April 6, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior guard/co-captain Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) continues to blaze trails seldom seen in the history of Fighting Irish women’s basketball, once again adding to her ever-growing resume on Friday when she was selected for the second consecutive season as the recipient of the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top NCAA Division I point guard by the Rotary Club of Detroit.
Diggins, who is the first Notre Dame player chosen for the honor that debuted in 2000, joins former Connecticut guards Sue Bird (2000-02) and Diana Taurasi (2003-04) as the only two-time recipients of the Lieberman Award.
Sportswriters from across the country selected Diggins from a group of seven final nominees, with the award presented to the player who best exhibits the traits of floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills that personified Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman during her legendary playing career. The three players named as finalists for the award besides Diggins were (in alphabetical order): Alex Bentley (Penn State), Lindsey Moore (Nebraska) and Odyssey Sims (Baylor).
Diggins will be presented with this year’s Nancy Lieberman Award at a noon (ET) luncheon on April 17 at The Detroit Athletic Club in Detroit. Tickets and other luncheon information can be found on the award’s web site, www.pointguard.org.
Diggins already is a unanimous choice as an Associated Press first-team All-American, in addition to earning All-America plaudits from the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), John R. Wooden Award and Senior CLASS Award (the latter honor also being announced on Friday). She also recently was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Norfolk Regional, becoming the first Notre Dame player ever to earn that award in three consecutive seasons (also Dayton in 2011 and Raleigh in 2012).
Similarly, Diggins is the first player in program history to be both a four-time Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) all-region selection and a two-time BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year, in addition to being a finalist for every major national player-of-the-year award including the State Farm Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy and John R. Wooden Award.
Diggins was a unanimous first-team all-conference honoree for the third year in a row, joining Ruth Riley as the only Fighting Irish players ever to pull off that feat. What’s more, she is among 52 finalists for the State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team (to be announced Saturday during NCAA Women’s Final Four activities in New Orleans).
Diggins has started all 36 games this season and leads the BIG EAST in assists (6.0 apg.), while ranking fourth in scoring (17.3 ppg.) and third in steals (3.1 spg.; school record 110 steals overall) and fourth in free throw percentage (.810). She also is among the conference’s best in three-point percentage (5th – .371) and assist/turnover ratio (6th – 1.68), and she leads the team with 33 double-figure scoring games (giving her a school-record 120 for her career, three more than the previous Notre Dame record held by current Fighting Irish associate coach Beth (Morgan) Cunningham from 1993-97).
For her career, Diggins is Notre Dame’s all-time leader in points (2,347), steals (377), games started (143) and minutes played (4,601), in addition to her mark for career double-figure scoring games. She also ranks second with 737 career assists (41 behind Mary Gavin’s mark set from 1984-88) and 149 games played (two behind Brittany Mallory’s record set last year).
No. 2 Notre Dame (35-1) will take on No. 3 Connecticut for the fourth time this season when the two schools square off in a national semifinal game at the NCAA Women’s Final Four at approximately 8 p.m. CT (9 p.m. ET) Sunday from New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, La. The third national semifinal clash between the Fighting Irish and Huskies in as many years (and fourth all-time) will be televised live to a national cable audience on ESPN and ESPNHD, with additional coverage on-line at ESPN3/WatchESPN.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter pages (@ndwbbsid or @ndwbb), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/ndwbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
— ND —