Although Countdown to Craziness introduced fans to the men’s team Friday night, it was redshirt senior Rebecca Greenwell who kicked off the women’s basketball season beforehand. Greenwell whimsically reminded fans that Duke's women’s team also enters the season with high expectations.

The Blue Devils will hold their own rendition of the Blue-White scrimmage Sunday afternoon at 2 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The fans can expect to see a great deal of senior leadership as well as four freshmen who will see their first experience in front of the Cameron Crazies. Returning the highest scoring backcourt in the ACC from a season ago in Greenwell and redshirt senior Lexie Brown, the Blue Devils have seen their preseason ranking land as high as No. 8 in the nation.

This summer, Duke took a memorable trip to Italy and was allowed to hold a few more practices. This experience, coupled with the friendships that were ultimately made and strengthened, puts the team in prime position for success this season.

“We’re just in a really wonderful position. I think it’s a huge benefit if we continue to use the lessons from Italy. We can’t forget Italy,” Blue Devil head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “We have to remember the camaraderie, the connection, the attachment. We can’t let distractions get in our way, so I think that we have to be smart to use that experience and keep it special for us.”

Duke added a major piece to the roster in fifth-year senior and graduate transfer Bego Faz Davalos from Fresno State this spring. Joining teammates Brown and Greenwell in the MMS Program at the Fuqua School of Business, Davalos has done more than merely show up to class and practice day after day.

“Bego has emerged as a leader. She doesn’t have the years behind her as Lexie and Becca, but I’ll tell you what, she has the actions,” McCallie said. “She’s motivating. She plays so hard, has got a great spirit and that kind of rolls off on everyone.”

McCallie believes that Brown and Greenwell will be crucial in the performance of the ACC's preseason No. 3 team, according the Blue Ribbon Panel and a vote of the ACC head coaches. Both players were named to the 10-member Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason All-ACC Team.

“Obviously, they are very talented, but their work ethic—they’re in the gym extra,” McCallie said. “They have really high standards for how they play. And then of course, they are at their best when they empower their teammates to follow as well.”

With ESPN's No. 11 recruiting class ready to start its Blue Devil journey Sunday, this scrimmage provides ample opportunities to adjust to the game atmosphere. For McCallie, the freshmen have a few loose ends of their respective games that she wants to tie up before the season begins Nov. 12.

“Just to play hard. Be immediate. Be aggressive and some smart basketball,” McCallie said. “Try to make some pretty good decisions. Communicate well with your teammates and work on playing together.”

The freshman class is headlined by forward Jade Williams and guard Mikayla Boykin, who join forward Madison Treece and guard Jayda Adams to round out the first-year players. The other newcomers to the team include Davalos and redshirt junior Sofia Roma—who sat out last season after transferring from Wagner. For the Blue Devils as a team, it will be the first time playing a game since their loss in the final game of their Italy trip.

The team will be split into two lineups initially. However, as the teams eventually become fluid, McCallie—entering her 11th year at Duke—and her staff will tinker with different lineups to gauge where the team stands. With four 10-minute quarters to play, there will be sufficient time to mix and match different player combinations and run set plays in a game situation with game day preparation.

“I’d like to see some pretty good execution,” McCallie said. “I know that it will be kind of ugly at times, but I’ll be looking for it.”

After the scrimmage, it will be exactly two weeks before Duke is back in action, as it takes on Alaska Anchorage in its final preseason exhibition. Then, the season begins on the road as McCallie’s team travels to Phoenix to open the 2017-18 slate against Grand Canyon.

“I love this campus and I love the Crazies. We all do,” McCallie said. “It’s really important that we become a place where we can intimidate, whether it’s a men’s game or a women’s game, and we have the Crazies to do it and we have the team to do it. So hopefully we can really work on that this year.”