressed the crowd, mentioning how proud he was of his team, how tired they were after a long day of travel and how three of his players took tests on the flight from Houston to Durham.

The Chronicle's Jake Herb captured the scene, which includes Krzyzewski's comments and fan reactions as each Blue Devil gets off the bus following their 33rd win of the season.