With the college basketball season just around the corner, the time has officially come to take a deeper look at the 2021-22 Duke women's basketball roster. The Blue Zone has you covered with player previews for each member of the team. Be sure to check out the previous previews: Jiselle Havas, Emma Schmidt, Lee Volker, Amaya Finklea-Guity, Onome Akinbode-James, Nyah Green, Miela Goodchild, Shayeann Day-Wilson, Imani Lewis and Lexi Gordon.
2020-21 statline: 12.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.1 SPG, 32.0 MPG (Texas)
Game breakdown: Celeste Taylor comes to Duke after spending two years at Texas. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the Valley Stream, N.Y., native transferred to be closer to her family. Hopefully, she will also find family at Cameron Indoor Stadium among fans that should eagerly await her first steps on Coach K Court, as Taylor figures to be a critical and exciting part of this year’s lineup. Bringing an abundance of energy and seeming to be everywhere at once, Taylor can impact every aspect of the game at any moment.
Taylor's presence and quickness jump out right away, and they make her a true force on both ends of the court. The Longhorns’ second-highest scorer last season, Taylor is not necessarily efficient—her field goal percentage was a middling 35.3%—but she creates so many chances for herself that it almost doesn’t matter. Her 13.8 field goal attempts per game put her in the 96th percentile nationally, per HerHoopStats, and that is mostly the result of her being able to simply outwork defenders, giving some weight to the idea that quantity can trump quality. Her workhorse mentality is especially evident in what seems to be her signature offensive play: penetrating perimeter defenses for quick midrange shots. She can outrun and out-handle any defender, which will make her a dangerous offensive threat for the Blue Devils.
However, the former McDonald’s All-American and All-Big 12 Freshman Team member is far from a one-trick pony, as she adds real value to the Blue Devils. She can keep up with and read offenses, and her quick reflexes make her a solid rebounder and an even better pickpocket. Taylor averaged 3.1 defensive rebounds per game last season, and her 2.1 steals per game put her in the 97th percentile nationally as well as second among all players in the Big 12. With so much versatility in every area of the court, Taylor is sure to make an impact for Duke in a big way this season.
Role on the team: Taylor will likely start at guard alongside freshman Vanessa de Jesus at point guard. With those two in the backcourt, as well as junior Miela Goodchild figuring into the rotation, the Blue Devils should have a quick, skilled and potent offense. While Duke has considerable depth at the guard position—which could diminish Taylor’s minutes slightly from last season to make room for others on the roster—Taylor’s defensive capabilities should give her an edge, leading her to shoulder significant responsibility on her new team. Expect to see a lot of Taylor this year and to be glad that’s the case.
Projected statline: 13.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2 APG, 25 MPG
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Sasha Richie is a Trinity senior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.