Feb. 18, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame junior forward Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) has been chosen as one of 20 finalists for the 2004 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award, it was announced Tuesday afternoon by Jackie Bradford, President of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. With Tuesday’s selection, Batteast remains poised to become the second Irish player in four years to win college basketball’s most coveted award, following in the footsteps of All-America center Ruth Riley, who claimed the honor in 2001.
Batteast is averaging 14.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game with eight double-doubles this season, while leading Notre Dame to a 16-8 record and a second-place standing in the BIG EAST Conference with a 9-3 mark. The talented Irish wing has been at her best against top competition this year, averaging 14.9 points and 8.6 rebounds with three double-doubles and three near double-doubles against nine ranked opponents. Batteast’s best effort against a Top 25 team came on Jan. 13 when she piled up 23 points and 11 rebounds to help Notre Dame knock off No. 4 Connecticut, 66-51 at the Joyce Center.
Batteast currently ranks among the Top 10 in the BIG EAST in scoring (10th), rebounding (fifth), field goal percentage (10th), blocked shots (seventh) and double-doubles (second). She also was a preseason all-BIG EAST First Team selection and was named to the WBCA Classic All-Tournament Team on Nov. 15 after averaging 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds with a .529 field goal percentage against nationally-ranked Auburn and Colorado.
For her career, Batteast ranks 16th in school history in scoring (1,149 points), sixth in scoring average (14.0 ppg.), 10th in rebounding (669) and second in rebounding average (8.2 rpg.). She also owns an active streak of 56 consecutive games started, dating back to the beginning of last year, and she has started 78 of a possible 82 games in her college career.
The Naismith Award winner will be honored in Atlanta on April 9. The Naismith Awards program was founded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club and is in its 36th year of recognizing top college basketball players in the United States.
— ND —