Feb. 6, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame senior guard/co-captain Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) has been chosen as one of the 10 finalists for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award in women's basketball, it was announced Wednesday. The Senior CLASS Award is presented annually to the nation's top senior player based on their dedication and achievement in four areas: Classroom, Character, Community and Competition.
Those 10 finalists were selected by a media committee from a list of 30 candidates, based on personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete. They have been placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote which began Wednesday and continues through March 25. Fans now can vote on-line daily for Diggins through the Senior CLASS Award web site (www.seniorclassaward.com) and special Senior CLASS Award Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SeniorCLASSAward), while a special page highlighting Diggins' accomplishments and a link to the on-line voting ballot also will go live on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (UND.com) in the coming days. Votes from coaches and media will be coupled with fan balloting to determine the recipient of the award, with this year's honoree to be announced April 7-9 during the NCAA Women's Final Four in New Orleans.
Diggins is the second Fighting Irish women's basketball player in as many seasons to be chosen as a Senior CLASS Award finalist, following Natalie Novosel's candidacy in 2011-12 that led to her selection as a Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-American. Diggins also is the third Notre Dame student-athlete this year to be named a Senior CLASS Award finalist in his/her respective sport -- back in October, football linebacker Manti Te'o and men's soccer midfielder Dillon Powers were among 10 finalists in their sports, with Te'o eventually taking home the honor. What's more, Diggins is aiming to become the fourth Fighting Irish student-athlete to take home this honor, following in the footsteps of hockey goaltender David Brown (2007), women's soccer forward Kerri Hanks (2008) and Te'o (2012).
Diggins is a prime candidate for every major national award this season, having garnered consensus first-team All-America honors and the Nancy Lieberman Award (as the nation's top point guard) in 2011-12. This year, Diggins ranks among the top 10 players in the BIG EAST Conference in assists (1st - 5.6 apg.), steals (3rd - 2.9 spg.), free throw percentage (5th - .829), assist/turnover ratio (6th - 1.7) and scoring (9th - 15.9 ppg.), and she ranks among the top 40 in the nation in assists (27th), free throw percentage (33rd) and free steals (37th). In addition, she has a team-high 18 double-figure scoring games (highlighted by a career-high 33 points at No. 9 Tennessee on Jan. 28), six "5-5-5" games (at least "5" in three of the five major statistical categories), and six games with at least seven assists, including a career-high 14 handouts on Dec. 31 against Saint Francis (Pa.), tying for the fourth-most assists in a game by a Division I player this season.
In addition to being on the watch list or midseason candidate roster for all major national awards this year, Diggins is a BIG EAST Player of the Week and four-time BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll selection, as well as being selected the World Vision Classic Most Valuable Player. As a Fighting Irish co-captain in 2012-13, she also has emerged as the unquestioned leader for a Notre Dame squad that has not missed a beat despite the loss of three starters (including two All-Americans/WNBA first-round draft picks) from last year's team that advanced to the NCAA national championship game for the second consecutive season.
Off the court, Diggins is closely involved with the Fighting Irish women's basketball team's groundbreaking community outreach efforts. Growing up just minutes from the Notre Dame campus on the west side of South Bend, Diggins has been one of the most popular and in-demand figures in South Bend sports history. She also has an in-depth knowledge of the challenges facing those in hard-hit areas of South Bend, and has always used her position as a basketball player and college student-athlete to serve as a role model for young women, both locally and nationally. Besides conducting regular basketball clinics and participating in mentoring programs at the Martin Luther King Center in South Bend, Diggins also is in the process of starting her own anti-bullying program, creating a video and a presentation for local schools to teach children about the importance of respect, tolerance and sportsmanship. On a national level, Diggins twice participated in the espnW Retreat (2010, 2011), serving on panels that discussed the future of women's athletics, as well as the value of mentorship among all athletes.
Diggins currently is enrolled in Notre Dame's top-ranked Mendoza College of Business, where she is completing work on her bachelor's degree in management-entrepreneurship.
Winners of 16 consecutive games, No. 2/3 Notre Dame (21-1, 9-0 BIG EAST) returns to the hardwood at 2 p.m. (ET) Saturday when it travels to South Orange, N.J., to take on conference rival Seton Hall at Walsh Gymnasium. The game can be heard live in the South Bend area on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and free of charge worldwide at 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 (www.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.