Feb. 25, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the fourth 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 only four-time recipient of the honor during the 2012-13 season, and she becomes the fourth Fighting Irish women's basketball player to earn four BIG EAST Freshman of the Week citations in her career (first since current senior guard/co-captain Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) was a four-time rookie choice in 2009-10).
Diggins herself was also recognized by the BIG EAST on Monday, earning a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the fifth time this season, including the fourth time in the past six weeks (she also was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on Feb. 18).
On Sunday, Loyd made a triumphant return to her hometown of Chicago, chalking up a game-high 19 points (8-15 FG, 2-4 3FG) -- her highest total since a career-best 24 points on Dec. 5 vs. third-ranked Baylor -- as Notre Dame rolled to its 20th consecutive win and remained unbeaten in BIG EAST play with an 84-56 victory at DePaul. Loyd scored 12 of her 19 points in the first half, including a long three-pointer with less than a second remaining in the first half to cap off a strong effort that saw the Fighting Irish storm to a 40-17 lead and never look back on the way to their largest win ever over DePaul at McGrath-Phillips Arena (while tying the second-largest margin by either side in the 38-game series).
For the season, Loyd ranks among the top 25 in the conference in scoring (25th - 12.1 ppg.) and free throw percentage (tied-7th - .800). She also would rank fourth in the BIG EAST with a .407 three-point percentage, but she is four made three-pointers short of the minimum necessary for qualification (1.0 3FGM/game).
Loyd's selection marks the 83rd time a Fighting Irish women's basketball player has earned a BIG EAST weekly award (47 Players of the Week, 36 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 Loyd's four freshman-of-the-week selections this year, Diggins is a two-time BIG EAST Player of the Week choice (Dec. 23, Feb. 18), and junior guard Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) copped the honor on Jan. 7 (en route to being named the National Player of the Week by espnW and the United States Basketball Writers Association).
Diggins recorded the 17th triple-double in history by a BIG EAST women's basketball player (12th in BIG EAST regular-season play), and the fourth in Notre Dame women's basketball history with 17 points and game highs of 10 rebounds and 10 assists in Sunday's win at DePaul. Diggins also became just the fifth BIG EAST player with multiple triple-doubles in her career, joining an elite list that includes Sabrina Johnson (St. John's - 3), Tasha Pointer (Rutgers - 4), Laine Selwyn (Pittsburgh - 2) and Angel McCoughtry (Louisville - 2). Diggins scored 13 of her 17 points in the opening 9:57 at DePaul, as Notre Dame raced to a 22-8 lead over the Blue Demons and would maintain a 30-point margin over the hosts for the balance of the second half.
Led by Diggins' five appearances, Notre Dame players also have shown up regularly on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll during the 2012-13 season. Junior forward Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, Ontario/St. Mary's Catholic) is a three-time selection, while McBride has earned a place on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll twice.
No. 2/2 Notre Dame (25-1, 13-0 BIG EAST) will be back at Purcell Pavilion at 7 p.m. (ET) Tuesday to take on No. 22/18 Syracuse on Senior Night -- Diggins and fellow senior guard/co-captain Kaila Turner (Joliet, Ill./Marian Catholic), along with senior managers Brigitte Lawless and Katie Schwab will be honored in a pregame ceremony. A limited number of tickets may become available 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.