Film room: Analyzing Duke women's basketball center Camilla Emsbo

Camilla Emsbo was an Ivy League standout during her time at Yale.
Camilla Emsbo was an Ivy League standout during her time at Yale.

After exceeding expectations a season ago, Duke women's basketball is bringing in an elite group of talent from the recruiting trail and the transfer portal. The Blue Zone will analyze film on each of the newcomers for the 2023-24 season. First up is Camilla Emsbo. 

Center Camilla Emsbo joins Duke as a graduate transfer from Yale, and could become one of the most exciting players on the court for the Blue Devils. The former five-star recruit and Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year immediately made a splash in the Ivy League, winning Rookie of the Week seven times while averaging 11 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Her ascent in Ivy League circles culminated in a unanimous first-team All-Ivy League selection her junior year while joining the 1,000-point club. The Lakewood High School product also averaged a double-double that season with 14.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. She terrorized opponents on the defensive end, blocking a total of 58 shots in only 26 games.

Unfortunately, Emsbo, who was elected team captain and considered a favorite for Ivy League Player of the Year, suffered a bad break when she tore her ACL prior to the 2022-2023 season. Now fully recovered, Emsbo will hope to recreate her success on both ends of the floor in the ACC.

At 6-foot-5, Emsbo makes her living in the paint. She has always been an efficient shooter, with a career average of 52.5% from the floor. She is able to use her frame to create shots with her back to the basket. Watch here as she comes off a screen to receive the ball, backs into the defender and shimmies before fading into a baby hook for the two.

However, Emsbo is also a comfortable shooter outside the paint, and will make you pay if given too much space. Left alone due to a Penn miscommunication, she knocks down the 20-footer with ease. 

She also works very well in transition and runs the floor well for a big. Watch as she creates separation in transition and converts the running layup while drawing the foul for her 1000th career point. 

On defense, Emsbo uses her length to her advantage as an elite shot swatter. In her last two seasons at Yale, she averaged at least two blocks per game. Her presence in the paint can change games, as seen here from a contest her sophomore year against UMass Lowell. Emsbo blocked four shots in the third quarter alone, propelling the Bulldogs to an eight-point victory.

Overall, Emsbo arrives at Duke as a talented player hoping to use her graduate season as a chance to reestablish herself as a premier Division I talent. She provides an excellent option for Blue Devils head coach Kara Lawson to create on both ends of the floor, and notwithstanding some rust from the extended recovery, could be an immediate X-Factor for the program. 


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