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Noud not finished yet at UCSD

Studious senior leads Tritons to Division II March madness
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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March madness involves more than bracket busters and buzzer beaters at UC San Diego. For once in her basketball career, Meaghan Noud is able to enjoy the Tritons' postseason ride without stressing about finals. Everybody around me is studying ” a lot of my teammates are taking finals on the road tomorrow, Noud said as she waited Wednesday to board a plane for Seattle, where the Tritons will play in the NCAA Division II West Regional on Friday. It's very stressful for everybody. Noud meanwhile is reaping the rewards of past years' hard work. Her rigorous pre-med academic load eased up this quarter as she took just one class. Her final is next Friday, when her undergraduate career will be over. The Bear River High graduate was able to focus on hoops and her future in medical school for most of the season. The 6-foot guard thrived under first-year coach Charity Elliot. On Wednesday, Noud was named to the NCAA Division II West Region All-Star second-team. She was previously selected to the all-California Collegiate Athletic Association first team. Noud leads the Tritons in scoring with 16.7 points per game. She is shooting better than 33 percent from 3-point range and 81 percent from the free throw line. Noud's long-range shooting has keyed the Tritons run to a 24-9 record and the fourth seed at the West Regional. She broke the school record for 3-pointers in a season earlier this year. She's hit 78 treys on the season. Her statistics are even more impressive considering she is preparing for her future as a doctor ” a taxing process even for students not involved in athletics. She's flown to Philadelphia and Chicago during the conference season for medical interviews, Elliot said of Noud. Just the pressure and stresses of that process are huge. That is her priority right now, but to still maintain what she's done on the court, it's borderline unbelievable. Noud's career almost fizzled out early on at UCSD. She did not make the team after trying out her first two years at the school. She made the team and started three games as a redshirt sophomore. Last season she was the Tritons' top scorer off the bench, backing up all-American Leora Juster. As a senior, she's emerged as a true leader on and off the court. My role has changed drastically each year, Noud said. I think I've improved and our team has improved this season. When you get more exposure and more experience as a player I think that helps a lot. I feel that's the biggest factor for me. Elliot didn't know what to expect from Noud. The first-year coach believed in the senior and was rewarded for her faith. She's far exceeded my expectations, Elliot said. She's a great shooter, but she's become more multi-faceted. She's really adapted to how teams have played her. Noud was the Pioneer Valley League's most valuable player as a senior, leading the Bruins to an undefeated league campaign. The Tritons took second to Chico State in the CCAA tournament last week, but Noud believes her team is capable of defending its 2007 West Region title, which it won in San Diego. We're not at home this year and we're not seeded first, but we have as good a chance as anybody up there, she said. I don't think we're scared of anybody. I think we have the confidence it takes, it's just a matter of consistency ” you have to play your best game three times in a row. UCSD is seeded fourth and will take on Cal State San Bernardino in Friday's opening round. The Tritons have beaten the Coyotes twice already this season. It's a bittersweet time for Noud, whose undergraduate studies and basketball career will both come to an end within the next two weeks. She's been accepted to Chicago Medical School and is waiting to hear from UCSD and UC Irvine before she decides where she'll spend the next four years studying. Noud hopes to spend the rest of the school year in San Diego, soaking in the remnants of a brilliant and busy career as a student-athlete. I definitely want to hang around campus and enjoy San Diego a little longer, she said. I'll try to stay in shape, go to the gym and pretend like I'm still on the team.