March 9, 2006
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior All-America guard Megan Duffy (Dayton, Ohio/Chaminade-Julienne) has been selected as the recipient of the 2006 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Thursday. Duffy is the second Irish player after Niele Ivey (2001) to receive the honor, which is presented annually to the nation’s top senior women’s basketball player standing 5-foot-8 or under who has excelled both athletically and academically. Notre Dame becomes the third school in the 23-year history of the award to boast multiple winners, joining Penn State (Suzie McConnell – 1988; Helen Darling – 2000) and Johns Hopkins (Amy Dodrill – 1995; Angie Arnold – 1998) in that elite class.
“I am thrilled and humbled to receive this prestigious award,” Duffy said. “So many great players have been chosen for this honor in the past and to be included in that company is something I will always cherish. Nothing like this is possible without a wonderful group of teammates and coaches, and I share this trophy with them — it’s truly a team effort.”
“This is such a well-deserved honor for Megan and I couldn’t be more proud of her,” Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said. “She has given so much to this program and this University, not only this year but throughout her four years at Notre Dame. She is one of the finest leaders we have ever had and a true role model for both our players and the community of South Bend. It has been a pleasure and a joy to coach her and watch her develop and improve her game each and every time out.”
Duffy ranks among the top 10 in the BIG EAST Conference in scoring (8th – 15.7 ppg.), assists (tie-6th – 4.10 apg.), steals (7th – 2.03 spg.), free throw percentage (1st – .888), three-pointers made per game (6th – 1.90) and assist/turnover ratio (9th – 1.68). She also is 12th in the nation in free throw percentage (as of March 7), marking the second consecutive year she is among the top 15 nationally in that category, and her .888 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 25 times in 29 games this season, including each of the past 14 games, the longest such streak by a Notre Dame player since Ruth Riley had 22 consecutive double-digit scoring games during the Irish national championship season of 2000-01.
As one would expect, Duffy’s trophy case has quickly filled up this year, starting with her selection as a consensus preseason All-American. She also was a unanimous first-team all-BIG EAST pick (her second consecutive first-team citation), the BIG EAST/Aeropostale Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a two-time BIG EAST Player of the Week (Jan. 23 and Feb. 27) and a three-time BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll choice. In addition, she is a prime candidate for the Nancy Lieberman Award (top point guard in the nation), Senior CLASS Award (athletic and academic success) and three other national player-of-the-year awards — the State Farm/WBCA Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy and John R. Wooden Women’s Award.
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 1,275 career points, and has started 93 of the past 94 Notre Dame games, including a current streak of 66 in a row, dating back to the start of the 2003-04 season.
Off the court, Duffy has been named a first-team Academic All-American, 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.
“We are proud to honor Ms. Duffy with the 2006 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award”, stated John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “The combination of her success on the court and her achievements in the classroom as a student athlete make her a deserving recipient who exemplifies the qualities this award is designed to celebrate.”
The Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award is named for the daughter-in-law of the game’s inventor, Dr. James Naismith. A panel of representatives from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) selects the recipient. To earn the award, the recipient must demonstrate leadership, character, loyalty, all-around basketball ability and excellence in the classroom. Past honorees have included Connecticut’s Jennifer Rizzotti (1996), Colorado State’s Becky Hammon (1999), Baylor’s Sheila Lambert (2002), Tennessee’s Kara Lawson (2003) and last year’s winner, Tan White of Mississippi State.
Duffy will be formally recognized at the WBCA Awards Luncheon, presented by State Farm and Jostens, at 12:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 2 at the Hynes Convention Center Ballroom in Boston. This event is part of the 25th annual WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four, scheduled for April 2 & 4 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston.
Winners in four of its last five games, Notre Dame (18-11) is awaiting the announcement of the 64-team NCAA Tournament field Monday at 7 p.m. (ET) on ESPN. The Irish have appeared in the event each of the past 10 seasons, winning at least one NCAA tourney game every year.
— ND —