Aided by a combined 32 points from three Notre Dame players, including 19 points from Skylar Diggins, the United States easily claimed the gold medal at the World University Games with a 101-66 win over Taiwan in the tournament final on Sunday night at the Universiade Main Gym in Shenzhen, China.
Diggins connected on 6-of-9 shots (including 3-of-4 from three-point range) and added six assists for the United States (6-0). Devereaux Peters registered eight points and six rebounds, while Natalie Novosel chipped in five points while starting alongside Diggins for the sixth consecutive game.
Sunday's win marks the first time three Notre Dame women's basketball players have won gold medals for the same USA Basketball Team in the same tournament. It also gives the Fighting Irish 10 international gold medalists in the program's 35-year history, with Diggins collecting her third gold in four years (also the 2008 FIBA Under-18 Americas Championship and 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship), and Novosel and Peters picking up their first gold medals in international competition.
What's more, this is the sixth consecutive time that a Notre Dame women's basketball player (either an alum, current player or incoming freshman) has suited up for a USA Basketball team at an international tournament and come home with the gold medal, a remarkable run of excellence that dates back to 2004 when Ruth Riley ('01) struck gold with the U.S. Olympic Team at the Athens Games.
Individually, Diggins averaged 12.3 ppg. at this year's World University Games, while also leading all tournament players (regardless of country) in assists (4.8 apg.) and ranking among the top 10 at the event in steals (third with team-high 3.3 spg.) and field goal percentage (10th at .475).
Peters also had an impressive showing at the World University Games as the leading American scorer off the bench (and fourth overall) with 10.0 points per game. She also was fourth on the team in rebounding (5.3 rpg.), and ranked among the top 10 in the entire tournament in field goal percentage (fifth at .560, second-best on team) and blocked shots (ninth with team-high 1.0 bpg.).
Novosel was one of the "glue" players for the United States, starting all six games in her international debut and doing a bit of everything, winding up with 4.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game, the latter total ranking fourth on the team.
"It's an amazing feeling, and this is the first time I got emotional up there (on the medal stand), with my teammates being up there and just the fact that these games were such a big deal to this team," Diggins said. "I mean, (it's a big deal) every time, but the fact that I haven't done it in a while and that I'm back here, it's a blessing and the biggest honor. To be up there with my (Notre Dame) teammates, with somebody that I'm familiar with, being a bridesmaid in the NCAA Championship, it's good to be the bride in this game. So, I'm glad that we were able to share that moment together."
"It was just pure giddiness for me (to receive the gold medal)," Novosel added. "It was surreal. As soon as they (put the gold medal around my neck), I was just utterly grateful. I can't imagine what it would have been like without (my two Notre Dame teammates) and to be able to share it with them was a moment I'll never forget."
"This is just one of those things that you can't explain, you have to experience it to understand," Peters said. "I'm really excited and happy I could do it with my (Notre Dame) teammates. It's a crazy feeling to be able to experience that gold medal being put over your head. It's that much more special because all these knee problems (I've had) have been ridiculous, and to be able to come over here and not only play, but win, it's like going from the lowest low to the highest high."