March 14, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Two Notre Dame women’s basketball standouts — senior forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) and junior guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne HS) — have been chosen as finalists for the 2005 Kodak/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-America Team, it was announced by the WBCA on Monday. The pair are among a group of 48 players now in the running for selection to the 10-member Kodak/WBCA All-America Team, with the final team announced April 2 in a press conference at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis, site of this year’s NCAA Women’s Final Four.
Notre Dame is one of only six schools in the nation to have two players tapped as finalists for the Kodak/WBCA All-America Team, joining Arizona, Baylor, LSU, Penn State and Utah in that elite company. Batteast and Duffy are two of the six players who were voted as finalists by the member coaches in the WBCA’s Region 1, along with West Virginia’s Meg Bulger, George Washington’s Anna Montanana, Rutgers’ Cappie Pondexter and Connecticut’s Ann Strother.
It marks the third time in Batteast’s stellar four-year career she has been named a finalist for the Kodak/WBCA All-America Team, having also received the honor in 2002 and 2004. Ruth Riley is the only other Notre Dame player to have achieved this recognition three times, doing so from 1999-2001 and going on to garner a spot on the prestigious team in 2001. The 2005 BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year and the Preseason WNIT Most Valuable Player, Batteast is averaging 17.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this season with six double-doubles and 28 double-digit scoring games to her credit. She also ranks among the BIG EAST leaders in scoring (2nd), rebounding (10th), free throw percentage (2nd), blocked shots (8th), double-doubles (7th) and 20-point games (2nd).
Meanwhile, Duffy is a first-time selection and the first Irish point guard ever to be named a Kodak/WBCA All-America Team finalist, adding another plaudit for the Notre Dame floor general, who has risen from a reserve role as a freshman all the way to first-team all-BIG EAST status this season. She ranks second on the team in scoring (11.8 ppg.) and led the conference in both steals (2.71 spg.) and free throw percentage (.902), placing second in the country in the latter category. She also is second in the BIG EAST in assists (5.51 apg.) and sixth in assist/turnover ratio (1.82), and earned a spot on the Preseason WNIT and BIG EAST Championship all-tournament teams, averaging 18.0 points and 6.0 assists per game while leading the Irish to the semifinals of the conference tournament.
Batteast and Duffy have been instrumental in Notre Dame’s 26-5 record this season and its at-large selection to the 2005 NCAA Tournament. The Irish, who are seeded fourth in the Tempe Region, will open postseason play Saturday at approximately 1:30 p.m. (ET) against No. 13 seed UC Santa Barbara, the Big West Conference champion, at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. That game will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Notre Dame will be making its 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, having advanced to the Sweet Sixteen six times in the past eight years, including each of the past two seasons.
— ND —