By Sam Ojeda / Sports Editor
When a coach goes out to recruit new players, they often look for someone who will make an immediate impact.
Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball coach John Ontjes found one of those immediate-impact players. Monae Duffy is a freshman from Louisiana, recruited by Ontjes out of her hometown high school, Lafayette Christian Academy.
Duffy is a 5-foot, 11-inch forward. Even though she is a little undersized, she is still a high-producing rebounder. She is averaging 8.2 rebounds per game, which leads the team and ranks fourth in the Jayhawk Conference. She is also producing in the scoring department. Duffy is putting up 11.3 points per game, which is good for second best on the team.
The nerves of being a heavily-used freshman can be extreme. Duffy said that she believes she needs to stick to her roots to calm herself.
“My faith and my family have had a major impact on me.” Duffy said.
Duffy said she feels the support from those around her.
“Having enormous support from my family and having faith in God has carried me through this season and has made it a lot easier,” Duffy said.
Duffy is seeing around 25 minutes on the court every game. That amount of playing time is coveted by most college athletes, especially freshmen. She has earned the playing time because she believes in the vision of the team.
“I fully respect the vision that my coaches have painted for our program,” Duffy said.
Ontjes has had 15 prior successful seasons to further his vision and recruit players who buy into that.
“I understand the vision and we strive to play out the vision, every game, on the court,” Duffy said.
HutchCC is 17-4 this season, largely in part to the strong play from Duffy.
“I will continue to accept all of the constructive criticism I receive and focus on getting better,” Duffy said.
Duffy recorded three straight double-doubles against three conference opponents. Against Seward County, she had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Against Garden City, she put up 20 points and 11 rebounds. Her third straight double-double came against Independence. She recorded 14 points and 11 rebounds. Her season high in rebounds is 21. That figure came in a prior game against Independence.
Duffy is only a freshman and has another year to grow in her game. While she is already a dominant down-low presence for the Blue Dragons, the freshman forward will roll into next season with high expectations. She is prepared.
“I will focus daily on getting better and improving my game,” Duffy said. “I expect good things from the team this year and from us next season.”