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Duke women's basketball 2019-20 player preview: Azana Baines

<p>Azana Baines's ability to hit from deep could land her big minutes during her freshman season.</p>

Azana Baines's ability to hit from deep could land her big minutes during her freshman season.

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-foot-1

Position: Guard

Last year's statline: N/A

Game breakdown: Shooting. That's the name of the game for Baines, who averaged 20 points per game on a ridiculous 50 percent from deep during her senior season in high school. The four-star recruit can shoot from anywhere, both off the dribble and on spot-up attempts.

Baines' passing isn’t quite at the same level as her shooting skills, but as her 3.7 assists per contest last year show—it’s still quite good. While the quality of her passes may need improvement, much like Stephen Curry, her threat to shoot opens up space, allowing her to find open teammates.

If there is an area the New Jersey native needs to improve on, it's on the other side of the court. Baines' high motor led to an impressive 1.4 steals per game last year, but she isn't known for shutting down opposing players.

Role on the team: Baines, like her fellow freshmen Jada Claude and Jaida Patrick, will start the season on the bench, but still in the eight-man rotation. She figures to compete with Patrick for backup guard minutes in the first couple of months, but Coach Joanne P. McCallie’s emphasis on defense may hinder Baines’ minutes going forward. However, her superior shooting ability should force McCallie to keep her on the floor during her first campaign in Durham.

As she did in the Blue and White scrimmage, Baines is likely to alternate between point guard duties and hanging off the ball behind the arc. Her ability to create offense will allow her to succeed in both roles, but her development as a defender will be what decides her impact this season. For a team that lacks a true floor general, that development is crucial to supporting the second unit.

The freshman's minutes will likely to take a hit when guards Mikayla Boykin and Kyra Lambert return from their injuries, but if Baines impresses in the early part of the season, she’ll still be playing significant minutes down the stretch in 2020.

Projected stats: 5.5 PPG, 1.6 APG, 15.4 MPG


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