Sept. 18, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior All-America guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) is among a group of 25 players who have been named to the 2012-13 preseason “Wade Watch” list for the State Farm Wade Trophy (given annually to the NCAA Division I Player of the Year), it was announced Tuesday by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).
Diggins is one of four players on this year’s “Wade Watch” list (along with Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne, Baylor’s Brittney Griner and Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers) to appear on that rundown for the third consecutive season, with the Fighting Irish now having had 10 players named to the “Wade Watch” list in the past 10 seasons, including seven in the past six years. Diggins also is part of a sizeable BIG EAST Conference contingent on this year’s Wade Trophy candidate list, as the conference once again led the way with seven preseason selections, outpacing the Big Ten and Big 12 (five each), as well as the ACC (three) and SEC (two).
Diggins’ “Wade Watch” selection comes one month after she earned her fifth USA Basketball gold medal (and fourth in international competition) as a member of the victorious American side at the inaugural FIBA 3×3 World Championship in Athens, Greece. Previously, she had returned home with gold medals while representing the United States at the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship and the 2011 World University Games, as well as domestically at the 2007 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival.
The renowned “Wade Watch” list for the State Farm Wade Trophy is comprised of student-athletes who are members of an NCAA Division I institution and are selected based on the following criteria: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability. The “Wade Watch” list will be narrowed down to approximately 12 finalists in mid-March, with the 2013 State Farm Wade Trophy recipient officially being announced at the annual WBCA National Convention, held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four, in New Orleans.
The Wade Trophy, named after the late, legendary three-time national champion Delta State University head coach Lily Margaret Wade, debuted in 1978 as the first-ever women’s national player of the year award in college basketball. The Wade Trophy Coalition was established in June of 2000 when the WBCA partnered with The National Association of Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS). For the past 12 years, the two have worked together to present the State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year Award. A committee compromised of coaches, administration and media from across the United States selects the recipient.
Last season, Diggins was a consensus first-team All-America selection (including her spot on the State Farm Coaches All-America Team, as selected by the WBCA), and she was a finalist for every major national player-of-the-year award, taking home the Nancy Lieberman Award as the nation’s top point guard. She also was chosen as the BIG EAST Player of the Year (the third Notre Dame player to be so honored and the first since 2005) and is a two-time unanimous first-team all-conference selection.
A year ago, Diggins became the first Fighting Irish player and just the fourth NCAA Division I player in the past decade (since 2001-02) to register 600 points, 200 assists and 100 steals in a single season. In fact, she set a school record with 102 steals, while her 222 assists were third-most on the Notre Dame single-season list, and her 657 points ranked fourth on the school’s single-season chart. In addition, she posted the second-best assist-turnover ratio (2.16) by a Fighting Irish player in one season, and her four double-doubles tied for fourth-most by a Notre Dame guard in a single season.
That doesn’t include the triple-double (22 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) she registered on March 27, 2012, in the NCAA Raleigh Regional final victory over No. 5 Maryland, just the third triple-double in program history and the first in 22 years. It also was the first recorded by a BIG EAST player in the NCAA Championship, not to mention being only the second triple-double posted by any player in a regional final game (it’s never happened in a Final Four contest), and the first since Hall of Fame center Anne Donovan did so for Old Dominion in 1983.
In 2011-12, Diggins was the only BIG EAST player to rank among the top five in the conference in three of the five major statistical categories. She led the conference in both assists (5.7 apg. – 16th in nation) and steals (2.6 spg. – 55th in nation; school-record 102 steals overall), and she was fourth in scoring (16.8 ppg. – 70th in nation), while also posting her conference-best 2.16 assist-turnover ratio (10th in nation). What’s more, she ranked among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in free throw percentage (9th – .786) and field goal percentage (tied-10th – .500; 35th in nation).
Diggins also wrapped up the 2011-12 BIG EAST regular season statistical titles in assists (5.8 apg. – the second Notre Dame player to win the BIG EAST assist title, and first since current Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey in 1999-2000), steals (2.6 spg.), and assist-turnover ratio (2.3). She finished conference play among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in scoring (3rd – 17.8 ppg.), field goal percentage (9th – .508) and free throw percentage (12th – .788).
Besides her seasonal awards, Diggins was chosen as the NCAA Raleigh Regional Most Outstanding Player and was a member of the NCAA Women’s Final Four All-Tournament Team, becoming the first Notre Dame cager to be selected for either honor twice in her career (she was the 2011 NCAA Dayton Regional MOP before making the Final Four squad).
In her career, Diggins already ranks among the top 10 on nine Fighting Irish statistical charts — scoring average (4th – 15.3 ppg.), 20-point games (4th – 33), free throws made (4th – 414), free throws attempted (5th – 541), points (6th – 1,726), assists (6th – 520), steals (6th – 267), double-figure scoring games (6th – 88), double-doubles by a guard (6th – 6) and games started (9th – 107).
Diggins enters her senior season needing 74 rebounds to become the first player in school history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in her career. She also is 274 points away from becoming the fourth 2,000-point scorer in school history, and she needs 596 points to catch current Notre Dame associate coach Beth Cunningham as the program’s all-time leading scorer. In addition, Diggins is 81 steals away from Ivey’s school record for career thefts, and Diggins even has an outside shot at the Fighting Irish all-time record for assists held by Mary Gavin, needing 258 helpers to reach the mark (Ivey is second, 207 ahead of Diggins).
Notre Dame will open its 2012-13 season with an exhibition game at 7 p.m. (ET) Nov. 1 against Edinboro at Purcell Pavilion. The Fighting Irish tip off their regular season slate at 4 p.m. (ET) Nov. 9, taking on Ohio State in the second annual Carrier Classic, aboard the USS Yorktown at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum near Charleston, S.C.
A select amount of season ticket packages remain available for the 2012-13 Notre Dame women’s basketball season, starting at $65 each. For details or to make a purchase, call (574) 631-7356, visit the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at Gate 9 of Purcell Pavilion during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday-Friday), or go on-line 24 hours a day to the official Fighting Irish athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets.
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 —