No. 1 ranked women's basketball team is not outscoring opponents by an average of 25 points, the players are still often under the same roof. The spot? A four-bedroom, two-bath, ranch-style home (1) a five-minute drive from Cameron Indoor Stadium, shared by seniors Alison Bales and Lindsey Harding and junior Emily Waner. "We've had as many as 11 people stay over at a time," says Harding, a Houston native and the ACC Player of the Year. "There's always someone sleeping in the front room or in the back." With four couches and three futons in the living room and family room, the players can have sleepover guests without giving up their bedrooms. They also have a sense of security—a firehouse is right next door.
Apart from a few Duke banners and posters, the players have barely decorated the common areas. "We probably should have painted," says Waner, who's from Colorado, of the relentlessly beige walls. A sign near the front door that reads, STREET GIRLS BRINGING IN SAILORS MUST PAY FOR ROOM IN ADVANCE—it was put up by women's soccer and lacrosse players who lived in the house before them—does provide a bit of color.
On Thursday nights 10 or more teammates and friends gather to watch Grey's Anatomy, play cards (for fun, not money) or Catch Phrase, a word game in which, says Harding, the athletes apply "our same aggressive game from the court." Adds Waner, "People bring snacks. Grey's is our top priority on TV, but we also get together to watch [Duke] men's games." When the TV goes off, impromptu hip-hop dance-offs begin.
HARDING'S ROOM (2)
A lover of candles, she'll have 10 burning at once each night. (Thank goodness for the firehouse.) "I have candles in every scent you can think of so my room smells sweet," says Harding (No. 10), a sociology major. "Right now it's like vanilla." She also keeps daisies around her bed and dresser because of the flowers' cheerful appearance, saying, "They put me in a good mood."
WANER'S ROOM (3)
Art prints (including Degas ballerinas) adorn one wall, photos of trips to places such as Rome and Nice another. Her prized wall-hanging? A poster of Michael Jordan—yup, that North Carolina alum. Says Waner, a biological anthropology and anatomy major, "Michael's so renowned, no one gives me crap that he's a Tar Heel."
BALES'S ROOM (4)
Accented in teal, it's the biggest bedroom in the house—which seems fair given that the 6'7" Bales, a cultural anthropology major, is Duke's tallest player. On one wall hangs her collection of earrings (she prefers long, dangling ones). Other wall space is devoted to framed photos of Bales with teammates as well as two 1,000-plus-piece puzzles of beach scenes that Bales completed with her younger sister, Sarah. Says Bales, "They're addictive." '
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY
MAX TURNER/ICON SMI (HARDING ACTION)