March 26, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the third time in the past month, Notre Dame junior guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) has been named a finalist for a major national player-of-the-year award, as the Fighting Irish standout is among 12 remaining candidates for the 2015 Wade Trophy, which is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding NCAA Division I women’s basketball player. The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and SHAPE America, the two organizations that coordinate the award, along with the Wade Trophy Committee, announced this year’s 12 finalists on Thursday.
Loyd, who is a Wade Trophy finalist for the second year in a row and earlier this month, was chosen as a finalist for the Naismith Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award, is looking to become the first Notre Dame player to earn the Wade Trophy — Ruth Riley (2001), Skylar Diggins (2013) and Kayla McBride (2014) are the only other Fighting Irish cagers to be chosen as finalists for the Wade Trophy.
Joining Loyd on this year’s rundown of Wade Trophy contenders are: Brittany Boyd (California), Nina Davis (Baylor), Reshanda Gray (California), Dearica Hamby (Wake Forest), Brittany Hrynko (DePaul), Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Connecticut), Breanna Stewart (Connecticut), Courtney Williams (South Florida), Elizabeth Williams (Duke) and Amanda Zahui B. (Minnesota).
Combined with Hamby and Elizabeth Williams, Loyd gives the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) a full one-quarter of the 12 Wade Trophy finalists, matching the American Athletic Conference for the most players on this year’s list, and one of just three leagues with multiple finalists (the Pac-12 Conference has two).
The 2015 finalists were selected by a vote of the Wade Trophy Committee, whose members consist of leading basketball coaches, journalists and administrators. This committee also will select the recipient of the 2015 Wade Trophy from among these 12 finalists who also are named to the 10-member WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team when it is chosen in April. The Wade Trophy recipient will be announced during the WBCA Awards Show at 5:30 p.m. ET April 6 in the Grand Ballroom at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel in Tampa, Florida. The event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four.
Thursday’s announcement is the latest in a recent spate of awards for Loyd, who was tabbed the ACC Player of the Year earlier this 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 Dawn Staley Award (nation’s top guard) and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year 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 35 games this season, averaging career highs of 20.1 points and 3.1 assists per game, plus 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game with two double-doubles. She also leads the ACC with 18 20-point games this season (tied for second-most in school history), while her school-record four 30-point games likewise 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 25th in nation), free-throw percentage (6th – career-best .828), assists (11th) and assist/turnover ratio (12th – career-high 1.21). 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 704 points and has scored in double figures in 77 of her last 78 games (34 of 35 this season), has been at her best when the stakes have been highest, averaging 24.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 11 games against Top 25 teams this season. In those 11 contests, she has scored at least 20 points nine 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 (33-2) has advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championship for the sixth consecutive season and the seventh time in eight years. The top-seeded Fighting Irish will take on fourth-seeded (and No. 14/17-ranked) Stanford in the NCAA Oklahoma City Regional semifinals at approximately 10 p.m. (ET) Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The game will be televised live on ESPN and the WatchESPN app.
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— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director