February 12, 2013

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS: Dufour gives it all for Monks

By Gary Hawkins ghawkins@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Mackenzie Dufour’s statistics aren’t overwhelming. The junior point guard for St. Joseph’s College in Standish averages 4.7 points and 3.2 assists a game. You really have to see Dufour play to appreciate what she means to the team, and her contributions  begin on defense.

click image to enlarge

LEAVING IT ALL ON THE COURT: Cony High School graduate Mackenzie Dufour averages 4.7 points, 3.2 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game for St. Joseph’s.

Photo by David Bates of fotografixstudio.com

“She’s our defensive leader,” Monks coach Mike McDevitt said. “She allows us to pick up full-court. At times, she’s a one-person press. She’s going to play 94 feet.”

One of Dufour’s statistics does stand out. She’s started every game since arriving on campus three years ago, a remarkable stat considering she stands just 5-foot-1 and weighs 108 pounds.

“I’ve been lucky,” Dufour said. “I haven’t had any major injuries. The only ones I’ve had to play through are a couple of sprained ankles.”

Dufour had only planned on playing at St. Joe’s for two years before transferring to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. But she has since changed her major to pre-phsyican’s assistant, which will allow her to finish her basketball career for the Monks.

“I wasn’t ready to stop playing basketball yet,” she said. “Also the pharmacy field has changed a whole lot.”

The Monks are not as successful as they have been the past two seasons. They are 12-10 overall and 6-3 in the Greater North Atlantic Conference. But they have a good shot at a home playoff game and their style of play this season is a good fit for Dufour’s game since the Monks press nearly the entire game.

“This year we’re more of a guard oriented team,” she said. “(Since) freshman year I’ve always been in a full-court press, even when I was a solo presser. This year we press the whole game.”

McDevitt has cut Dufour’s minutes to an average of 24 a game this season, down considerably from her freshman year when she led the team with well over 30. That allows her to stay fresh, although she only knows how to play one way.

“She never quits,” McDevitt said. “She’s going to give 100 percent.”

McDevitt would like Dufour to shoot more. She’s developed a reliable outside shot through hours of practice on The Gun, a shooting machine that allows her to put up over 300 shots a session.

“He’s been on my case to shoot more, but I’ve always had the mentality of a playmaker,”  Dufour said.“I’ve been more aware of my assist to turnover ratio and I’ve seen that improve.”

Dufour got to play against her older sister Courtney when the Monks faced Maine Maritime Academy.

The two were teammates at Cony High School and contrast in styles, with Courtney concentrating on offense and 3-point shooting and Mackenzie working more on defense and passing.

“My whole family was there,” Mackenzie said. “It was definitely weird playing against her.”
Mackenzie said her older sister knows her moves, “but she surprises me.”

For the record, St. Joe’s won the game 67-50. Courtney scored nine points while Mackenzie scored seven and had four assists.

Dufour is thinking seriously about running track this spring for the Monks. She excelled as a sprinter at Cony and wants to give the dashes a shot. Again, size will hardly be an issue.

“I think people get caught up in her height,” McDevitt said. “She’s fearless, she always plays hard.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638
ghawkins@centralmaine.com

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