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Take of the week: Duke women's basketball's Haley Gorecki desperately needs a consistent sidekick

<p>Gorecki leads the Blue Devils in points, rebounds and assists this season.</p>

Gorecki leads the Blue Devils in points, rebounds and assists this season.

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was sentenced to an eternity of rolling a boulder up a hill just to watch it roll back down again. I’d imagine Haley Gorecki feels much of the same in the midst of a season like this.

Hopes were high for the Duke women’s basketball team heading into the year. Gorecki chose to return for her final season, Kyra Lambert and Mikayla Boykin were expected to return from knee injuries early on and Leaonna Odom and Miela Goodchild seemed poised for solid campaigns. All the missing jigsaw pieces from the past few years were finally supposed to fit together in perfect harmony to get the Blue Devils back in the NCAA tournament. 

While the Blue Devils have shown promise at some points, they have overall underachieved, posting a 10-9 record to this point and dropping several games as solid favorites.

There is no denying that Gorecki is a superstar. She leads her team in nearly every major statistical category and has proven why she was a preseason Naismith Award Watchlist selection. However, even Batman needs a Robin, and Gorecki desperately needs someone to step up and carry this team with her if this squad has any hope of postseason play. 

To put it simply, Duke will not make the tournament if Odom and Goodchild do not play to their potential. 

Some thought this would be the year that Odom would finally take the ACC by storm with her killer jumper and tremendous athleticism. A combination of an achilles injury and inconsistent play has made her a moot point in the majority of the Blue Devils' contests this year. 

Others expected the Australian sharpshooter, Miela Goodchild, to be lights out from beyond the arc and give Gorecki a much-needed option on the outside to dish the ball to. Much to the chagrin of Duke fans, the sophomore has struggled mightily from the field, shooting 35.4 percent on the season and looking like a shell of the offensive player she was a year ago. 

Gorecki cannot be relied upon to do essentially everything on the offensive side of the ball on a nightly basis.

Of their 11 remaining games, the Blue Devils face three ranked opponents and have six games on the road, all the more reason that the Illinois native will need a strong second option to complement her.

It is already obvious that Gorecki cannot win on her own. She posted 27 points, four rebounds and five assists against a weak Virginia team, and Duke still came up short. Goodchild disappeared, only scoring six points, and Odom accounted for four turnovers and no assists in the contest. 

It is just too easy for opponents to destroy Duke’s offense. Clemson did it last week in a win over the Blue Devils, doubling Gorecki and forcing her to pass the ball. The only saving grace in that contest was that Odom finally flashed her elite skillset, allowing the Blue Devils to almost come away with the victory.

Goochild appeared to have regained her shooting stroke to some degree, yet only shot 29 percent from the field against the Tigers.

The point is, Goodchild and Odom both have far too much talent to be playing this way as of late. It is inexcusable considering the glimpses of stardom each have shown.

Someone, whether it being head coach Joanne P. McCallie or a fellow player, is going to have to kickstart the engines of Odom and Goodchild to make an NCAA tournament push in the latter half of this season.

Jake C. Piazza

Jake Piazza is a Trinity senior and was sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.


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