March 2, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne) has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the fifth annual Bayer AdvantageÂ® Senior CLASS Award, it was announced Thursday. The award is presented each year to the nation’s senior player-of-the-year in both men’s and women’s college basketball, taking into account the student-athlete’s performance both on the court and in the classroom. This marks the second consecutive year a Notre Dame women’s basketball player will appear on the final ballot for this honor — Jacqueline Batteast was one of 10 finalists for the 2004-05 Bayer AdvantageÂ® Senior CLASS Award, which ultimately went to Kansas State forward Kendra Wecker.
Nationwide voting for the award begins on Monday (March 6) and concludes two weeks later on March 20. Winners are determined by a balloting system that includes college basketball coaches, media and fans. More than 100 coaches and media will receive private ballots, while fans can vote on-line at the Senior CLASS Award web site.
Duffy’s blend of on-court success and classroom achievement has made her a leading candidate for this year’s Bayer AdvantageÂ® Senior CLASS Award. Between the lines, Duffy ranks among the top 10 in the BIG EAST in scoring (8th – 15.5 ppg.), assists (tie-6th – 4.26 apg.), steals (7th – 2.04 spg.), free throw percentage (1st – .891), three-pointers made per game (6th – 1.93) and assist/turnover ratio (9th – 1.77). She also is 11th in the nation in free throw percentage (as of Feb. 28), marking the second consecutive year she is among the top 15 nationally in that category, and her .891 mark is just shy of her own single-season school record (.895) that she set in 2004-05. In addition, Duffy has scored in double figures 23 times in 27 games this season, including each of the past 12 games, matching the longest string by a Notre Dame player in four seasons.
A consensus preseason All-America selection in 2005-06, Duffy is a two-time BIG EAST Player of the Week (Jan. 23 and Feb. 27) and a three-time BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll choice. She also is a prime candidate for the Nancy Lieberman Award (top point guard in the nation), Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (top senior player in the nation 5-foot-8 and under), and three other national player-of-the-year awards — the State Farm/WBCA Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy and John R. Wooden Women’s Award.
Already a two-time all-BIG EAST pick, Duffy ranks among the top 10 in school history in 11 career categories, most notably free throw percentage (2nd – .859), where she is 15th in NCAA history. She also is 13th in the Irish record books with 1,239 career points, and has started 91 of the past 92 Notre Dame games, including a current streak of 64 in a row, dating back to the start of the 2003-04 season.
Off the court, Duffy was named a first-team Academic All-American on Tuesday, becoming the second Irish women’s basketball player and eighth BIG EAST Conference female cager ever to be so honored. Duffy currently holds a 3.555 cumulative grade-point average in the College of Arts and Letters, where she is pursuing a double major in psychology and computer applications. She has earned Dean’s List honors in each of the past four semesters, including a 3.917 GPA in the spring 2005 term and a 3.821 GPA in the recently-completed fall 2005 semester.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was launched during the 2001-02 season in response to the trend of college basketball players leaving college early to turn professional. While performance on the basketball court is the defining attribute, candidates must maintain NCAA student-athlete academic standards and be working towards a degree. The foundation of the award is based on commitment to their university and their education while achieving on the basketball court. Legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg, who initiated the idea for the award and now serves as its honorary chairman, will announce this year’s male and female winners April 1 during a CBS broadcast at the NCAA Men’s Final Four. The trophies will be presented that same day in Kansas City at a college basketball gala, hosted by the Parkinson’s Foundation of the Heartland, with the All-Senior All-America Teams also announced at that time, based upon voting results for the Bayer AdvantageÂ® Senior CLASS Award.
Joining Duffy as finalists for this year’s Bayer AdvantageÂ® Senior CLASS Award are: Seimone Augustus (LSU), Monique Currie (Duke), LaToya Davis (Texas Tech), Candice Dupree (Temple), Cappie Pondexter (Rutgers), Liz Shimek (Michigan State), Ann Strother (Connecticut), Barbara Turner (Connecticut) and Sophia Young (Baylor).
Winners of its last three regular-season games, Notre Dame (17-10, 8-8 BIG EAST) returns to action Saturday at 6 p.m. (ET) when it faces South Florida in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship at the Hartford Civic Center.
— ND —