The Blue Devils face Western Kentucky Thursday in their first game of the "Caribbean Challenge" in Cancun, Mexico. The Lady Toppers have started off their season with a perfect 3-0 record, and have outscored their opponents by an average of 10.3 points. In addition, they boast an outstanding performance from their junior guard Amy McNear, who has averaged 18.3 points per game.
Duke, on the other hand, has started of the season 3-1. It has played excellent defense and held three of its opponents to less than 45 points. However, the Blue Devils need to begin to perform better offensively. The team’s leading scorer, Jasmine Thomas, has been averaging 13.5 points and 2.75 steals per game. However, don’t let these statistics fool you - she’s only hit 32.3 percent of her shots. While this statistic may not differ significantly from her career average of 35.6 percent, Duke’s opponents later in the season will much more skilled defensively.
In addition, the rest of the team’s offense has been unimpressive. The squad has only hit 14-of-70 three-point shots. Sophomore Kathleen Scheer, whom head coach Joanne P. McCallie described as being, “a terrific shooter" and "a great complement to everybody on the team,” has had a rather unimposing season to date, only connecting on 15.8 percent of her field goals, including a pathetic 1-of-14 performance from the three-point line.
Duke will face three of the top four ranked teams this season, including a game against No. 3 Ohio State next week, but cannot afford to look past WKU. After the Blue Devils' loss to Texas A&M a few weeks ago, the Lady Toppers will be the Duke' toughest competition to date. McCallie will have to make sure her squad generates more assists and takes better shots in order for Duke to come back to Durham with a win against Western Kentucky, and hopefully another one against Marquette on Friday.
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