Prior to 2004-05, Duke had been preseason ranked first in the ACC in each of the last four years and five of the last six years. Following the Blue Devils were Maryland, Miami, Virginia Tech, Virginia, N.C. State, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, while the Terrapins receiving the other two first place votes.
The media members also picked the preseason Player and Rookie of the Year with Duke's Monique Currie earning Player of the Year honors, while Maryland's Crystal Langhorne earned Rookie of the Year accolades. It marked the fifth straight year a Duke player has been named preseason ACC Player of the Year as Alana Beard earned the honor in 2001, '02 and '03, while Georgia Schweitzer was selected in 2000.
Also picked on Wednesday was the preseason All-ACC first team with Currie, Maryland's Shay Doron, Miami's Tamara James, North Carolina's Ivory Latta and North Carolina's Camille Little receiving honors.
The Blue Devils return seven letterwinners off last year's NCAA Elite Eight squad as head coach Gail Goestenkors enters her 13th year with the program. Duke returns three starters-- Harding, Mistie Williams and Currie, but will have to move on without two-time National Player of the Year Alana Beard and Kodak All-America Iciss Tillis. The five-time defending ACC Champions, Duke is coming off a 30-4 record in 2003-04.
Currie, a junior from Washington, D.C., is expected to have a breakout season in 2004-05 with the departure of Beard and Tillis. A preseason Wooden Award and State Farm Wade Trophy nominee, Currie owns career averages of 13.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals. Currie will be one of the favorites for National Player of the Year as she is considered one of the most athletic and toughest players in the nation
Other returning letterwinners include senior Wynter Whitley, junior Jessica Foley, sophomore Alison Bales and sophomore Caitlin Howe, while the Blue Devils welcome a stellar freshman class of Chante Black, Laura Kurz and Wanisha Smith. Duke will also welcome its first transfer since the addition of Michele VanGorp and Nicole Erickson from Purdue in the mid-1990s as Emily Waner arrives from Colorado. Due to NCAA regulations, Waner will have to sit out the 2004-05 campaign.
Duke will open the 2004-05 campaign on Nov. 12 in the Sportsview.tv WNIT against Davidson at 7:00 p.m. The Blue Devils will have a very tough opening two months of the season with the Sportsview.tv WNIT, Penn State, Kansas State, Tennessee and Purdue on the schedule.
All home games are played in the historic Cameron Indoor Stadium. For ticket information, contact the Duke ticket office at 1-800-672-BLUE.
2004-05 PRESEASON POLL
1. North Carolina (20)
2. Duke (18)
3. Maryland (2)
5. Virginia Tech
7. NC State
10. Georgia Tech
11. Wake Forest
2004-05 PRESEASON ALL-ACC TEAM
Monique Currie, Duke Shay Doron, Maryland Tamara James, Miami Ivory Latta, North Carolina Camille Little, North Carolina
2004-05 PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Monique Currie, Duke
2004-05 PRESEASON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Crystal Langhorne, Maryland