St. Joseph’s senior Mackenzie Dufour plays at just two speeds on a basketball court.
“Fast and faster,” St. Joseph’s coach Mark McDevitt said. “She’s just that kind of player. She just goes and goes.”
And St. Joseph’s is proving tough to stop in the early going as a result.
Mackenzie, an Augusta native and former Cony standout, is a four-year starter at point guard for the Monks (7-3), who open Great Northeast Athletic Conference play this weekend.
The 5-foot-2 guard has started all 10 games, averaging 23.3 minutes. She is averging 5.6 points a game, fourth on the team.
However, McDevitt said Dufour’s contributions stretch well beyond the scoresheet.
“She provides so much,” he said. “Just with her overall play. She just infused us with a high level of energy. She’s quick and aggressive. She sacrifices some scoring for the good of the team, but she is a true floor general.”
Dufour, a biology major, acknowledges she is a pass-first player. She averages 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals a game. She also leads the team at the foul line, where she is shooting 81.3 percent.
“My role is pretty much a playmaker,” she said. “It’s what I like to do. I like to distribute. I’ll do whatever it takes to benefit the team. I’m such a playmaking-minded player, although I have been getting to the foul line more. I know I could shoot more but I am taking more 3-pointers. I just want to be that player who nobody wants to guard.”
She also has played a key role in determing how the Monks prefer to play.
“She really allowed us to start thinking about playing a full-court game, both on offense and defense,” McDevitt said. “She really helped transform us into a transtional team on offense and a pressing team on defense. We like to press and be aggressive, and she is a big reason why. She’s just been very consistent these last four years.”
Added Dufour, a tri-captain: “I’ve been more defensive this year. I’ve been focused on getting those 10-second backcourt violations.”
The Monks finished 16-11 last season, including 9-3 in the conference. In 2011-12, they went 20-8 and lost in the conference championship game.
Dufour said the team is well-positioned to make another run at a conference title and a trip to the NCAA Division III tournament.
“We’re looking really strong,” she said. “We have a lot of potential. Our goal is to win the conference and go undefeated. It’s a pretty big goal. We do have the potential in getting it but it won’t be easy. The conference is always really tough but that is what we’re striving for.”