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Duke women's basketball 2019-20 player preview: Onome Akinbode-James

Akinbode-James posted a career-high 14 points and 14 rebounds during a road win over Wisconsin last November
Akinbode-James posted a career-high 14 points and 14 rebounds during a road win over Wisconsin last November

Onome Akinbode-James

Year: Sophomore

Height: 6-foot-3

Position: Forward/Center

Last year's stat line: 4.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG

Game Breakdown: Coming off a freshman campaign in which she averaged 4.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, Onome Akinbode-James will look to take the next step in her development. The 6-foot-3 forward’s season was highlighted by a 14-point, 14-rebound performance on the road against Wisconsin, but struggled at times on the defensive end in terms of fouling in the early season.

With a year at Duke and only her fifth year playing basketball under her belt, Akinbode-James will look to expand her game outward. Playing alongside junior forward Jade Williams, Akinbode-James will mix up playing on the post with the wing. As a freshman, she showed an ability to knock down a midrange shot and will likely attempt more when given space to do so. By expanding her game, Akinbode-James will be able to drive past defenders who play her tight near the free throw line for easy buckets.

Positioning for Akinbode-James will also be a key for the sophomore forward. In her second year, she will look to improve on her 2.1 offensive boards per game, using her athletic frame to put the ball back in the basket off a miss.

Role on the Team: When the Blue Devils tip off Nov. 5 against High Point, Akinbode-James will likely start at the power forward position. When senior Leaonna Odom runs the fast break as the team’s point guard, she will look toward Akinbode-James or Williams underneath the basket for a quick layup before the defense can set up. Akinbode-James played with high intensity last season and ran the lanes efficiently on fast breaks, an attribute she will continue to utilize this season.

In the half-court offense, Akinbode-James will post up and look to score from inside the paint or take an uncontested 15-foot jumper. Without a lot of forward depth on the roster, the sophomore will earn significant playing time. By virtue of playing with Williams, who stands at 6-foot-5, and an athletic Odom, a 6-foot-2 point forward, Akinbode-James will likely have a height advantage over many of the defenders guarding her. That frame will also lead to an uptick in blocks, an area where she excelled in late last season, headlined by a career-high six rejections Feb. 28 against Clemson.

Projected stats: 8.4 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.9 BPG

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