Blue Devils Tabbed No. 8 in Preseason Associated Press Poll

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DURHAM, N.C. -  The preseason Associated Press poll was released on Saturday with the Duke women’s basketball team listed No. 8 by a vote of the media members.  The Blue Devils have now been listed in the preseason Associated Press top 10 for 11 straight years.

The top 25 poll features nine teams on Duke’s 2011-12 slate -- Notre Dame (2), Connecticut (4), Miami (7), Maryland (11), Florida State (14), Purdue (17), Kentucky (18), North Carolina (20) and Southern California (23).

Taking the top slot in the poll is Baylor with 33 first place votes, while Notre Dame received six first place votes and is second.  Tennessee, Connecticut, Stanford, Texas A&M, Miami, Duke, Louisville and Georgetown rounded out the top 10.  A total of five Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) teams were in the preseason ledger -- Miami (7), Duke (8), Maryland (11), Florida State (14) and North Carolina (20).

After graduating three starters last season, the Blue Devils will be returning sophomores Haley Peters and Gray to the starting lineup for the 2011-12 campaign. Although only two starters will be coming back for next season, Duke’s roster is full of experience. The six returning letterwinners each started in at least two contests in the 2010-11 season - Allison Vernerey, Kathleen Scheer, Shay Selby, Richa Jackson, Tricia Liston and Chloe Wells.

Three very talented incoming freshmen round out the Blue Devil roster- Elizabeth Williams, Amber Henson and Ka’lia Johnson.  Williams, who is out of Virginia Beach, Va., was the 2011 Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year, the MVP of the McDonald’s All-America game and led the USA Basketball U-19 Women’s World Championship team to a gold medal this summer.  A product of Tampa, Fla., Henson played in the McDonald’s and WBCA All-America games.  Johnson, who is from Chester, Va., was the 2011 Times-Dispatch All-Metro Player of the Year.

Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie, who enters her fifth year with the Blue Devils, is coming off leading Duke to its second straight ACC Championship and 30 wins for the ninth time out of the last 11 years, with its 32-4 mark in the 2010-11 season.

All home games are played in the historic Cameron Indoor Stadium. For ticket information, contact the Duke Ticket Office at (919) 681-2583 or 1-877-375-3853.  You can also purchase tickets online at www.GoDuke.com.

Duke will feature two exhibition games next week as the Blue Devils will host Pfeiffer on Nov. 3 at 7:00 p.m., and Lander on Nov. 6 at 2:00 p.m.  On Friday, Nov. 11, Duke will open the regular season at BYU.