Vanessa de Jesus has been a staple for the Blue Devils for three years, but her fourth will be spent in recovery and rehabilitation.
On Monday afternoon, the program announced that the senior guard will miss the entirety of the 2023-24 season with a knee injury, depriving head coach Kara Lawson of a key playmaking option and veteran presence among a fairly young and slim roster.
The Valencia, Calif., native has developed notoriety for her playmaking ability and eye for a pass, a skill set that has become increasingly useful as Lawson has shifted to a defense-first system that relies on quality looks rather than an air-raid of shots to score. Across her three previous years at Duke, de Jesus has appeared in 66 games with 18 starts, averaging 5.1 points and two assists per game.
On the international level, de Jesus recently announced her switch to play for the Philippines, representing her home country at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup earlier this summer.
De Jesus is one of just five returners for the Blue Devils alongside sophomores Ashlon Jackson and Emma Koabel, junior Reigan Richardson and senior Kennedy Brown. Her absence will be softened by the incoming freshman quartet of Jadyn Donovan — fresh off a gold-medal win with Team USA's U-19 squad — Delaney Thomas, Jordan Wood and fellow point guard Oluchi Okananwa, but as the lone player on Lawson's roster who has been with the program for more than a year, the loss of her experience will be felt widely.
The program declined The Chronicle's request to comment further.
This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.
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Andrew Long is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.