As 2019 comes to a close, The Chronicle's sports department takes a look back at the biggest stories of the year in Duke athletics. Each day, we will review a major game, event or storyline that helped shape the course of the year for the Blue Devils.
Coming in at No. 8: Duke women’s basketball star Haley Gorecki becomes a premier player on the national level and etches her name in the Blue Devil record books.
It’s rare that an athlete makes their sport seem easy, but that was exactly the case for Haley Gorecki in 2019.
From start to finish, Gorecki showcased her skills and carried a significant portion of the playmaking load for a young team dealing with untimely injuries.
Gorecki’s improvement since the day she stepped on campus has been evident, and, in 2019, it all culminated into the Duke captain becoming one of the premier combo guards in America. For a team that needed a veteran to step up and become a go-to scorer, Gorecki excelled virtually every time she took the floor in 2019, with the Illinois native finally healthy after a series of injuries plagued her first three seasons in a Blue Devil uniform.
Despite a 6-10 conference record last season for Duke, Gorecki proved to be reliable, dynamic, and impactful in all aspects of the game. She finished the season averaging 17.2 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game and 3.9 assists per game.
Gorecki’s performance last season cannot be understated, as she set numerous ACC, Duke, and personal records. Further showing how versatile a player she has become, Gorecki became the seventh player in ACC history and the first in Duke history to lead her team in scoring, rebounding, and assists over a full season.
Coming into the 2019-2020 season, expectations were high for Gorecki in her final year as a Blue Devil. She has actually exceeded her gaudy expectations in her first 11 games of 2019-20, dropping 18.7 points per game and 4.5 assists per game.
From a pure basketball perspective, one can talk for hours on end regarding Gorecki’s special skillset. However, her presence off the court is equally impressive. She has acknowledged her role as a leader, and even embraces the task of steering younger teammates in the right direction. Gorecki clearly has a passion for the game of basketball and she seems to express joy that she is able to play the game at such a high level.
2020 will mark another milestone year for Gorecki, as she will wrap up her storied career at Duke and likely head to the WNBA.
READ MORE on Gorecki's dominant 2019:
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A look at the rest of our top 10 countdown: