Notre Dame will be playing host to NCAA Championship early-round games for the third time in four seasons in 2012. This past March, the Fighting Irish defeated Cleveland State, 86-58, and Vermont, 84-66 (the latter behind a career-high 31 points from guard Skylar Diggins, pictured) to book their eighth trip tp the NCAA Sweet 16 in the past 14 years.

Diggins Named To State Farm Wade Trophy Preseason Watch List

Aug. 4, 2010

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) is among a group of 25 players who have been named to the 2010-11 preseason “Wade Watch” list for the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year, it was announced Wednesday by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). Diggins becomes the sixth Fighting Irish player named to the “Wade Watch” list in the past eight seasons, and the third in the past four years, following in the recent footsteps of Charel Allen (2007-08) and Lindsay Schrader (2009-10).

“This is a well-deserved honor for Skylar, especially in light of the success she had as a freshman last year,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “She has a tremendous competitive drive and her work ethic is also exceptional, and with a full year of college under her belt, I would expect that she will continue to grow and develop as a major contributor for our program. Her future is very bright and we are excited to see what lies down the road, not only for Skylar, but for our entire team next season.”

As a freshman in ’09-10, Diggins was an Associated Press and State Farm Coaches’ honorable mention All-America choice, in addition to earning second-team all-BIG EAST plaudits and a unanimous selection to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team. Those honors came following one of the finest rookie seasons in the 33-year history of Fighting Irish women’s basketball, with Diggins becoming the first freshman in 17 seasons to lead Notre Dame in scoring and the first Fighting Irish rookie in 16 years to top 100 assists in her debut season. What’s more, she finished as just the third player in program history (and the first freshman) to log 400 points, 100 assists and 75 steals in a single season, joining a pair of All-Americans and Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (top senior in the nation 5-foot-8 and under) recipients — current Notre Dame assistant coach Niele Ivey (2000-01) and Megan Duffy (2004-05) — in achieving that distinction.

Diggins led Notre Dame in scoring (13.9 ppg.), steals (2.6 spg.) and assists (tied – 3.2 apg.) last season, while ranking third on the squad in three-point percentage (.350) and free throw percentage (.782). She also chalked up a team-high 24 double-digit scoring games, including seven 20-point outings, capped by a season-high 31 points against Vermont in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Purcell Pavilion. That scoring effort was the highest ever recorded by a Fighting Irish rookie in NCAA postseason play, while her 13 field goals made tied the program record for an NCAA tournament game.

In 2009-10, Diggins set Notre Dame freshman records for steals (90), free throws made (111), free throws attempted (142) and minutes played (1,028), while ranking among the top five on the Fighting Irish rookie charts for points (3rd – 484), scoring average (tied/4th – 13.8 ppg.), field goals made (3rd – 169), field goals attempted (3rd – 385), three-point field goals made (4th – 35), three-point attempts (5th – 100), three-point percentage (5th – .350), assists (3rd – 112), steals per game (2nd – 2.6 spg.), games started (tied/2nd – 30), games played (2nd – 35) and minutes per game (5th – 29.4).

Diggins is one of just four sophomores on the 2010-11 preseason “Wade Watch” list, along with Elena Delle Donne (Delaware), Brittney Griner (Baylor) and Sugar Rodgers (Georgetown). Collectively, the BIG EAST Conference and the Southeastern Conference had the most players selected for the list with four each — Connecticut’s Tiffany Hayes and Maya Moore (the 2009 and 2010 State Farm Wade Trophy recipient) join Diggins and Rodgers in representing the BIG EAST.

The renowned “Wade Watch” list for the State Farm Wade Trophy is comprised of student-athletes who are members of an NCAA Division I institution and are selected based on the following criteria: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability. The “Wade Watch” list will be narrowed down to 12 finalists in mid-March. The 2011 State Farm Wade Trophy recipient officially will be announced at the WBCA National Convention, held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four, in Indianapolis.

The Wade Trophy, named after the late, legendary three-time national champion Delta State University head coach Lily Margaret Wade, debuted in 1978 as the first-ever women’s national player of the year award in college basketball. The Wade Trophy Coalition was established in June of 2000 when the WBCA partnered with The National Association of Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS). For the past 10 years, the two have worked together to present the State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year Award. A committee compromised of coaches, administration and media from across the United States selects the winner.

Diggins is one of two starters and eight monogram winners who will be returning for Notre Dame in 2010-11, joined by a three-player freshman class that has been ranked as high as ninth in the country by some media outlets. The Fighting Irish are coming off a 29-6 season that saw them rise to No. 3 in the national polls and advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the eighth time in the past 14 years.

— ND —

NOTE: For a complete list of the players named to the 2010-11 preseason “Wade Watch” list, please CLICK HERE to read the official WBCA press release.