DePaul Senior Day Honors Pierson and Naughton

CHICAGO- This past Saturday, DePaul University honored women's basketball players Rachel Pierson and Deirdre Naughton as part of its annual Senior Day.

Rachel Pierson, a 6'3" center who played her high school ball at Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis, transferred to DePaul from Iowa State after playing one full season for the Cyclones in 2005-06. Her 2006-07 season ended after just one game due to season ending back surgery.

After sitting out the 2007-08 season due to NCAA transfer guidelines, Pierson saw action for DePaul in the first 10 games of the 2008-09 season before her back problems ended her collegiate basketball career.

During those 10 games she had a career high 18 points on 7-11 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in 15 minutes of play versus Southern Illinois. She shot 56% from the floor and 90% from the line during her time at DePaul.

Pierson was named to the 2008-09 Big East All-Academic Team.

Naughton, a 5'10" guard from New Trier H.S., began her collegiate career at Wake Forest. During her freshman year she scored in double figures in all but two games. She scored a career high 37 points versus Savannah State.

After sitting out the 2006-07 season, Naughton made a forceful debut at DePaul, scoring 23 points versus Southern Illinois. She averaged 15.1 ppg her sophomore year. Naughton notched 19 points versus UConn in a 77-76 loss to the then-top ranked Huskies.

Her scoring average increased to 15.5 ppg her junior year as she helped lead DePaul to one of its seven straight NCAA tournament appearances. She scored 35 points against Hartford in the DePaul Invitational title game, an effort that earned her tournament MVP honors.

Naughton entered the 2009-10 season as an AP All-America Honorable Mention nominee. She earned MVP honors in the inaugural Maggie Dixon Classic, scoring 24 points in the title game versus San Diego.

Then, just three days after her performance at the Maggie Dixon Classic, she tore her right ACL and was lost for the season.

But lost doesn't always mean gone.

Even from the sidelines, Naughton continues to personify what makes great athletes great: making those around her better.

"When something is taken away from you, like it was taken away from Deirdre through injury, you really became selfish in self pity," DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said. "Deirdre Naughton has helped everyone on this team. She has been a great teammate and a very positive teammate. She has helped the team and has done everything she could do, given that she could not do anything with us physically. She has been a great mental and verbal support system for this team."

One of her teammates, freshman Anna Martin, offered this on Naughton's influence.

"Deirdre has meant a lot to me this year. There have been times during this season where I have become frustrated after games, or I have felt like I have not been performing to my potential, and she is always right there telling me to keep my head up. She is texting me all the time telling me "you're a great player, you just have to believe in yourself."

Naughton has applied to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.

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