Former Notre Dame All-America guard Jewell Loyd is the first Fighting Irish player chosen as the WNBA Rookie of the Year, earning that honor Thursday afternoon. She and Natalie Achonwa ('14) also made the WNBA All-Rookie Team, giving Notre Dame four such honorees in the past three seasons.

Loyd Takes WNBA's Top Rookie Prize in July

Aug. 3, 2015

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – It took a few games in the WNBA for Jewell Loyd to get her pro engine running. Now, the former University of Notre Dame All-American has her motor humming and is taking the Fighting Irish women’s basketball program into uncharted territory.

Midway through her first season with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Loyd became the second straight Notre Dame All-American to earn WNBA Rookie of the Month honors, receiving that award for her efforts during the month of July, the league announced as part of the WNBA Performance Awards program, presented by Samsung.

Loyd follows former Fighting Irish All-America forward Natalie Achonwa (’14), who was the WNBA Rookie of the Month for June while playing for the Indiana Fever. This marks the first time in league history one school has produced two different WNBA Rookie of the Month selections in consecutive months, let alone two players who play entirely different floor positions.

“I’m happy to see that Jewell is getting comfortable in Seattle’s system,” said Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame’s Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach. “She’s an extremely gifted player and I’m sure this will be the first of many awards she will earn during her WNBA career.”

Last month, Loyd led all WNBA rookies in points (10.5 per game) and minutes (28.1 per game), placed second in three-point field-goal percentage (.462, 6-for-13) and free-throw percentage (.939, 31-for-33), and tied for fourth in assists (1.7 per game). The Lincolnwood, Illinois, native also ranked third among all WNBA players in free-throw percentage, and she scored in double figures five times last month, including 16 points in a 70-60 loss at defending WNBA champion Phoenix on July 12, and 15 points in a 88-65 loss at Indiana on July 8, and 13 points, four assists, four rebounds, and two steals in a 68-61 win over visiting Los Angeles on July 15.

Loyd was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, making her the first Fighting Irish player to earn that honor and Notre Dame the first school in history to produce lottery (top-four) picks in four straight WNBA drafts (2012-15). This season, Loyd is tied with Achonwa for the league lead in scoring by rookies (8.9 ppg.). Loyd also ranks among the top five WNBA rookies in free-throw percentage (fourth – .875), rebounds (fifth ââ’¬” 3.4 rpg.) and minutes played (first ââ’¬” 25.2 mpg.). Overall, she ranks second on the Storm in minutes and third in scoring.

Loyd and her Seattle teammates return to action at 8 p.m. (ET) Saturday when they face former Notre Dame All-American and 2015 WNBA All-Star Kayla McBride (’14) and the San Antonio Stars at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be televised live to a national cable audience on NBA TV, as well as regionally on Fox Sports Southwest.

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– Chris Masters, Athletics Communications Associate Director