The departure of Maddie Jenner is huge; her stat line from last year, which included 187 draw control wins and a draw control-related EGA in the 99th percentile, leave big shoes to fill. The spotlight now turns to incoming transfer Margaret Anne Warner, whose performance at Davidson placed her in the 83rd percentile for draw control-related production. Warner’s addition could be the salve for the Blue Devils’ draw control woes, but it’s clear that the unit, which ranked in the 95th percentile nationally last season, is in a rebuilding phase. This significant loss of draw control expertise could be a hurdle for Duke, potentially impacting their ability to maintain possession and control the tempo of the game.
Turning to the roster’s overall experience, Duke presents a mix of veteran savvy and fresh potential. The median rotation player has appeared in 46 career games, and with 10 players boasting at least 30 career games, the Blue Devils are not short on seasoned campaigners. This depth of experience, with 13 seniors and grad students, might be the stabilizing factor for a team integrating 14 less experienced players. This breadth of in-game knowledge can be a substantial asset, offering consistency and a foundation for the younger talent to emerge and shape the team’s future trajectory.
Despite the experienced roster, the Blue Devils must confront the loss of Anna Callahan, a key offensive initiator. Callahan accounted for 9% of the team’s assists and held an individual efficiency rating in the 93rd percentile, highlighting her effectiveness in creating opportunities for her teammates. Although her absence doesn’t leave an insurmountable void, it’s a noteworthy departure that requires Duke to find a player capable of stepping into the role of a playmaker with the same efficiency and vision.
Overall, the roster composition suggests that Duke might face a transitional season, especially in draw controls, where they must compensate for the loss of all-world Maddie Jenner. Yet, the seasoned core of players provides a layer of optimism, as their experience will be relied on. The Blue Devils’ success will hinge on how effectively they can leverage their experience to mentor emerging talents and fill the gaps left by key players like Anna Callahan. The coming season will test Duke’s adaptability and depth, ultimately revealing whether this blend of old and new can sustain, or even elevate, the team’s performance from the previous year.
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P.S. What did I miss? Data-centric analyses like this can miss things that don’t show up in the stats (i.e. injuries/coaching changes). If you can help explain any of the above, put it in the comments.