Filipino American Vanessa de Jesus made an impressive US-NCAA debut, as Duke University routed Longwood University, 94-64, on Thursday (Philippine time) at the Cameron Indoor Stadium.
De Jesus, who is being eyed by coach Patrick Aquino to be part of the Gilas Pilipinas Women’s team, led the Blue Devils’ demolition of the Lancers to start their Atlantic Coast Conference campaign on a high note.
The 5-foot-8 freshman scored 11 points in the first half on 4-of-6 shooting, as Duke overwhelmed Longwood with a 23-10 lead after the first quarter en route to a 15-point, 44-29 advantage at the half.
The Blue Devils sustained the aggression, leading by 24 points, 74-50, at the end of the third period, and by 30 after the game.
De Jesus finished with 13 markers, four assists, three rebounds, and one block. Her 13 points is the most a Duke Women’s Team starting rookie guard scored in her first game since Rebecca Greenwell’s 17 markers versus Alabama in 2014.
De Jesus, starting in her first collegiate game as a freshman, is also a first in Duke Women’s basketball history since Mikayla Boykin in 2017.
Kara Lawson, who just made her debut as Duke head coach, heaped praises on de Jesus.
“[De Jesus is] just a talented player. She’s very composed and she’s got a great demeanor for a point guard,” said Lawson in an interview with Duke’s The Chronicle.
“She knows our offense like the back of her hand. She knows where everyone’s supposed to be on the court on every play.”
De Jesus and the Blue Devils will face the Western Carolina University Catamounts next on November 30 (Philippine time) at the same venue.