Nov. 23, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame freshman guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) has been selected as the first BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week for the 2009-10 women’s college basketball season, it was announced Monday by the conference office. In addition, senior guard/tri-captain Ashley Barlow (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) was tapped for the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll after both players helped the No. 5/6 Fighting Irish tip off the year with three consecutive victories, including a one-point win at No. 21 Michigan State last Thursday.
Diggins is the first Notre Dame player to earn BIG EAST Freshman of the Week honors since current sophomore guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) copped the second of her two awards last season on Jan. 12, 2009. Meanwhile, Barlow collects her fourth career BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll citation, having previously been chosen twice as a sophomore (Dec. 17, 2007 and Jan. 21, 2008), and most recently during her junior year (Nov. 24, 2008).
In her first week as a collegian, Diggins averaged 13.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game in a reserve role, logging 24.3 minutes per contest. She opened her career with 14 points (on 6-of-10 shooting), eight rebounds, five assists and four steals in a Nov. 15 home win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, before coming back with nine points, including 7-of-8 free throws and a clutch baseline jumper with under three minutes left at Michigan State. On Sunday afternoon, Diggins tossed in a game-high 17 points against Iona at Purcell Pavilion, while adding four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Barlow averaged 13.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game with a .429 three-point percentage (6-of-14) last week, leading Notre Dame in scoring and ranking second in steals, three-point percentage and free throw percentage (.733). After logging 15 points in 16 minutes vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Barlow played a major role in the win at MSU, scoring a team-high 18 points and adding seven rebounds, knocking down three three-pointers in the first five minutes of play, then coming back to hit the tie-breaking free throw with 10 seconds left, giving the Irish a 68-67 win. She capped her opening week by recording her ninth career five-steal game in Sunday’s victory over Iona, tacking on eight points, five rebounds and three assists for good measure.
The Fighting Irish (3-0) depart Tuesday morning for the U.S. Virgin Islands, where they will compete in the 10th annual Paradise Jam. Notre Dame opens the tournament on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) when it squares off with No. 23 San Diego State at 3:15 p.m. ET (4:15 p.m. local) at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports & Fitness Center in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. The Fighting Irish also will take on South Carolina (Friday, 1 p.m. ET) and No. 20/16 Oklahoma (Saturday, 3:15 p.m. ET) during the three-day event, with every tournament game scheduled to be televised live on the Internet by Fox College Sports at http://www.b2livetv.com/partner_members.asp?id=306. Games are broadcast on a pay-per-view basis at a cost of $8 per game or $49 for the entire tournament with veteran broadcaster Brenda VanLengen on the call — more information also is available at www.foxcollegesports.com.
— ND —