Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

New Kid on the Block

New Kid on the Block

Smrcka-Duffy Wastes No Time Making Name for Herself at Georgetown

By Michael Medici Hoya Staff Writer

You have to wonder how hard it was for Women’s Basketball Head Coach Patrick Knapp last year.

One might think it would be hard enough that the team finished with a disappointing 9-19 record.

But it had to be even harder knowing that she was in the building for each of those losses. Heck, she was on the bench for each one of those losses.

In street clothes.

This season, sophomore guard Katie Smrcka-Duffy shows up to each and every game donning a Georgetown uniform in which she has terrorized opponents so far in the season.

Through seven games this year, in which the Hoyas have won five and lost two, both to top-25 teams, Smrcka-Duffy, who transferred to Georgetown after winning the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year in 1996 at North Carolina State, has led Georgetown in scoring in each game. After her game-high 22-point performance in the Hoyas 75-68 win over Minnesota Friday night, Smrcka-Duffy is averaging 27 points per contest for the Hoyas’ seven games, seven points more than anyone else in the Big East.

“Our triangle offense offers a lot of freedom for me,” Smrcka-Duffy said, “I can also drive and dish to [senior guard] elba [Chambers] or [senior forward] Sylita [Thomas]. That is part of my game.”

As she said, she likes assists just as much as baskets, and there is proof in the pudding as she is averaging 4.3 assists per game.

All this added up, and you’d have to think Knapp would be getting Smrcka-Duffy one nice Christmas present. But, throughout her interview with The Hoya, Smrcka-Duffy gave the impression she would much rather the team get the nice presents from Knapp rather than herself.

“We haven’t done anything yet,” Smrcka-Duffy said. “Yes, we’re 5-2 now, but that doesn’t mean anything. We do a lot of things well, but we are inconsistent right now.”

One thing Smrcka-Duffy is excited about thus far is the running game that has propelled the Hoyas to these five wins. In the early going, she has started the break with her rebounding, led the break up the court, and either dished or scored to end the break.

“I have to step up and start being consistent,” the 5-foot-9 guard said of her rebounding. “I can get it and go, you know, when I’m on the break and Melba and Sylita are on the outside, they know I’ll give it up. I don’t think people can guard them on the break.”

As the Hoyas head into their tough Big East conference schedule, opposing coaches are going to have to put emphasis in practice on guarding Smrcka-Duffy, or they will pay.

“I surprise them,” Smrcka-Duffy said with a smile. “I don’t know what’s on their scouting report, but I think that they will start putting an emphasis on me.

“But, hey, that’s great for us, because we have a lot of other people who can contribute.”

Contributing to her early-season success is her phenomenal accuracy from the free-throw line. On the year, she is 55-for-66 for 83 percent from the charity stripe. She is coming off her worst performance of the year against Minnesota when she went 8-for-14, something she immediately brought up when asked about her success from the line.

“It’s a mental game,” she said. “I could get up there and shoot them with my eyes closed. It’s an easy basket, especially with these new hand checking rules.

“You put a hand on me and I’m shooting one-on-one.”

Overall, Smrcka-Duffy has helped Georgetown and helped herself with her move to the Hilltop.

“I’m much happier here,” she said. “I don’t miss playing [at N.C. State]. I’m happy, I like the students, I like the school.”

And as long as she is happy at Georgetown, many a Big East basketball coach will be perplexed as to just how to stop her and the rest of the team.


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