March 16, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the second consecutive year (and the second time in school history), three Notre Dame women’s basketball players have earned all-region status in the same season and now are in position to contend for places on the 2011 State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team, it was announced Wednesday afternoon by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The Fighting Irish are one of only three programs in the country (along with Baylor and Stanford) to field three all-region honorees this season, and Notre Dame is the only school in the land to have three all-region selections each of the last two years.
Sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) earned her second all-region citation in as many seasons, while junior guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) and senior forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) both garnered all-region honors for the first time in their respective careers. The trio is among the 52 all-region selections, and three of the 12 honorees from the WBCA’s Region I, which includes players from schools in the BIG EAST, Atlantic 10, America East and Northeast conferences, as well as the Ivy Group and Patriot League. All told, 12 Fighting Irish players have collected all-region laurels a total of 20 times in the program’s 34-year history.
Diggins’ selection is particularly noteworthy, as she is one of only three sophomores in the nation to earn all-region status this season, along with Baylor center Brittney Griner and Georgetown guard Sugar Rodgers. What’s more, Diggins is Notre Dame’s first two-time all-region selection since Megan Duffy pulled off that feat in 2005 and 2006.
Wednesday’s announcement is the latest in a recent spate of awards for all three Fighting Irish players, each of whom also were tabbed for first-team all-BIG EAST Conference honors earlier this month. Diggins was a unanimous choice (her second consecutive all-league award), while Novosel and Peters were first-time all-BIG EAST selections. What’s more, Novosel was tapped as the BIG EAST’s Most Improved Player (Notre Dame’s first since Duffy in 2005) and Peters was chosen as the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year (the first Fighting Irish player to be so honored since Ruth Riley’s three-year dominance of the award from 1999-2001).
From the list of 52 all-region nominees, a group of 40 will be chosen by the State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team selection committee to remain in the running for spots on the 10-member State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team. The slate of 40 finalists — who can be selected from any of the WBCA’s eight regions — will be announced March 21, with this year’s State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team set to be unveiled at 9 a.m. (ET) on April 2 in Indianapolis during events surrounding the NCAA Women’s Final Four. Notre Dame has had two players earn a place on the prestigious squad — Riley (2001) and Batteast (2005).
The 30 finalists 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 nine Fighting Irish players, all in the past two decades — Karen Robinson (1991), Katryna Gaither (1996, 1997), Beth Morgan (1996, 1997), Riley (1999, 2000), Jacqueline Batteast (2002, 2004), Duffy (2005, 2006), Charel Allen (2007), Diggins (2010) and Lindsay Schrader (2010).
Notre Dame (26-7) recently received its 16th consecutive NCAA Championship berth (and 18th overall), earning the second seed in the Dayton Region. The Fighting Irish will open NCAA tournament play at approximately 6:35 p.m. ET (4:35 p.m. MT) Saturday against Mountain West Conference tournament champion Utah at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The game will be televised live to a national cable audience on ESPN2 and via the Internet at ESPN3.com, with the live radio broadcast available throughout the Michiana area on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and on the official Notre Dame athletics web site, www.UND.com, with veteran broadcaster Bob Nagle on the call.
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 —