Sophomores Crystal White and Rometra Craig have decided to
transfer from the basketball team. Rometra cited being
too far away from home (she's from California), but I would imagine her
struggles this year played a part as well. With Beard moving back to
wing and Currie getting a ton of minutes there as well, Ro has played
less and less as she's struggled at both ends of the floor.
Crystal is another case altogether. She noted that Duke wasn't the
right place for her right now, which is appropriately vague in this
situation. The evidence suggests that playing time might also have been
a significant issue here. Before the season began, Crystal had had a
great summer and Coach G had tapped her as the team's starting center.
Then she got hurt and missed most of the preseason, leaving her behind
the other post players in terms of development. Wynter Whitley started
at center and is unlikely to leave it any time soon because of her
tremendous defensive ability. Losing Crystal is a significant blow
because of her shotblocking ability and scoring potential, but the truth
is that she was often out of position on defense, and that's why her
minutes were so low. She also had to have in mind that Duke was bringing
in two more post players next year, and simply didn't want to risk
competing for playing time.
The team is now down to eight players, though all eight can make
significant contributions. This means that Michele Matyasovsky really
needs to step up her level of play, because she's pretty much it as far
as the bench goes for post players. I would guess Monique Currie will
also see some time there as well. The team will now have to really band
together and put aside egos and individual goals, because they can't
afford to have them. It probably won't affect practice that much, since
the team plays against men most of the time anyway (plus Peppi Browne,
when she's available).
This is five transfers (or rather, four transfers and one player
quitting the sport) in two years for Coach G, after only losing one
player to transfer in her first eight years. This is unfortunately
something that happens to big-time programs in women's college ball; just
look at Marci Glenney (UConn to Clemson), Tasheika Morris (Tennessee to
FSU) and Teresa Geter (Tennessee to South Carolina). When you recruit
players who are blue-chippers and want playing time, not everyone will
get what they want.
by Rob Clough