Jan. 9, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the second time this season, and the third time in her career, 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 Monday afternoon by the conference office. Diggins previously was named Player of the Week back on Nov. 21, in addition to her first honor on Feb. 14, 2011.
This marks the 73rd time a Fighting Irish women's basketball player has earned a BIG EAST weekly award (42 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).
Senior guard/tri-captain Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on Dec. 19, while rookie forward Markisha Wright (Des Moines, Iowa/Des Moines East) was tabbed as the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Jan. 2. It was the first weekly conference honor of each player's career.
The BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year and a consensus preseason All-America selection, as well as a candidate for the State Farm Wade Trophy, John R. Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy (each of which go to the nation's top women's college basketball player), Diggins averaged 18.0 points and 2.5 steals per game last week while helping Notre Dame extend its winning streak to 12 games with BIG EAST wins at Seton Hall and at home against then-No. 2 Connecticut (the latter breaking the Huskies' 57-game regular season conference winning streak).
On Jan. 4, Diggins scored a team-high 14 points and added a game-high three assists as the Fighting Irish rolled to a 74-36 victory at Seton Hall, posting one of their largest wins ever at SHU's Walsh Gymnasium. Three days later in a nationally-televised game at Purcell Pavilion, Diggins scored 16 of her team-high 22 points after halftime, and fueled a key 12-2 second-half run (eight points, two steals, one rebound in a span of 3:03) as Notre Dame rallied from an eight-point second-half deficit to defeat Connecticut in overtime, 74-67. Diggins also chalked up a game-high four steals as the Fighting Irish defense harassed the Huskies into a season-high 27 turnovers, more than double their season average entering the game and the third-highest total in UConn women's basketball history (most in more than four seasons).
Diggins ranks among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in six categories -- assists (first - 5.6 apg.), assist/turnover ratio (second - 2.3), scoring (fifth - 16.6 ppg.), free throw percentage (fifth - .843), steals (sixth - 2.7 spg.) and field goal percentage (14th - .520). She also ranks 15th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio, 23rd in assists, and 45th in field goal percentage.
Having risen to No. 2 in the latest AP poll also released on Monday, Notre Dame (15-1, 3-0 BIG EAST) will be back in action at 7 p.m. (ET) Tuesday when it takes on No. 18/16 Georgetown at McDonough Arena in Washington, D.C. The game will be televised live to a national cable audience by CBS Sports Network (formerly CBS College Sports).
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.