Sophomore guard Ciara Duffy’s determination on and off the court has earned her national recognition.
Earlier this month, Duffy won a Twitter poll recognizing her as one of the NCAA’s Starting Five top women’s basketball players in the nation. Sophomore guard Madison McKeever said Duffy’s versatility makes her a valuable teammate.
“She’s a type of player that can play anywhere. She can be under the basket, she can shoot way outside the arch and that really helps because it forces people to come out and guard her, plus she can drive and attack the basket and post people up,” McKeever said. “I mean, people have a tough time guarding her because she can play anywhere on the court.”
Head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said she agreed with McKeever.
“Ciara is really a prototype kind of player within the scope of how we run our offense, meaning she can do everything,” Plitzuweit said. “She handles the basketball, she gets to the rim, she can post up score, and she can penetrate and make things happen, shoot it from long range if she needs to. So she is really really versatile.”
Not only is Duffy an asset on the court, but Coach Plitzuweit said she’s just as valuable behind the scenes.
“(Ciara is) someone who I think sets the tone, sometimes you don’t necessarily see young kids stepping up in leadership roles,” she said. “She is very nurturing to her teammates but she’s also a kid that when you come in, she’s usually in the gym. She’s usually the one that’s there, so I think her teammates certainly see that and understand the work ethic that’s important to be a skilled, tough basketball player.”
Along with the NCAA “starting five” recognition, Duffy was also named the Summit League Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for two weeks in a row. She said the recognition is a nice way to go into conference.
“It feels good to start conference this way, conference is always like a new start so to get a good start for that is always kind of good and to get some momentum going as we get to the peak of our season,” Duffy said.
Duffy said that even though the team has been on a winning streak, they need to keep their intensity level.
“Whether we are saying it or not, we always start to get a little more intense as the season goes and as you get closer to conference and conference tournament and I think we are just ramping everything up to another level as we get closer,” she said. “Practices are more intense and we know that every possession of every game is really important and that’s something we’ve really been focusing on.”
The Coyote Women will take on SDSU tomorrow in Brookings.