Feb. 28, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the third time this season, Notre Dame junior guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) has been selected as the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week, it was announced Tuesday by the conference office. Diggins joins Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers as the only three-time BIG EAST Player of the Week selections this season, with the Fighting Irish floor general adding four other BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll citations to her current resume.
In addition, this marks the 75th time a Fighting Irish women’s basketball player has earned a BIG EAST weekly award (44 Players of the Week, 31 Freshmen of the Week), the second-most selections in conference history despite the fact Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in 1995-96, a full 14 seasons after the league began sponsoring women’s basketball (1982-83). Both fifth-year senior forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) and senior guard/tri-captain Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) also have been named BIG EAST Player of the Week at some point this season (Novosel on Dec. 19, Peters on Jan. 23). What’s more, rookie forward Markisha Wright (Des Moines, Iowa/Des Moines East) was chosen as the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Jan. 2.
A midseason candidate for both the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Player of the Year and Wooden Award, as well as a candidate for both the State Farm Wade Trophy and Naismith Trophy (which also go to the nation’s top women’s college basketball player) and one of eight final nominees for the Nancy Lieberman Award as the nation’s top point guard, Diggins averaged 19.7 points, 6.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game with a .476 field goal percentage (20-of-42), .842 free throw percentage (16-of-19) and 2.25 assist-to-turnover ratio in three Fighting Irish wins last week (two on the road at ranked opponents) as Notre Dame secured its first-ever outright BIG EAST regular season championship.
At No. 16 Louisville on Feb. 20, Diggins tallied a game-high 21 points and seven assists, before adding a near double-double with 18 points (7-14 FG) and a game-high nine assists in last Saturday’s regular season home finale against South Florida. Diggins wrapped up her seven-day spree with 20 points (8-17 FG, 2-4 3FG) at No. 4 Connecticut, including eight in a row during a critical 11-2 run midway through the second half that helped the Fighting Irish post their third consecutive win over the Huskies, and first-ever against Connecticut at Hartford’s XL Center.
Diggins is the only BIG EAST player to rank among the top five in the conference in three of the five major statistical categories, leading the league in both assists (5.8 apg.) and steals (2.6 spg.) and placing fourth in scoring (17.4 ppg.), in addition to posting a conference-best 2.26 assist-to-turnover ratio, and ranking among the top 10 in the league in free throw percentage (eighth – .802) and field goal percentage (ninth – .525). What’s more, Diggins is the only player in the country to appear in the top 50 of the current NCAA statistical rankings for scoring (49th), assists (14th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (13th), all while piloting the nation’s top-scoring offense (81.0 ppg.).
Diggins also wrapped up the BIG EAST regular season statistical titles in assists (5.8 apg. – second ND player to win BIG EAST assist title, first since Niele Ivey in 1999-2000), steals (2.6 spg.) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), and finished league play among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in scoring (third – 17.8 ppg.), field goal percentage (ninth – .508) and free throw percentage (12th – .788).
Ranked No. 3 in the latest Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls, Notre Dame (28-2, 15-1 BIG EAST) is the top seed for the BIG EAST Championship and has earned a bye through the first two rounds of the tournament. Notre Dame will open play with a quarterfinal game at 2 p.m. (ET) Sunday against either No. 8 seed DePaul, No. 9 seed USF or No. 16 Pittsburgh at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., with ESPNU to televise the game live to a national cable audience.
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 @notredamewbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
— ND —