Jan. 2, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame freshman forward Markisha Wright (Des Moines, Iowa/Des Moines East) has been selected as the BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week, it was announced Monday by the conference office. It's the first time in Wright's career she has been chosen for a weekly conference honor.
In addition, this marks the 72nd time a Fighting Irish women's basketball player has earned a BIG EAST weekly award (41 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).
Besides Wright's selection, the Fighting Irish have had two players named BIG EAST Player of the Week this season. Junior guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) collected the second citation of her career on Nov. 21, while senior guard/tri-captain Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) was chosen for the first time in her career on Dec. 19.
Wright is the first Fighting Irish rookie to cop the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week award since current sophomore forward Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, Ontario/St. Mary's Catholic) was selected for the honor on Dec. 13, 2010. This is the fourth consecutive season that at least one Notre Dame player has earned the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week designation.
Wright came off the bench to play a pivotal role in both Fighting Irish wins last week, averaging 16.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game with a .542 field goal percentage (13-of-24), all in just 17.0 minutes per game, as Notre Dame defeated Longwood (92-26) and Mercer (128-42).
The highlight of Wright's week came last Friday at Mercer, when she scored a career-high (and game-best) 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting and collected four rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Wright, who became the fourth different Fighting Irish player to score 20 points in a game this season (and second to do so in a reserve role), had eight points and four rebounds (all offensive) earlier in the week against Longwood.
Along with Wright's award, Diggins was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the second time this year after also averaging 16.0 points in just 17.0 minutes per game, along with 7.0 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game, a .667 field goal percentage (12-of-18) and a 7.0 assist/turnover ratio (14 assists, two turnovers) last week. Diggins posted a double-double against Longwood (11 points, 10 assists) before registering 21 points on a perfect shooting night (8-8 FG, 1-1 3FG, 4-4 FT) at Mercer, the latter making Diggins the first Fighting Irish player in seven years to make all of her field goal attempts (minimum of seven tries).
Ranked No. 3 in the latest AP poll also released on Monday, Notre Dame (13-1, 1-0 BIG EAST) returns to conference play at 7 p.m. (ET) Wednesday when it travels to South Orange, N.J., for a matchup with Seton Hall at Walsh Gymnasium.
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.