Two of our women's basketball beats Christian Olsen and Ramona Naseri engage in a point/counterpoint debating who will be Duke's X-factor following the departures of Haley Gorecki and Leaonna Odom. Here is Ramona's argument for why Goodchild's skill set makes her the most integral part of the Blue Devils' roster—to read Christian's argument, click here.
With the departure of Leaonna Odom and Haley Gorecki, Duke will look heavily toward Miela Goodchild as a key player this season.
Last season, Goodchild was the Blue Devils’ leading scorer outside of Odom and Gorecki, tallying 7.3 points per game. And while it’ll be tough replacing the production of Duke’s duo of stars from last year, there’s no reason to believe Goodchild isn’t the one to lead the charge. The junior guard is a strong shooter from the perimeter with a high basketball IQ, and has already proven in her two seasons at Duke so far that she is up to the challenge.
In her first year in Durham, Goodchild broke Duke’s freshman record with 73 made 3-pointers, a number that placed her eighth on the ACC freshman record list as well. She ended last season second on the team in 3-pointers behind Gorecki, and is likely to be among the Blue Devils’ leaders in that category this year as well. Her ability to be a knockdown shooter from the perimeter could be the most important part of Duke’s offense in this upcoming 2020-21 campaign. Not only that, but as the Australia native enters her third year with the program, she will also fill the role of leader on the court, with all eyes focusing on Goodchild to guide this team as Gorecki and Odom once did.
The main reason why Goodchild is Duke’s X-factor this season, however, is because a lack in any of her abilities can make or break the entire squad. Goodchild isn’t just a shooter—she’s also a menace on the defensive end, and if she regresses throughout the season or even within an individual game, then the Blue Devils lose arguably their best defender on the court.
Goodchild doesn’t have much room for errors offensively, either. As the team’s primary spot shooter, if her offense collapses then so do a lot of opportunities for Duke to get points on the board. The Blue Devils will be relying on her for not only individual production on the scoreboard, but the whole rhythm of the offense as well. And that’s what being an X-factor is truly all about.
Editor's note: This article is one of many in The Chronicle's women's basketball season preview. Find the rest here.
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