Emily Schubert took the pass from Haley Gorecki near the top of the key and drove to her left.
A slick fake gave her some space against defender Lexi Duckett at the free throw line and she tossed up a right-handed leaner that banked off the backboard and fell through the net with 42.8 seconds remaining.
That put the finishing touches on Duke University’s 73-54 women’s basketball win over rival North Carolina on March 1 at Carmichael Arena and the bucket held major significance for Schubert in what turned out to be her penultimate game in a Blue Devils uniform.
You see, those were the first two points the 6-foot-4 senior center had scored in her collegiate career and it elicited quite the reaction from her teammates.
“Once Em got in the game our only goal was to get her a bucket,” said Duke senior Kyra Lambert. “When she made the shot everyone went crazy. The game even stopped and you could just see the joy and excitement on everyone’s faces. It was one of the highlights of our season.”
Schubert had certainly earned her moment in the spotlight.
Her freshman season with the Blue Devils was wiped out before it began due to a torn ACL, but the Elizabethton High School graduate made her way back from the knee injury and toughed it out over the course of four seasons with the Atlantic Coast Conference program.
“Emily is one of the hardest workers on our team,” Lambert said. “She’s always the first person in the gym and she never complains. To see her persevere throughout her four years at Duke was inspiring and she did it with grace and class. She’s a great teammate and I’ll take her on my team any day.”
Many folks share that sentiment, including her high school teammates.
She starred on Elizabethton’s 2014 TSSAA Class AA state championship team and was a member of a senior class which had four players who played four seasons of college basketball.
Twin sisters Kayla and Kelci Marosites played one season at East Tennessee State, followed by three years at Carson-Newman.
Emily Kiser split her collegiate career between King University and Milligan College.
Meanwhile, Schubert made her way to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
“I think that it says a lot about how tough she is that she stayed there despite her injury her freshman year,” Kiser said. “I know a lot of people might’ve wanted to give up at that point.”
Those state champs from Elizabethton still keep in touch via a group text message.
What did Kiser think of her friend’s shot against UNC?
“I have to be honest, I grew up in a house that was filled mostly with [University of Tennessee] fans, but my stepdad actually went to North Carolina, so I had become partial to those Tar Heels myself,” Kiser said. “I told Emily when she signed that I would only wear Duke blue for her and that’s stood until today. I couldn’t be happier for her, though. She got her first bucket against a rival team. I think that’s something she’ll never, ever forget and neither will I.”
Schubert had one season of eligibility remaining, but had already decided the 2019-20 season would be her last.
“I think that’s the best decision for my body, as well as other factors I had to consider,” Schubert said. “I decided this at the end of last season so that I could enjoy my senior year without regrets or questions of any kind.”
Duke had an 18-12 record when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic abruptly ended it all for college basketball teams across the country. Duke had reached the NCAA tournament during her first two seasons.
“The coronavirus really changed the end of my senior year,” Schubert said. “I will say it was really sad to see our season cut short, because our team was just starting to figure out how great we were. I’m really proud of our fight and how we always stuck together regardless of the situation.
“I think that not being able to see out the rest of the season and not being able to stay on campus for my senior spring has taken my chance for closure and saying goodbye to all the people that have made Duke, Duke for me. Luckily, I have my family to go home to and they have been very supportive as I finish up my degree at home.”
Schubert has accepted a job offer from Accenture as a Technology Platform Analyst based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. As she enters the workforce, Schubert savored her time at Duke and she went out in style by making her final shot.
“These past four seasons have been a whirlwind,” Schubert said. “Being so busy between basketball, friends and an economics major really made time fly. I would say that this is an experience I will never forget. I’m so lucky to have such great teammates that kept my love for basketball alive. Without them, these four years would have been less entertaining, that’s for sure.”
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