April 4, 2015
TAMPA — For the fifth consecutive season, the University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team is represented on the prestigious Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Coaches’ All-America Team, with junior guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) earning her second All-America nod in as many years, it was announced Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
Loyd becomes the third player in program history to be selected multiple times for the WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team along with three-time recipient Skylar Diggins (2011-13) and two-time choice Kayla McBride (2013-14), with Ruth Riley (2001) and Jacqueline Batteast (2005) being the other Notre Dame cagers who have received the accolade.
With Saturday’s award, Loyd becomes the 13th Notre Dame basketball player of either gender to be a consensus first-team All-American (and the fourth consecutive season a Fighting Irish women’s basketball player has earned that status). Loyd adds this latest honor to prior first-team selections from the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), espnW and the Wooden Award, joining Riley (2001), Diggins (2012 and 2013) and McBride (2014) as fourth Fighting Irish women’s basketball players to pull off this remarkable feat.
Loyd also was an All-America selection last season, although she split the 2013-14 honors between first and second teams from various outlets including the AP (second team), USBWA (first team) and espnW (second team).
Loyd was among 10 players selected from a group of 52 finalists for the 2015 WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team, joining Duke’s Elizabeth Williams as the two Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) representatives on this year’s squad. The ACC, American Athletic (three) and Big Ten (two) were the only leagues with multiple WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team selections this season, with the others coming from the Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences.
Saturday’s announcement is the most recent late-season award for Loyd, who also was a WBCA all-region selection and was tabbed the ACC Player of the Year last month. Loyd also was chosen as the espnW National Player of the Year, and she is a finalist for numerous other national player-of-the-year awards, including the Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award and Dawn Staley Award.
Along with taking the ACC’s top individual award, Loyd garnered first-team all-ACC and All-ACC Defensive Team honors. In addition, for the second year in a row, Loyd was named the Most Valuable Player of the ACC Championship, becoming the seventh two-time ACC Championship MVP in conference history and the second Notre Dame player to be a two-time conference tournament MVP after Krissi Davis at the 1989 and 1991 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Tournaments.
Loyd was a four-time ACC Player of the Week this season, tying Jacqueline Batteast’s 2004-05 program record for conference player-of-the-week selections in one year (Batteast did so while playing in BIG EAST), while being the first ACC player to pull off that feat since 2011-12, when Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas was a four-time honoree.
Loyd has started all 37 games this season, averaging career highs of 19.9 points and 3.1 assists per game, plus 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game with two double-doubles. She also leads the ACC with 19 20-point games this season (second-most in school history), while her school-record four 30-point games likewise has set the ACC standard this year.
A consensus preseason first-team All-America pick, Loyd ranks among the top 15 in the ACC in four statistical categories — scoring (2nd – also 26th in nation), free-throw percentage (7th – career-best .821), assists (12th) and assist/turnover ratio (12th – career-high 1.20). In conference play, she finished fourth in the ACC in scoring (19.0 ppg.) and free-throw percentage (.829), as well as 10th in assist/turnover ratio (1.16), 11th in assists (3.1 apg.) and 15th in steals (1.6 spg.).
Loyd, who ranks second on Notre Dame’s single-season scoring list with 738 points and has scored in double figures in 79 of her last 80 games (36 of 37 this season), has been at her best when the stakes have been highest, averaging 23.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals in 13 games against Top 25 teams this season. In those 13 contests, she has scored at least 20 points 10 times, including three 30-point outings — career-high and school record-tying 41 points at No. 25 DePaul on Dec. 10, 34 points vs. No. 5/6 Tennessee on Jan. 19 at Purcell Pavilion, and 31 points against No. 3 Connecticut on Dec. 6, also at Purcell Pavilion
No. 2 Notre Dame (35-2) will make its fifth consecutive NCAA Women’s Final Four appearance, and seventh in program history, when it plays No. 3/4 South Carolina (champions of the Greensboro Regional) in the NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinals at 6:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday at Amalie Arena in Tampa. All NCAA Women’s Final Four games will be televised live on ESPN, as well as ESPN3/WatchESPN (blackout rules may apply). In addition, radio coverage will be available in South Bend on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1), nationally on the Westwood One/NCAA Radio Network (check local listings for availability) and free of charge worldwide online through the official Notre Dame athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv).
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, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director