Angela Salvadores remained somewhat of a mystery to Duke fans until Sunday afternoon, when she made her debut in a Blue Devil uniform.

The freshman came off the bench and played 16 minutes in Duke’s 116-33 exhibition victory against Saint Leo. She did not have an eye-popping statistical performance—scoring nine points with five assists—but she made a major impact on defense and showed flashes of the playmaking abilities that could make her an electric point guard this season.

“She’s a terrific passer, but she’s also a fabulous scorer,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “That wasn’t quite as evident, but she can score and she can pass and she’s a complete basketball player.”

As the No. 5 recruit in the nation, the Leon, Spain, native headlines the Blue Devils’ top-ranked recruiting class, and she represented her country in the FIBA U19 World Championship and the FIBA U18 European Championship last summer. McCallie held her out of the team’s Blue-White scrimmage and the first exhibition game against Pfeiffer because of her heavy physical workload during the summer and has been easing her into practice to give her time to rest. But with the regular season looming, it was time for her first game action in Duke’s final exhibition.

“She has played a lot of basketball, first of all, and just transitioning to the [United States], I think she has been incredible,” McCallie said. “She has to deal with [a different] language—certainly her classes, her schedule, just everything that is so routine here. Tonight I thought she was a little bit like herself.”

Salvadores entered the game with 3:23 remaining in the first quarter and immediately brought a high level of energy to the court. A bit overanxious to be on the floor after her long rest, she aggressively tried to intercept a pass in the full-court press on her first defensive possession and was called for a foul. On the next possession, she almost got a steal on a crossover dribble by Lions’ point guard Jone’ Atkins, but could not control the loose ball. Salvadores continued to jump passing lanes and frustrate the Lions’ backcourt on defense for the rest of the game, finishing with three steals that all turned into successful fast break opportunities.

In the second quarter, fans also received a glimpse of the flashiness and risky decisions that trademark Salvadores’ style of play on offense. She received a pass from redshirt sophomore Rebecca Greenwell in transition and quickly tried to flip the ball behind her back to classmate Haley Gorecki, but Lion defender Asia Royster got a hand on the pass and came away with the steal. Still, Salvadores was not afraid to demonstrate her creativity as an offensive threat.

“She kind of reminds me of [former Duke point guard] Chelsea Gray—she would throw it behind the back or no-look passes,” junior forward Kendall Cooper said. “If you weren’t ready, you would get your finger hurt or your face [hit], so you have to be ready.”

Salvadores misfired on all four of her shots from the field in the first half—including two contested layups and an open 3-point attempt from the wing—but was more settled when she entered the game in the third quarter.

Her most impressive offensive play of the contest came in this period, when she took a steal coast-to-coast and finished a layup in traffic that bounced high off the glass and spun into the hoop. She also took a pass from Azurá Stevens in the fourth quarter and made a layup through a hard bump from Royster, although she missed the ensuing free throw and failed to complete the 3-point play.

On the offensive end, the freshman alternated point guard duties with classmate Kyra Lambert. The top-10 recruits did not play together a lot, though they did share the floor for a couple minutes in the second quarter as both helped bring the ball up the court. Salvadores’ main backcourt mates were Gorecki and Greenwell, although McCallie said that any group of guards could play together at any time this season.

“When I put them out there, I feel like there is a chemistry amidst them all. I tried today on purpose some combinations to look and see, and I didn’t feel a very big difference between ball movement, chemistry and finding each other,” McCallie said. “I wouldn’t hesitate to put any of our guards together in any combination, and that’s the beauty of this team.”