Outside of strong performances by Leaonna Odom and Haley Gorecki, senior Faith Suggs and the freshman duo of Miela Goodchild and Rayah Craig providing an encouraging glimpse at the potential of the Blue Devils' backcourt supporting cast Sunday.
Suggs notched a career-high performance with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting in Duke's victory against Elon at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and she combined with Goodchild and Craig to score 30 points, easily the most of the Blue Devils' three games so far this season for that trio. Suggs also added three steals to limit the Phoenix defensively.
“Faith was a great hustle player role to the nth degree there, being very efficient on offense and in her shooting, leading defensively in understanding where to be and getting some great steals,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
Rayah Craig gave Duke a much-needed burst of energy in the first half. In addition to 3-for-3 shooting and eight points in the first two periods, Craig helped the Blue Devils capitalize on key defensive stops and pushed the pace in transition.
“She is instant energy. She is a competitor. I really like how Rayah competes," McCallie said. "She has an attitude about things. She is not sensitive. She’s not afraid to attack and that’s a positive thing for sure."
Fellow freshman Goodchild also played a key role in Duke’s win. Despite limited minutes after picking up three fouls in the first half, the Australian also went 3-for-3 before the break, putting up six points for the Blue Devils. Goodchild added another four in the second half to finish in double figures for the second straight game.
After helping lead the Australian team to a bronze medal at the FIBA U18 Asia event in India two weeks ago, Goodchild is still working to integrate herself into this young Duke squad and has room to grow.
“[Miela] missed her team. I know she talked to me about that. I think it’s been a tough situation to balance that. I think her timing is still off, as evidenced by her fouls,” McCallie said. “Miela’s got to learn how a guard gets defensive rebounds."
Despite McCallie's concerns about “young players trying to reach and not playing position defense,” the Blue Devils' young talent will be critical as they move forward this season. Heading into three games in the Gulf Coast Classic next weekend, Duke has an opportunity to work out the bumps and weave key supporting pieces into its gameplan.
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