USD's Duffy embracing leadership role in final year with Coyotes

VERMILLION- Ciara Duffy was born with the drive to compete.

“I would be lying if I said we didn’t have some uber competitive maybe crossing the line of too competitive games with each other. But honestly the kind of relationships my siblings and I have, and starting from the oldest on down, is they’re just so supportive that I don’t know if anyone is ever prouder of what they accomplished than the other siblings. Like when they do something great, I feel like it was me doing it because I'm just so proud of them.” said Duffy.

Ciara is the fifth of eight kids in her family, each of them also play basketball. So the Rapid City native was just the next in line to pick up a ball, fall in love with the game, and be a leader for the rest of her siblings.

“I wanted to kind of follow in their footsteps and I saw them doing it and I just wanted to hang out with them. It kind of started out as that. I wanted to spend time with my siblings and that’s what they were doing, so I just kind of fell in line," said Duffy.

Duffy shined on the court early, she helped guide St. Thomas More High School to four state basketball titles.

“Growing up there was definitely different summers that I could point to that I kind of really started to fall in love with basketball on my own and wanted to do it not necessarily just because they were doing it, but because I really wanted to do it," said Duffy.

That competitive drive is only growing four years later. Now a senior at USD, Ciara leads the Coyotes averaging 16-points a game while also chipping in six rebounds a game on average. She has scored nearly 15-hundred collegiate points, but it’s Duffy’s hard work ethic and versatility on the court that’s being noticed more than any statistic.

“Everybody kind of has the opportunity to do a lot of different things and that’s been something I think as I’ve gone through my four years here that has definitely grown. They have really helped me work on my game, making a lot of different things better, working on a lot of different areas that maybe I didn’t have coming into college," said Duffy.

“I think Ciara is someone who has really attacked every year she has been here with an incredible amount of tenacity. She’s someone that puts in a lot of time, she’s someone that you’re not going to outwork. Whether it’s at 5 o’clock in the morning or eight or 10 o’clock at night. She’s in the gym and she is making herself as good of a basketball player as she can and that’s something that becomes contagious with your entire team," said Head Coach Dawn Plitzuweit.

After helping guide USD to the Summit League’s first ever at large bi* in the NCAA Tournament, Duffy is working on being the leader once again as she is helping set the new standard for Coyote basketball.

“I definitely think it was a really cool experience. It kind of gave us the taste of something that we have the potential to experience once again. But I definitely think we have some other goals that we maybe didn’t get to achieve last year that are sort of going to be at the forefront of our minds going forward," said Duffy.

Duffy and the Coyotes are back in action Wednesday night at Purdue Fort Wayne. They return home on Sunday to face Denver.