South Xtra: Wash High grad steals the show for Dukes
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Duquesne's Jocelyn Floyd grabbed an offensive rebound and in a fluid motion put it back for a basket.
Moments later she stepped in front of a crosscourt pass, dribbled down the floor and flipped a pass to a teammate for a fastbeak layup.
With the outcome still in doubt late in a recent 62-57 victory against James Madison, she hit a short jumper to keep the Dukes in front.
Those sequences best illustrated Floyd's contributions for the Dukes, who are 9-1 and on an eight-game winning streak that ties a school record for longest in a season.
But numbers alone can't define her value.
"She's our 'X' factor," Duquesne coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said of Floyd, a 5-foot-8 senior from Washington High School. "She has a presence on the floor and impacts the game at both ends. She competes and does what it takes to help us win."
Floyd, a three-year starter, is having her finest season with averages of 8.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and a nation-leading 5.3 steals per game.
"She's just someone who fills up the stat sheet," McConnell-Serio said. "She's very perceptive about things we want to do."
Floyd doesn't fit the mold for a position. She's not a pure point guard, or a shooting guard or a power forward.
"She's just a player," McConnell-Serio said. "She makes plays at both ends of the floor."
Floyd has been an integral part of Duquesne's success under McConnell-Serio, whose Dukes have won at least 20 games each season and reached the WNIT for the first 20-win seasons and postseason appearances in school history last season.
"But," Floyd quickly points out, "we haven't made it to the NCAAs yet."
She is optimistic that this team will make Duquesne's first trip to the NCAA tournament, a goal the players and coaches have set and talked about.
"I think this is our year," she said. "Everyone has been working so hard and everyone is ready to help take us there. We've been close and we've had some big wins throughout the years. We've proven ourselves."
Floyd said four consecutive victories against crosstown rival Pitt have been special because, "it's important to say we're City champions four years in a row."
As the lone senior in the starting lineup, Floyd has embraced her role as team leader.
"Coach is looking for more leadership from me," Floyd said. "I try to talk when they ask me stuff and I try to keep them motivated and keep them calm. We do have a lot of trust in each other and confidence in each other. We've been playing with each other for a while and we're a lot closer than we've been."
McConnell-Serio added, "Jocelyn isn't always vocal, but when she is, her teammates listen."
And there's never a question that the players listen to McConnell-Serio, whose resume includes winning at every level of basketball as a player and coach -- high school, college, professional and the Olympics.
"She understands the game that much better because she's been a player and she knows where we're coming from," Floyd said. "She gets on us ... in a good way."
First Published December 20, 2012 12:00 am