The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Women’s Basketball: Duffy, Schrader lone bright spots in loss

Eric Retter | Tuesday, March 21, 2006

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Megan Duffy did it all for the Irish this season.

In most games, she did it alone.

The All-American finalist led the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game this season and was the team’s high scorer in 16 of Notre Dame’s 30 games and often provided the only threat to what was an otherwise dormant offense.

And Saturday night’s loss to Boston College – Duffy’s final game in an Irish uniform – was hardly different.

When the Irish began to fight back from a double-digit deficit – like they did so many times this season – it was Duffy, a unanimous first-team All-Big East selection, who made the shot with 9:45 left to play that cut it to 11, the narrowest Boston College lead of the half.

“I thought we were really going to make a serious run,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “I know Megan had to be tired after all the pressing she was doing.”

But that’s how it went with Notre Dame. Saturday night’s loss was the exaggerated embodiment of an entire season of outcomes.

Like in so many other games, the Irish struggled badly on the boards, getting outrebounded by 17 in the first half. Boston College forward Brooke Queenan led the Eagles with seven first-half rebounds – a number that matched Notre Dame’s team total for the half.

Like in so many other games, Notre Dame went on prolonged scoring droughts, getting outscored 14-6 in the final six minutes of the first half before allowing the Eagles to open up the second half on a 9-0 run.

“In the first half we just really, really weren’t playing well on either end,” McGraw said.

And like in so many other games, Duffy was called to put the team on her shoulders, to make big plays, to pull the team back into the game.

But there was one notable difference – Duffy was not alone as the team fought back.

In a symbolic performance, freshman Lindsay Schrader had of her young career in the failed comeback effort. Schrader scored a career-high 29 points, combining with Duffy to score all but 17 of Notre Dame’s points.

“It’s great for the future of our program to see a freshman come in and break some records,” McGraw said. “She knew she was ready. She’d had a great practice the last couple weeks.”

In contrast, no other Irish player had more than one field goal.

This season, Duffy, the Big East Scholar Athlete of the Year, has been the face, voice, and heart of the Notre Dame team. As she prepares to walk away from Notre Dame, she, along with senior forward Courtney LaVere, will leave an even bigger hole in the locker room than on the court.

“Courtney and Megan have done great things for our program over the years,” McGraw said. “They help out in any way they can. They’re smart, they know where they’re supposed to be, they’re great students. They’re just great kids, and it’s truly been a pleasure coaching them.”

As the Irish begin to prepare for next season – a season without the star point guard – Schrader seems poised to step into the light and cast a shadow of her own.

“What’s interesting is that a week ago we talked about next year and I told her that next year she was going to be the go-to player,” McGraw said. “[I] wanted to get her feedback on how she felt about that and she was excited about that … It’s great for us to know we can count on her next year.”

Duffy, however, will leave the Notre Dame program as her coach and former teammates search for superlatives to describe her tenure at Notre Dame.

“She’s just an amazing player, person, leader,” McGraw said. “I don’t know what you can say about Megan Duffy that hasn’t already been said.”