March 23, 2016
By Chris Masters
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the fifth time in program history (all within the past seven seasons), the University of Notre Dame women’s basketball program has three earn all-region status in the same season and now are in position to contend for places on the 2016 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Coaches’ All-America Team, it was announced Wednesday by the WBCA.
Sophomore forward Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas/Manvel) earned her second all-region citation in as many seasons, while junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen (Mitchellville, Md./St. John’s College) and graduate student guard Madison Cable (Mt. Lebanon, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) both garnered all-region honors for the first time in their respective careers.
Notre Dame was one of five schools in the nation – along with Baylor, Connecticut, Florida State and South Carolina – to have three players chosen for all-region accolades this season.
Notre Dame sophomore forward Brianna Turner earned WBCA all-region honors for the second consecutive season, adding to her All-America selections this year by Sports Illustrated (first team) and espnW (second team).
The Fighting Irish trio is among 52 all-region selections, and three of the 15 honorees on the WBCA’s All-Region I Team, which includes players from schools in the Atlantic Coast, America East and Atlantic 10 conferences, as well as the Patriot League. All told, 18 Fighting Irish players now have collected all-region laurels a total of 33 times in the program’s 39-year history.
Allen, Cable and Turner are seeking to join five other Notre Dame players who have earned a spot on the prestigious 10-member WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team during their careers, the most recent being Jewell Loyd in 2014 and 2015. Skylar Diggins was the first Fighting Irish player to be a multiple-time WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team pick, having earned the honor three times (2011, 2012, 2013), with Kayla McBride following suit as a member of the 2013 and 2014 WBCA Coaches’ All-America Teams.
In addition to Loyd, McBride and Diggins, two other Notre Dame alums earned WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team recognition during their careers. Ruth Riley made her way on the 2001 team, while Jacqueline Batteast did likewise in 2005, both during their senior seasons.
From this year’s list of 52 all-region nominees, a group of 10 will be chosen by the WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team selection committee for this year’s WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team. The 2016 WBCA Coaches’ All-America Team will be announced on April 2 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis during Super Saturday events surrounding the NCAA Women’s Final Four.
Those all-region nominees not chosen for the 10-member State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team will be designated as State Farm Coaches’ All-America Honorable Mentions, a status earned by 13 Fighting Irish players, all since 1991 – Karen Robinson (1991), Katryna Gaither (1996, 1997), Beth Morgan (1996, 1997), Riley (1999, 2000), Batteast (2002, 2004), Megan Duffy (2005, 2006), Charel Allen (2007), Diggins (2010), Lindsay Schrader (2010), Natalie Novosel (2011, 2012), Devereaux Peters (2011, 2012), Natalie Achonwa (2013) and Turner (2015).
A first-team All-America selection by Sports Illustrated and a second-team All-America pick by espnW, Turner is a prime candidate for every major national player-of-the-year award, having already made the final ballot for the Wooden Award and the semifinalist chart for the Naismith Trophy. She also was named the ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year by the league’s 15 head coaches on March 7, in addition to collecting All-ACC First Team and ACC All-Defensive Team accolades for the second consecutive season.
Despite missing six games with a shoulder injury earlier this year, Turner has been one of the ACC’s most consistent players all season long, starting the other 28 games she has suited up for and leading the conference in field-goal percentage (.596 ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” also fifth in nation as of Tuesday) and blocked shots (3.0 bpg. ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 12th in nation), while ranking 11th in both scoring (14.5 ppg.) and rebounding (7.2 rpg.) with four double-doubles. She also is one of just two players in the nation (along with Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart) to rank among the top 12 in both field-goal percentage and blocked shots.
Turner was equally strong during conference games, leading the ACC in field-goal percentage (.658) and blocks (2.9 bpg.), while ranking eighth in scoring (15.4 ppg.) and 12th in rebounding (7.3 rpg.).
After blocking 89 blocks as a rookie last year, Turner has recorded 85 blocked shots this season, tying Ruth Riley for fifth on Notre Dame’s single-season blocks list. In fact, she joins Riley as the only Fighting Irish players ever to post multiple 80-block seasons – Riley did so during her final three years under the Golden Dome from 1998-99 through 2000-01.
