SIOUX FALLS, SD South Dakota senior guard Ciara Duffy received honorable mention All-America status from the Associated Press announced on Thursday. Duffy becomes the first Coyote to garner any All-America recognition since the move to NCAA Division I and the first Summit League athlete to receive honorable mention since 2014-15.
Duffy was named the espnW Mid-Major Player of the Year and the Summit League Player of the Year earlier this month. No mid-major made any of the three All-America teams as released by the Associated Press.
“This is simply a remarkable honor for an incredibly special young lady,” said USD head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “We are all absolutely thrilled for Ciara, for her teammates, for our program, for the University of South Dakota and for the Summit League.”
A 6-foot guard hailing from Rapid City, South Dakota, Duffy averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and five assists in her senior season. She shot 50 percent from the field and 43 percent behind the arc. Duffy is the only player in USD history with more than 1,700 points, 600 rebounds and 400 assists in her career. She finished her career third on USD’s all-time scoring charts. Duffy is a three-time all-Summit League first team pick and twice named to the Summit’s all-tournament team.
Duffy is a three-time Academic All-American, graduating summa cum laude in three years with a bachelor’s degree in political science and history. She has carried that 4.0 into her graduate studies while pursuing a master’s degree in secondary education.
“Gosh, I know I sound like a broken record, but these awards are truly the result of an entire team and program,” said Duffy. “These last four years with these incredible coaches and teammates, who have honestly become like family, shaped me into the player and person I am. So every award or recognition is truly theirs too. I just feel lucky to have gotten to be a part of this program – any recognition beyond that is icing on the cake.”
No. 17/11 South Dakota wrapped up the season with a 30-2 record last week prior to the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coyotes became the first team in Summit League history to run the table in the regular season and win the Summit League Tournament. South Dakota ended the year on a 19-game winning streak with an average victory margin of 31 points in the stretch.
The Coyotes’ nonconference included Power Five wins over Ohio State, Utah and Missouri, with mid-major victories over Drake and Green Bay. USD also played No. 1 South Carolina to a 13-point game in December.
South Dakota had three All-Americans garner five honors at the Division II level, including three-time All-American and two-time Player of the Year Mandy Koupal.
As for the GPAC, Dakota Wesleyan had 3 All-Americans named on Thursday. Conference Player of the Ty Hoglund was a first-team selection and finished his career as a 4-time All-American. And from the women's team, Kynedi Cheeseman made the 1st team and Sarah Carr the 3rd team. Both helped their team to a national title last March in Sioux City.
Dordt's Erika Feenstra who is only a junior was a big reason why the Defenders completely turned their program around and were in the top 10 much of the season.
And Chris King was among the new faces at Mount Marty under Todd Lorensen who helped to vault the Lancers into national prominence again. They were nationally-ranked most of the year.
Trent Hilbrands and Sammy Blum of Northwestern both were named honorable mention along with Madison native Jessi Giles of Dakota State. She was the first Trojans player to receive that honor in 12 years. Jessi is only a sophomore.