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Women’s Basketball: Duffy earns two more Big East distinctions

Eric Retter | Wednesday, March 8, 2006

HARTFORD, Conn. – The entire nation knew that Megan Duffy was a standout both on the court and in the classroom, as the senior point guard garnered preseason All-American honors and was named to ESPN The Magazine’s Academic All-America first team earlier this month. Last week, the Big East made it clear the conference knew that as well.

“The Scholar Athlete [of the Year award] is really important to me,” Duffy said after Notre Dame’s opening-round victory over South Florida in the Big East Tournament Saturday. “That’s one of the reasons I came to Notre Dame – for the education.”

The senior point guard’s academic success and basketball prowess were honored March 3 at the Big East Awards banquet in Hartford, Conn. Duffy was named first-team All-Big East and captured the 2005-06 Big East/Aeropostale Scholar Athlete of the Year award.

In winning the award, Duffy becomes the third Irish player in six years to receive the distinction.

Her success in the classroom was honored earlier this month when she was named to ESPN The Magazine’s Academic All-America first team. Duffy posted a 3.917 grade-point average last spring and a 3.821 GPA this fall. She also led the Irish with 15.5 points per game in the recently completed regular season.

Because of her commitment to her education, Duffy, who ranks in the all-time top-10 in 11 Notre Dame statistical categories, puts the Scholar Athlete of the Year award near the top of her list of achievements.

“To be voted on by the coaches in a competitive [academic] league is really important,” she said.

Duffy, who has now been named first-team all-conference for the second straight year, was happy to earn the distinction again after the conference expanded to 16 teams after last season.

“To get first team is pretty spectacular for me, just because the competition is so great [between] 16 teams across the board,” Duffy said. “There’s a lot of stars out there, so I’m fortunate enough to make the first team.”

She was a unanimous selection.

“I appreciate all their support, that they have the respect for my game,” she said. “Especially being a senior, you kind of want to go out the right way.”

But Duffy said she didn’t realize she had the support of all the conference’s coaches.

“I didn’t know that [I was a unanimous selection],” she said, smiling when she learned of the distinction during a press conference.

Duffy, who struggled in the first half of both of Notre Dame’s Big East tournament games, a 73-66 win over South Florida Saturday and a 71-60 loss to No. 2-seed Connecticut Sunday, rebounded in the second half of both games to eventually lead the Irish in scoring both times.

“She’s just one of those unselfish kids, trying to get everybody involved,” Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma said.

Notre Dame’s season now rests in the hands of the NCAA tournament selection committee, and the Irish will have to wait to see who and where they will next play until March 13.

“It’s going to be hard to wait around ’til Selection Monday,” she said.

During the long interim, Duffy hopes the team will continue to work on preparing itself mentally and physically for a postseason run.

“We’ll probably take a couple days off and get the legs ready to go,” she said. “[Then] we’re going to get back to work. I’m sure we’re going to go back to a lot of the fundamentals – kind of go back to the stuff we did during the beginning of the season.”

While the team rests during the next few days, Duffy will focus on a more immediate task – studying during midterms week.

“I got [a big midterm] coming up Tuesday,” Duffy said Sunday. “I’m probably in trouble.”