Duke’s Harding named ACC’s top defender

Published 11:43 am Wednesday, February 28, 2007

By By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer
DURHAM — Freshman Monica Wright made quite an impression this season as one of Virginia’s top scoring threats. Duke’s Lindsey Harding once again proved nobody in the Atlantic Coast Conference was better at stopping scorers.
Both were honored Tuesday for outstanding seasons.
Wright was the unanimous choice for ACC rookie of the year, while Harding was named the league’s best defensive player for the second straight season.
Wright, an eight-time selection as the league’s rookie of the week, was the top rookie scorer in the league with 14.9 points a game and led Virginia with 67 steals.
She was joined on the all-freshman team by LeLe Hardy and Christy Brown of Clemson, Florida State’s Jacinta Monroe and Wake Forest’s Mekia Valentine.
Joining Harding on the all-defensive team are Duke teammate Alison Bales, Florida State’s Alicia Gladden, North Carolina State’s Ashley Key and North Carolina’s Camille Little.
The rookie of the year and all-freshman team were determined by a vote of 55 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. The league’s 12 coaches voted determined the defensive player of the year and the all-defensive team.
Wright played at a consistently high level all season, leading the Cavaliers in scoring nine times. She fell one rookie-of-the-week award shy of the conference record of nine set by Wake Forest’s Tracy Connor in 1992-93.
Wright’s biggest confidence boost came in the seventh game of her career on Nov. 29 when Virginia played Temple in the return of former Cavaliers All-American Dawn Staley, the Owls’ coach. Wright finished with a career-high 26 points.
Harding was selected to the all-defensive team for the third time, and is the leader on a Duke defense that ranks second nationally by allowing an average of 50.3 points a game. She has 42 steals, bringing her career total to 251.
Bales leads the nation with 131 blocked shots. Key and Gladden joined Harding as three-time defensive team selections.