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Scout Team Pays Dividends For Lady Blue Devils

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DURHAM — The Duke Basketball men's and women's teams are arguably one of the best in the nation. But Duke has a third team people may know nothing about.

The Duke Lady Blue Devils are highly competitive these days. They do everything they can to get an edge over their opponent.

Last year, their success could be contributed to their practice partners, an all-male scout team.

The battle of the sexes comes to a screeching halt within Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Jim Donnelly, scout team co-captain, says the team works for a common goal.

"The more we can boost them up and make them be as competitive and play as well as they can, then the better we're doing our jobs," Donnelly said. "We're not here just to beat up on them and win every game, we're trying to make them better basketball players."

The scout team did not just walk in to practice. They had to try out against more than 40 other guys to earn a spot opposite the ladies.

"A few of the new guys were a little shaken up the first time they played us because they didn't know our strengths," Duke senior Missy West said. "We're just as strong as they are, and I think they've learned that."

Donnelly came away from the first week of practice with two black eyes. "It was real physical but it was a lot of fun, and I love doing it."

The guys take what they are doing seriously. In fact, one of the scout team captains apologized to Coach Gail Goestenkors after a loss last year.

"He said, "Coach, I let you down,'" Goestenkors said. "I let your team down because I haven't worked hard enough to get them ready for the kind of pressure they say against Connecticut. I won't do it again."

Mychal Harrison, scout team co-captain, takes great pride in what they do.

"You see them in a game and they get the offensive rebound or they shut Tennessee's Chamique Holdsclaw down and it's no better feeling than that," Harrison said.

The women open up against UNC Greensboro Monday. So Sunday, the scout team will become UNC Greensboro.

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Lynda Loveland, Reporter
David Renner, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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