March 1, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the third time this season, Notre Dame junior guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) has been named to the BIG EAST Conference Women’s Basketball Weekly Honor Roll, the league office announced Monday. Novosel, who previously garnered Honor Roll citations on Nov. 29 and Feb. 7, was one of five players chosen for this week’s honor (also the third of her career), which recognizes outstanding weekly achievements by conference players who are not chosen as the BIG EAST Player of the Week.
In three games last week, Novosel averaged 16.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game as Notre Dame posted two wins in those three outings, two of which came on the road against ranked opponents.
Last Tuesday in a 72-60 win at No. 19/18 West Virginia, Novosel poured in a game-high 22 points (her first career 20-point outing in BIG EAST play) on 7-of-13 shooting and a perfect 8-of-8 night at the foul line, while nabbing seven rebounds for good measure. She then scored 11 points and added three steals in last Saturday’s 66-48 Senior Day victory over Cincinnati at Purcell Pavilion.
Novosel closed out the week (and the 2010-11 regular season) with a stirring 17-point, seven-rebound performance on Monday in a last-second 70-69 loss at No. 12/11 DePaul, scoring 11 of her 17 points in the second half and assisting on the apparent game-winning layup by senior forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) with 28 seconds left. It marked the third time this season Novosel has factored into (either scored or assisted on) a potential game-winning shot in the final 30 seconds against a ranked opponent, having hit go-ahead baskets in the final half-minute against No. 15 UCLA (lost 86-83 in double overtime on Nov. 18 at Purcell Pavilion) and No. 2 Connecticut (lost 79-76 on Jan. 8, also at Purcell Pavilion).
Novosel currently leads Notre Dame in scoring at 15.0 points per game, tripling her scoring average from a year ago. She also is second on the team with 60 steals (2.0 spg.) and a .373 three-point percentage — both of which are career highs — while placing third on the squad in free throw percentage (career-high .779) and fourth in assists (career-best 2.0 apg.). She also ranks among the BIG EAST leaders in scoring (seventh), free throw percentage (sixth) and steals (11th). During conference play, she placed among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in scoring (ninth – 14.4 ppg.), steals (tied-12th – 1.8 spg.) and free throw percentage (15th – .755).
Novosel is the second Fighting Irish player to cop multiple BIG EAST weekly honors for Notre Dame this season, joining Peters, who also was a three-time Honor Roll selection, while sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) earned that distinction twice this year in addition to claiming BIG EAST Player of the Week status on Feb. 14. That trio highlights the exceptional balance on this year’s Fighting Irish roster, which has featured at least one conference weekly award recipient from all four classes — freshman forward Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, Ontario/St. Mary’s Catholic) was named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Dec. 13.
No. 7/8 Notre Dame (24-6, 13-3) finished the regular season tied for second in the BIG EAST standings, its eighth top-two finish in 16 years as a conference member. The Fighting Irish are seeded third for the 16-team conference tournament and will have a “double bye” into the quarterfinal round, which tips off Sunday in Hartford, Conn., at the XL Center. Notre Dame will play at 8 p.m. (ET) Sunday against the winner of the second-round tournament game between No. 6 seed Louisville and the first-round winner between No. 11 seed Providence and No. 14 seed Villanova.The Fighting Irish quarterfinal game will be televised live to a national cable audience on ESPNU, and it also can be heard live on the radio in the Michiana area on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1), as well as worldwide on the Internet at www.UND.com.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter pages (www.twitter.com/ndwbbsid or www.twitter.com/notredamewbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women’s basketball page at UND.com.
— ND —