As the college basketball season looms, it's finally time for the Blue Zone to preview the 2022-23 Duke women's basketball roster. We previously looked at Bo Shaffer, Emma Schmidt, Jiselle Havas, Lee Volker, Imani Lewis, Emma Koabel, Vanessa de Jesus, Mia Heide, Kennedy Brown, Shay Bollin, Jordyn Oliver, Reigan Richardson, Taya Corosdale and Ashlon Jackson. Next up is Elizabeth Balogun:
Last year’s stat line: 8.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 0.9 APG, 25.2 MPG
Game breakdown: Balogun is a talented player with an impactful all-around game. She has great touch around the basket and showcased her finishing capabilities last year through her knack for scoring, finishing 43.3% from the field. Although she averaged 8.3 points per game, she had some explosive offensive performances, including scoring 27 against Notre Dame and 22 against Virginia Tech—the majority of her points coming from her mid-range game, using both the pull up jumper and shooting off the catch. She is also used in transition offense, as she can push the ball down the floor and take strong drives to the hoop. She may not be a high volume 3-point shooter, but Balogun has flashes of variability in her shot taking, as she is certainly capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc. At 6-foot-1, the Lagos, Nigeria, native is a great rebounder on both ends of the floor, grabbing 132 total rebounds last season, 47 of which were offensive. But she also uses this height on the defensive end, as 85 of her rebounds were defensive and she also recorded a remarkable 27 blocks, ranking second on the team. Balogun is a stout defender, and will continue to be one of the best defenders on this Blue Devils squad.
Role on the team: Last season, Balogun started 24 games, the second most on the team. She is a virtual lock to remain a starter, and her immense collegiate experience will keep her a leader. Balogun has bounced around the ACC during her collegiate career, and although she has had some ups and downs in terms of production, she moved in the right direction last year. Her basketball experience goes beyond college, as she played on the Nigerian national team in the 2020 Olympics. This veteran leadership is crucial, and Balogun’s ability to affect the game in many different areas highlights her utility as a player. Her spirited playing form is aligned with Kara Lawson’s philosophy, and she should be one of the top scorers on this team. All signs point to a continuation of last year’s success for Balogun, who will need to perform well for Lawson’s bunch to make a deep run in the ACC this year.
Projected stats: 9.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.1 APG, 24 MPG
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