When the topic of NBA players comes up, everybody always talks about top players like LeBron James, meanwhile lesser-known players like Malcolm Brogdon often get pushed to the wayside.
As for the topic of women’s basketball at Montclair State University, players like senior guard Julia Sutton and junior guard Nickie Carter usually get the press. But this season, more focus should go to sophomore guard/forward Megan Duffy. Or as Matt Bruchez, volleyball commentator for the Red Hawk Sports Network (RHSN) likes to call her, either the Duffy Dagger or the Duffy Dime.
Duffy enjoys the recognition but still gives her teammates a chance to shine as well.
“I like the nicknames. I think they’re OK,” Duffy said. “Obviously, everyone likes to score, but if I am not in that situation — if Sutton or Carter are hitting shots — I like passing them the ball and giving them those opportunities [too].”
Before she became a breakout star for the Red Hawks, Duffy dealt with an undisclosed injury her freshman year with the Red Hawks, a unique season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In her only game that season, Duffy scored eight points and four rebounds in a loss to the Salisbury University Seagulls. Sutton openly talked about Duffy’s progression and praised her offensive performance.
“[Duffy] has come such a long way from her injury in her freshman year, and she has made a real impact on this team,” Sutton said. “And, she does this in a big way: she plays a post position but is also a shooter, so she is a major threat on offense. Me and everyone else are so proud of where she is now.”
Going into the seventh game of the season, Duffy has had great plays so far, beating career-highs, intimidating centers in the post as a forward and creating space to shoot from deep as a forward.
There’s no doubt Duffy can shoot the ball from deep; just remember when Montclair State was against Ramapo College of New Jersey, and she shot three of five from beyond the arc.
Aside from that, Duffy is also skilled at worming around her defenders and grabbing the ball, starting another possession for the Red Hawks with exactly five rebounds per game and three offensive rebounds per game. And, Duffy also looks to disrupt the opposing offense, once tallying three steals in one game against Penn State Abington.
Duffy tallied 22 points, a career-high for her with the Red Hawks, along with three assists and a steal against the Kean University Cougars this season. In the very next game against Ramapo, Duffy scored her previous total, add one, along with another steal and five rebounds. Duffy explains what she worked on over the span of eight days that helped her be so dominant on offense.
“I think we just kept the intensity up at practice,” Duffy said. “We knew we could’ve beat Kean and everyone was really mad that we lost. For me, going into the practice before the Ramapo game, I was making sure that everyone was hitting their shots and playing as a team. We didn’t win, but we kept up the intensity and played as a squad.”
Duffy clearly played back in high school for the J.P. Stevens High School Hawks, the alma mater where she racked up over 1,000 points in her time with the team. But get this: she only did it in three seasons. She spoke on that accomplishment and what has translated over from those days to now being with Montclair State.
“Me scoring 1,000 points back in high school showed that I worked really hard to get that, and [that] all my teammates had my back,” Duffy said. “I tore my ACL my freshman year of high school, so that motivated me to continue to work hard, keep pushing [and remember that] good things will eventually come. Now, I am here playing for Montclair State.”
As mentioned before, Duffy is one of the key players on the Red Hawk squad that can grab rebounds on both sides of the ball, and having players like that is crucial for either advancing plays, resetting or getting another chance to slip up the opposing team.
Senior forward Trisha Peterson, one of the top rebounders for Montclair State, speaks on how effective Duffy is in this aspect.
“During practice, we put a big emphasis on going and getting the rebound,” Peterson said. “I have so much confidence in [Duffy] to get the boards if I can’t get them. I think it’s really great playing defense with her because she has my back on the court.”
With a lot of the season left and a lot more to prove out on the court, Megan Duffy is just one of the many young players looking to propel this program under the head of prestigious head coach Karin Harvey. Duffy is happy with how she is doing and hopes it translates to a better record for the team overall.
“[My family and friends] are all very proud of me,” Duffy said. “It felt good being able to get back out there and play well for my teammates and get more wins.”