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Duke women's basketball 2021-22 player preview: Imani Lewis

Lewis brings an efficient scoring presence to Duke's frontcourt.
Lewis brings an efficient scoring presence to Duke's frontcourt.

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 and Shayeann Day-Wilson. 

Imani Lewis

Year: Senior

Height: 6-foot-1

Position: Forward

2020-21 statline: 15.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 30.9 MPG

Game breakdown: Lewis’s game is clear: she is a pure power forward. While she plays within the 3-point line, her 2-point plays are phenomenal; per HerHoopStats, she averaged 5.6 2-pointers made per game, enough to put her in the 97th percentile nationwide. Additionally, she draws free throws like few others, attempting 5.4 on average per game over the past three years. Playing so often in the midrange has allowed her consistency within it; if she is given the ball and a chance to shoot, she will be able to do something with it.

Defensively, she’s more of a mixed bag. Admittedly her past team, Wisconsin, struggled with defense as a whole while she was there, and she’s not particularly active off-ball nor has she historically been a help defender. However, she notably excels in one thing: defensive rebounds. In the 2020-21 season, Lewis averaged 6.5 defensive rebounds per game, putting her in the 98th percentile, with her total 8.8 per game leading her previous and placing her in the 97th percentile as well. Her quick decisions and confidence give her defensive versatility, something head coach Kara Lawson has explicitly said she wants. 

Role on the team: While Lewis is a natural power forward, her abilities are diverse: she can play center as well, giving the Blue Devils the flexibility for a spread system. She is likely to start at the four, playing most of her minutes alongside senior center Jade Williams. However, the Blue Devils will have options in the frontcourt given her versatility. She will contribute to a very different starting lineup from last year, and it remains to be seen how these new but talented Blue Devils will fare in a deep conference; they are certainly an exciting team with a lot of potential but also a lot to prove. 

Projected stats: 10.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 24.0 MPG 

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