Turner was named to the All-ACC Tournament First Team for the second year in a row on March 6 after nearly averaging a double-double with 15.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game in three Fighting Irish victories. She tallied a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks) in the championship game win over No. 17 Syracuse after narrowly missing a double-double (17 points, nine rebounds) in a semifinal victory over No. 21 Miami one day earlier.
Notre Dame junior guard/captain Lindsay Allen is a two-time finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award as the nation’s top point guard and ranks among the top 20 in the nation in both assists (5.9 apg.) and assist/turnover ratio (2.49).
Allen, a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award as the country’s top point guard and a first-team All-ACC pick, leads the conference in both assists (5.9 apg. ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 19th in nation) and assist/turnover ratio (2.49 ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢’Â¬” 15th in nation) while averaging 9.0 points per game. She is one of only four players from Power Five conferences to rank among the top 20 nationally in both assists and assist/turnover ratio, joining Baylor’s Niya Johnson, Maryland’s Brene Moseley and Nebraska’s Rachel Theriot in that exclusive company.
During conference play, Allen likewise led the ACC in those two categories with 5.6 assists per game and a 2.43 assist/turnover ratio, while ranking third in the league with a .549 field-goal percentage.
In addition to being a Lieberman Award finalist, Allen also was named to the Naismith Trophy Midseason Top 30 List and was chosen as the ACC Player of the Week on Dec. 28 after collecting 16 points, nine assists and seven rebounds a week earlier at Saint Joseph’s (Pa.). She also was named to the All-ACC Tournament First Team after averaged 9.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists with a 2.25 assist/turnover ratio in helping the Fighting Irish to their third consecutive ACC postseason title.
Like Allen, Cable was a first-team All-ACC choice this season (as well as a two-time ACC Player of the Week) after posting career-high averages in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and double-doubles. She ranks among the top 20 in the ACC in five different categories, including a conference-best .471 three-point percentage (good for No. 4 in the nation). She also is eighth in the ACC in three-pointers per game (2.1), 10th in steals (1.8 spg.), 15th in field-goal percentage (.506) and 17th in scoring (13.8 ppg.) with three double-doubles to her credit.
In conference games, Cable ranked fourth in the ACC in free-throw percentage (.850), seventh in three-point percentage (.385), 15th in field-goal percentage (.472) and 23rd in scoring (12.2 ppg.).
Notre Dame graduate student guard Madison Cable has a team-high (and career-best) 61 steals this season, leading five Fighting Irish players who have at least 30 steals in 2015-16.
Cable has been especially strong against Top 25 opponents this season, averaging a team-high 15.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game with a .517 three-point percentage and all three of her double-doubles. She also was named the Most Valuable Player of the Junkanoo Jam’s Freeport Division on Nov. 28 after averaging 17.5 points and 6.0 rebounds with a .688 field-goal percentage in leading Notre Dame to wins over Denver and UCLA to claim the tournament title.
Cable was sharp during the ACC Tournament, earning Most Valuable Player honors after averaging 14.3 points and 5.0 rebounds with a stellar .611 three-point percentage in the three Notre Dame wins. She was at her best in the championship game against No. 17 Syracuse, pouring in 18 points on the strength of a career-high 6-of-9 three-pointers, while grabbing eight rebounds for good measure.
No. 2/3 Notre Dame (33-1) has advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championship for the seventh consecutive season and the eighth time in nine years. The top-seeded Fighting Irish will take on fourth-seeded (and No. 13/16-ranked) Stanford in the NCAA Lexington Regional semifinals at approximately 9 p.m. (ET) Friday at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. The game will be televised live on ESPN and WatchESPN.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, visit the main women’s basketball page on the University’s official athletics web site (UND.com/ndwbb), sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter and Instagram pages (@ndwbb), like the program on Facebook or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
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Chris Masters, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2001 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s basketball and women’s golf programs. A native of San Francisco, California, Masters is a 1996 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, earned his master’s degree from Kansas State University in 1998, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).