Duke Tabbed No. 2 in ACC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll

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Photo courtesy of Duke University

DURHAM, N.C. – The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) released the preseason ACC women’s basketball poll on Tuesday with Duke selected No. 2 by a vote of the Blue Ribbon Panel, which consists of national and local media, as well as school representatives.

Duke received 10 first place votes, while Miami earned 30 first place votes on its way to being picked No. 1.  Following Duke to round out the top five of the preseason selections was Maryland, Florida State and Georgia Tech. North Carolina was picked to finish sixth, followed by N.C. State, Virginia, Boston College, Wake Forest, Clemson and Virginia Tech.

The Blue Devils have now been selected in the top three of the ACC Preseason poll for the 11th straight 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.

Duke returns two starters – Haley Peters and Chelsea Gray – to go along with six letterwinners 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.

The panel also selected a preseason All-ACC squad which included Cierra Bravard (Florida State), Shenise Johnson (Miami), Lynetta Kizer (Maryland), Alyssa Thomas (Maryland) and Riquna Williams (Miami). Johnson was also selected the preseason ACC Player of the Year selection.

The ACC Newcomer Watch list highlights freshmen, true and redshirt and transfers that are expected to make an immediate impact in the league. This year’s watch list includes two Duke newcomers – Williams and Henson.  Other members of the team selected Georgia Tech freshman Sydney Williams, North Carolina freshman Brittany Roundtree and Clemson freshman Natiece Ford.

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 U19 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. Both were named Parade Magazine All-America selections and Gatorade State Players of the Year as a senior.

In two preseason polls for 2011-12, the Blue Devils were selected eighth in the Athlon Sports Magazine and No. 6 in the Sporting News College Basketball Preview issue.

The Blue Devils will feature their annual Blue/White game on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1:00 p.m., in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Duke will then welcome Pfeiffer College on Nov. 3 in an exhibition contest at 7:00 p.m., and take on Lander on Nov. 6 at 2:00 p.m.

The Blue Devils will open the 2011-12 season on Nov. 11 at BYU.  The game will tip at 9:00 p.m. (ET) and will be aired on BYUtv.

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

Predicted Order of Finish

1. Miami (30)
2. Duke (10)
3. Maryland
4. Florida State
5. Georgia Tech
6. North Carolina
7. NC State
8. Virginia
9. Boston College
10. Wake Forest
11. Clemson
12. Virginia Tech

Preseason All-ACC Team
Cierra Bravard, Sr., F, Florida
Shenise Johnson, Sr., G, Miami
Lynetta Kizer, Sr., C, Maryland
Alyssa Thomas, So., F, Maryland
Riquna Williams, Sr., G, Miami    


Newcomer Watch List
Natiece Ford, Fr., G/F, Clemson
Amber Henson, Fr., F, Duke
Brittany Rountree, Fr., G, North Carolina
Elizabeth Williams, Fr., C, Duke
Sydney Wallace, Fr., G, Georgia Tech

Preseason Player of the Year:
Shenise Johnson, Sr., G, Miami