July 14, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Skylar Diggins, a four-time All-America selection at Notre Dame from 2009-13 and holder of more than 30 program records, has been selected as a starter for the Western Conference in the 2015 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) All-Star Game, the league announced Tuesday night. This year’s WNBA All-Star Game will be played at 3:30 p.m. (ET) July 25 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, and will be televised nationally on ABC.
A first-team all-WNBA selection last year with the Tulsa Shock, Diggins earned her second straight WNBA All-Star starting assignment after leading all Western Conference players with 15,895 votes, nearly doubling her nearest backcourt challenger, Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx (9,599 votes). Diggins also was second among all WNBA players in this year’s All-Star voting, trailing only Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky.
Diggins was voted a starter for this year’s WNBA All-Star Game through a fan balloting process that was coordinated both online (via WNBA.com) and through social media (Twitter and Facebook).
Diggins is the first Notre Dame alum to be chosen a two-time WNBA All-Star – 2001 graduate Ruth Riley was the program’s first All-Star selection when she earned the starting nod for the Eastern Conference in 2005). Last year, Diggins scored 27 points, second-most in WNBA All-Star Game history, including eight points in the final two minutes of regulation and the tying basket with 26.3 seconds left in the West’s 125-124 double-overtime loss to the East.
Diggins will not be able to participate in this year’s WNBA All-Star Game after suffering a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee on June 28. She successfully underwent surgery to repair the injury earlier this month.
Shortly after her injury, Diggins was named the WNBA Player of the Month for season’s opening month of June, ranking second among Western Conference players in scoring (17.8 points per game) and three-point field-goal percentage (.448 on 13-of-29 from behind the arc), and fourth in assists (5.0 assists per game). She also tied for fifth in the conference in steals (1.56 steals per game) and was sixth in free-throw percentage (.918, 45-of-49).
The South Bend native scored 20 or more points four times last month, including a season-high 31-point effort in a 93-89 victory over visiting Seattle on June 28 in which Tulsa tied its franchise record of eight consecutive wins. Diggins also poured in 26 points and added eight assists in an 86-78 win at Minnesota on June 21 as the Shock supplanted the Lynx for first place in the West at the time.
The 12 WNBA head coaches will select the reserves for this year’s All-Star Game by voting for six players within their own conference: two backcourt players, three frontcourt players, and a player from either position. Coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team. The league will announce the reserves during ESPN2’s national telecast of the Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury at 11 p.m. (ET) July 21.
In the case of players who are unable to play due to injury, WNBA President Laurel Richie will choose replacement players. The head coaches of the respective All-Star teams (the West’s Sandy Brondello and the East’s Pokey Chatman) will have the option to make changes to the starting lineup necessitated by injuries.
Three former Notre Dame All-Americans remain in contention for All-Star honors, led by forward Natalie Achonwa, who ranked fifth among all Eastern Conference frontcourt players with 3,779 votes – the top three vote-getters were named starters for this year’s game. Achonwa, who leads all WNBA rookies in scoring at 9.5 points per game and is third among league newcomers in rebounding (4.2 rpg.), was named the WNBA Rookie of the Month for June after a stellar opening month with the Indiana Fever.
In addition, guards Kayla McBride and Jewell Loyd are candidates for All-Star selections after placing sixth and seventh in the final Western Conference backcourt voting – McBride collected 3,537 votes, while Loyd garnered 2,911 votes.
Despite missing a handful of games with a foot injury, McBride leads the San Antonio Stars and ranks 14th in the WNBA in scoring (14.0 points per game). Meanwhile, Loyd, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft by the Seattle Storm, has blossomed after a slow start, now placing second among WNBA rookies in scoring (9.3 ppg.) after averaging 13.3 points in her last seven games, including a season-high 21 points in the June 28 loss at Tulsa that saw Diggins’ season come to a premature end.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter pages (@NDsidMasters or @ndwbb), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/ndwbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
– Chris Masters, Athletics Communications Associate Director