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Fil-Am Vanessa De Jesus shines in Duke debut


Vanessa De Jesus was unperturbed in her first-ever game in Duke, providing the spark in the Blue Devils’ 94-64 rout of Longwood to open their 2020-21 ACC campaign, Wednesday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Five-foot-eight De Jesus, together with sophomore Jaida Patrick, paced the Blue Devils over the first 20 minutes, combining for 21 of Duke’s 44 points.

With 11 points in the opening half of her Duke debut, de Jesus led the Blue Devils, going 4-of-6 from the field.

De Jesus, who became the first Duke freshman to start at guard in their first game since Mikayla Boykin in 2017, ended up with 13 points, four assists, three rebounds, and one blocked shot in 30 minutes of action.

She became the first Blue Devil to score 13 or more when starting their first career game since Rebecca Greenwell totaled 17 at Alabama in 2014.

“It was great to just finally get out there with the team and show what we’ve all been working at! It’s always been a dream of mine to play college basketball, and now the moment is finally here, I’m just so grateful especially with everything that is going on today,” said the 18-year-old Filipino-American.

“The win just putting the icing on top, and I can’t wait for the rest of the season with the team.”

Patrick, on the other hand, had 21 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.

“With a player like Vanessa, she is great at reading the open look and is great at realizing what is the best thing to do in that instance whether it be going into a nice pull-up, or seeing somebody slash, or the corner three,” Patrick said about De Jesus.

“It’s really not something she had to work-on honestly because Vanessa has eyes all over and she’s just a phenomenal point guard. I’m really excited to see what she’s going to do this year.”

This is also the first win of Duke head coach Kara Lawson.

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Miela Goodchild and Jade Williams had 16 and 12 points, respectively, while Jada Claude hauled 10 rebounds.

Kyla McMakin paced Longwood with 24 points while Akila Smith finished with 17 points and 10 boards.

De Jesus and Duke will return to action on Monday as the Blue Devils host Western Carolina at 3AM (Manila time), live on ACC Network Extra.

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