Saints Dalton, Roiger earn major basketball conference accolades
St. Lawrence University first-year student Caroline Dalton was named the Liberty League's Women's Basketball Co-Rookie of the Year on Monday along with William Smith's Melanie Patterson. Meanwhile, Saints head coach Dan Roiger and assistant coach Devin Shea earned Co-Coaching Staff of the Year along with the staff at William Smith.
Junior Kara McDuffee was also a unanimous First Team selection, joining only Vassar's Cydni Matsuoka, the league's Player of the Year for the second straight season, as the lone unanimous all-league choices. Senior Kelly Legg earned Honorable Mention, finishing her career as a four-time all-conference selection.Dalton had a major impact in the league her first season, as she was the top scoring and rebounding rookie conference play at 8.5 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. She shot 39.4% from the field (43-109) and 32.6% from the arc (15-46) and was second in the league in blocks per game (1.7). Defensively, Dalton played a significant role as a post in her help-side defense on a team that finished number one in points allowed. She was also named to the league's All-Rookie squad.
"I knew Caroline would be an impact player in our league and on our team. She did a great job this season and was a major contributor as a first-year for the top team in the league," said Coach Roiger. "She is still just learning the college game, and will become even better as time goes on. She has great instincts and an excellent understanding of basketball."
Roiger guided St. Lawrence to the 2014 Liberty League regular season title behind a 14-2 conference mark, earning Coaching Staff of the Year for the second time at St. Lawrence. It is the fourth straight year that the Saints have won either the regular season or tournament title. The team was able to overcome several key injuries early, but rattled off a 15-2 run to close out the regular season and clinch the No. 1 seed.
"It is a nice honor that is a reflection of our team's success. This team overcame a lot of adversity this season, especially with injuries," added Coach Roiger. "We really had a great season and finished very strong culminating in a league championship on the last weekend in an exciting game. I would also like to recognize the great job that Devin did this year, she brought new ideas and had great insight in preparing for other teams."
McDuffee was one of the best all-around players in the Liberty League again this season, finishing sixth in scoring in conference play (14.6 ppg) while finishing second in rebounding (11.3) to average a double-double. She was in the top-20 in the league in assists, assist-to-turnover ratio, three point baskets, steals and blocks.
"No one in our league plays the whole game like Kara does. She plays both ends of the floor at full speed and never seems to run out of energy," said Coach Roiger. "Her flexibility is amazing. Not only can she play every position on the floor – and did for us in nearly every game – she plays each position at an All-Conference level. It was a great honor for her to be only one of two unanimous First-Team players."
Legg had another solid season, averaging 12.9 points per game while hauling in 8.1 rebounds per contest. She led the league in blocks by a wide margin with 71, breaking her own single-season record in that category. The Fairport, NY native finished her career as the all-time leader in blocks and field goals made and is second on the all-time scoring list.
"Kelly had an outstanding year this season. She worked hard to get in the best shape she could considering her previous injuries and had a great attitude," said Coach Roiger. "She is a tough cover in our league and a major matchup problem for opposing teams. I thought her passing this year in the middle of the season when teams started doubling her was a key turning point for our team as we could now shoot it or score inside, and teams had to pick their poison."
Matsuoka was the unanimous choice for Liberty League Player of the Year, while William Smith's Jacqueline Murphy was chosen as the Defensive Player of the Year. Chloe Hayter (William Smith), Tytravia Riley (Bard) and Courtney Tennant rounded out the conference's first team.