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Ciara Duffy
courtesy of USD Women's Basketball
Ciara Duffy

Ciara Duffy Honored With Becky Hammon POY Award

Nate Wek - South Dakota Public Broadcasting - April 1, 2020

UNDATED - On Tuesday, Her Hoop Stats announced that University of South Dakota senior basketball star Ciara Duffy was the inaugural recipient of their Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year award.

“That was a cool thing to get for sure,” stated Duffy. “It’s a huge honor for a lot of reasons, first of all for our team. I mean, it’s because of the work of everyone that was a part of our program that our team got the recognition we did that kind of put us on the nation stage. That led to me getting this.”

Basically, a national award named after a Rapid City native goes to another Rapid City native in its first year of existence. Both Duffy and Hammon are considered as two of the greatest girl’s and women’s basketball players in South Dakota history.

“I grew up looking up to [Becky Hammon]. Probably all little girls from Rapid City who played basketball, we always knew who she was. You could go see her jersey hanging at Stevens high school,” said Duffy. “She was kind of the first one, you know. She was the one that had made it and led us to believe that we could do it too. When you have an example like that of someone who started the same place as she use to play, at the YMCA, which is right down the road from my house, where I played at too.”

The University of South Dakota women’s basketball team had an historical season in 2019-20, winning both the Summit League regular season and conference tournament titles. They finished the season with a 30-2 record and a national ranking of No. 17 in the Associated Press top-25 poll.

Duffy was a huge part of the Coyotes success this season earning game averages of 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and five assists. As successful as Duffy and the USD women’s program was, their season came to an abrupt halt. Twenty-four hours after winning the Summit League tournament championship game, which included an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, the remaining games for both men’s and women’s basketball were canceled. It was an invisible opponent that took the country and world by storm, coronavirus.

“I was watching ESPN the entire day on Thursday (March 12), because we had found out the night before that the NBA season was postponed indefinitely, so almost essentially canceled. And all of these other big events were starting to cancel,” explained Duffy. “I think we all knew something was coming. Maybe we had our fingers crossed that hopefully it could be postponed, but also recognizing the logistics of postponing an event that big on the men’s and women’s side. I was just watching ESPN all day and saw the news come out live on there.”

The former St. Thomas More Cavalier finishes her collegiate career as the No. 3 all-time scorer in USD women’s basketball history with 1,793 points. Along with being honored by Her Hoop Stats with the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year, Duffy is also a recipient of the ESPNw Mid Major Player of the Year, Summit League Player of the Year, and an All-American honorable mention.

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