Jan. 14, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the third time this season, Notre Dame freshman guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) has been selected as the BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week, it was announced Monday afternoon by the conference office. Loyd is the first three-time recipient of the honor during the 2012-13 season, and she becomes the fifth Fighting Irish women's basketball player to earn three BIG EAST Freshman of the Week citations in her career (first since current senior guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) was a four-time rookie choice in 2009-10).
In addition, this marks the 81st time a Fighting Irish women's basketball player has earned a BIG EAST weekly award (46 Players of the Week, 35 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).
Also on Monday, junior forward Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, Ontario/St. Mary's Catholic) was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the second time this season, becoming the second Notre Dame player this season to earn that distinction twice -- junior guard Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) made the BIG EAST Honor Roll on both Nov. 19 and Dec. 31. In addition, Diggins and McBride have garnered BIG EAST Player of the Week accolades this season, taking the honors on Dec. 23 and Jan. 7, respectively.
Loyd nearly averaged a double-double in two games last week, averaging 16.0 points and 9.0 rebounds with a .480 field goal percentage, .750 three-point percentage and .833 free throw percentage to help Notre Dame extend its winning streak to nine games with victories at South Florida and at home against Rutgers.
Loyd registered her first career double-double in Notre Dame's 75-71 overtime win at USF on Jan. 8, logging 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, along with three assists and three steals. On Sunday's 71-46 victory over Rutgers at Purcell Pavilion, Loyd knocked down 6-of-8 shots (including 2-of-2 from three-point range), finishing with 14 points and five rebounds as Notre Dame posted its fourth consecutive win over the Scarlet Knights (the longest Fighting Irish winning streak in the 29-game series with Rutgers).
Achonwa averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game with a .579 field goal percentage and .900 free throw percentage in Notre Dame's two wins last week. She tallied a team-high 20 points (her fourth 20-point game of the season, 7-of-13 shooting) and added eight rebounds, four assists and three steals at USF, then came back with a balanced effort against Rutgers, logging 11 points (4-of-6 shooting), six rebounds and four assists.
Ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll for the second consecutive week, Notre Dame (14-1, 3-0 BIG EAST) continues its three-game homestand at 7 p.m. (ET) Tuesday when it plays host to Georgetown at Purcell Pavilion. A limited number of tickets remain for the game (call 574-631-7356 or visit UND.com/tickets for details), which will be televised live to a national cable audience on CBS Sports Network. Tuesday's contest also can be heard live on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) in South Bend, as well as free of charge around the world on the official Notre Dame athletics web site, UND.com.
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.