The Blue Devils are not a part of the postseason this year, but that did not preclude them from picking up postseason honors.
Sophomore Azurá Stevens earned honorable mention AP All-American recognition Tuesday when the outlet released its annual postseason awards. The Raleigh native posted a team-leading 18.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per game and likely would have earned a spot on one of the AP’s three All-America teams if not for a tear of the plantar fascia in her left foot that sidelined the Blue Devils’ most potent paint presence for the last seven games of the regular season.
The 6-foot-6 forward’s importance was underscored during her absence, as Duke went just 3-4 without Stevens in the lineup. The sophomore did damage from all over the floor—hitting 35.8 percent of her 3-pointers in addition to swatting 2.1 shots per game—but the Blue Devils struggled to score without their key cog down low, even though junior Oderah Chidom stepped up in the post with multiple 20-point games.
Stevens returned to the floor for Duke’s ACC tournament and notched double-doubles in both contests, but her 19 points and 10 rebounds were not enough to help the Blue Devils knock off top-seeded Notre Dame in the quarterfinals. Stevens’ two double-doubles in Greensboro brought her total for the year to 14, which led the ACC. Despite playing in just nine of the 16 league games, Stevens was named a first-team All-ACC choice and also landed on the conference’s All-Defensive team.
The ACC had just one representative on the first, second or third AP All-American teams, as Fighting Irish sophomore Brianna Turner was tabbed to the second team. Teammate Madison Cable and Louisville’s Myisha Hines-Allen—the ACC Player of the Year—joined Stevens in receiving honorable mention accolades.
Duke opted not to participate in the WNIT after missing out on the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994. The extra rest should give Stevens and several other injured Blue Devils a chance to heal fully before preparations for next year’s season get underway.
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