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Breaking down every player on Duke women's basketball's 2021-22 roster

Head coach Kara Lawson has a number of lineup combinations she can decide between in her first full season as head coach.
Head coach Kara Lawson has a number of lineup combinations she can decide between in her first full season as head coach.

Just five of the 15 players on this year's roster have worn a Duke jersey during a game before.

Head coach Kara Lawson recruited a flurry of transfers in the offseason, so there's a great deal of unknown when trying to figure out what lineups she will roll out. Nonetheless, we have a breakdown of every Blue Devil to fill you in prior to the season. 

Graduate student Jade Williams comes in with the most experience, and she is once again expected to be a staple at center for the Blue Devils. The frontcourt is crowded this year, and Lawson could turn to fourth year Blue Devil Onome Akinbode-James, Wisconsin transfer Imani Lewis or 6-foot-4 Syracuse transfer Amaya Finklea-Guity to accompany Williams down low. 

And that's not even all of the Blue Devils who are expected to get minutes in the frontcourt. Senior Elizabeth Balogun is coming off of playing with Nigeria's national team in the 2020 Olympics and has the offensive and defensive skills to be a mainstay on the floor. Graduate student Lexi Gordon also projects for significant minutes, especially with her refined skillset and ability to shoot from everywhere on the floor. 

The backcourt looks to be a little bit more solidified, at least for the beginning of the season. Sophomore Vanessa de Jesus impressed in Duke's four games last season and will likely run point for the Blue Devils, while freshman Shayeann Day-Wilson comes in as an ESPN top-50 recruit with a knack for scoring. Celeste Taylor will likely join de Jesus as the other starting guard, and she showed during her time at Texas that she has no problem creating shots for herself. Senior Miela Goodchild's sharpshooting and perimeter defense will make her a big contributor to this team and Louisville transfer Nyah Green is a former five-star prospect with tremendous potential.

Emma Schmidt, Lee Volker and Jiselle Havas will not likely see the floor much this season, but each will have a role to play during the first full season of Lawson's tenure. The last listed player on Duke's roster is Jordyn Oliver, but unfortunately she tore her achilles in a preseason practice and is out for the year.

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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