Duke's Lindsey Harding Named ACC Player of the Year
Feb. 28, 2007
By JOEDY McCREARY
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Lindsey Harding took care of two major goals in two days.
The Duke guard was named the Atlantic Coast Conference's player of the year Wednesday, a day after she won her second consecutive defensive player of the year award.
The two honors gave Harding a sense of satisfaction after she recalled an early-season meeting with coach Gail Goestenkors in which she was required to list three personal goals.
"At the beginning of the year, my three goals were, I wanted to be an All-American, I wanted to be ACC player of the year and I wanted to be the ACC defensive player of the year," Harding said. "Knowing that I have two, it feels really good to have it."
Harding received 48 of a possible 55 votes by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association to finish ahead of last year's player of the year, North Carolina guard Ivory Latta (5 votes). Duke teammate Alison Bales and Maryland's Crystal Langhorne had one vote apiece.
Harding established herself as the face of a Duke team which set school and ACC records by finishing the regular season 29-0 and returning to No. 1 in the national rankings.
She led the Blue Devils with 113 assists, while also proving that she's a capable scorer who is scoring 14.4 points per game.
She had 20 of her career-high 29 points two weeks ago in the first half of a key road victory at Maryland, a month after setting her previous high of 28 points against the defending national champion Terrapins.
Harding also established herself as worthy of assuming the mantle of excellence previously held by go-to players Alana Beard -- the only Duke women's player whose number is retired -- and Monique Currie, but with an intriguing twist: Harding is the rare star who plays her best by involving the other Blue Devils.
"She's always been the consummate point guard in that she's always wanted to make her teammates better," Goestenkors said. "This year the change was for her to score more, but she understands that for her to do her job properly, everybody has to be a part of our scoring and feel needed and important in our offenses."
Now Harding's goal is to place a banner in the Cameron Indoor Stadium rafters after winning a national title. After coming tantalizingly close but ultimately falling short in the national championship game last year, Harding is refusing to settle for less.
"All these accolades, it's great. I've worked extremely hard from Day 1," Harding said. "But this is a team sport, and what's more important to me is to win a championship. Not just for me, but for this school, to put it on a map with the elite."
Voting for the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, as conducted by 55 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association:
Player of the Year Voting