March 7, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the second consecutive year, Notre Dame junior guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) has been selected as one of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, it was announced Wednesday by the award's presenting organization, the Los Angeles Athletic Club. As a result, Diggins will appear on the final ballot for this year's Wooden Award, which will be given to the nation's top women's college basketball player.
The 15 finalists for the Wooden Award were selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, with voting to take place March 12-19, allowing voters to take into account a finalist's performance during the first weekend of the NCAA Championship, making this a unique aspect of the Wooden Award among college postseason honors.
The Wooden Award All-America Teams will be announced the week of regional play (March 24-27) in the NCAA Championship, with the award recipient to be recognized April 6 during the 36th annual Wooden Award Gala at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
Diggins was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year last Friday, in addition to earning unanimous first-team all-conference honors for the second consecutive season. She also is one of eight final nominees for the Nancy Lieberman Award (going to the nation's top point guard), and is midseason candidate for the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Player of the Year award and Naismith Trophy, as well as a member of the State Farm Wade Trophy Watch List.
Diggins is the only BIG EAST player to rank among the top five in the conference in three of the five major statistical categories. She leads the BIG EAST in both assists (5.7 apg.) and steals (2.7 spg.), and is fourth in scoring (17.0 ppg.), in addition to posting a conference-best 2.08 assist-to-turnover ratio, and ranking among the top 10 in the league in free throw percentage (eighth - .794) and field goal percentage (eighth - .508). She also wrapped up the BIG EAST regular season statistical titles in assists (5.8 apg. - second ND player to win BIG EAST assist title, first since current Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey in 1999-2000), steals (2.6 spg.) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), and finished league play among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in scoring (third - 17.8 ppg.), field goal percentage (ninth - .508) and free throw percentage (12th - .788).
Created in 1976 and named after the Hall of Fame player, coach and teacher, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation's best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), Blake Griffin ('09), and Maya Moore of Connecticut ('09 and '11).
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities' general scholarship fund in the names of the All-America Team selections. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award's name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All-America Team members, takes place at the Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Gala.
Ranked No. 3 in the latest Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls, Notre Dame (30-3, 15-1 BIG EAST) earned its first outright BIG EAST regular season title and finished as the runner-up at the BIG EAST Championship for the second consecutive year. The Fighting Irish currently are awaiting the announcement of the 64-team field for the NCAA Championship, with that bracket to be unveiled at 7 p.m. (ET) Monday on ESPN. Notre Dame will be one of 16 host sites for first- and second-round games in this year's NCAA tournament, with tickets currently on sale through the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office (574-631-7356; und.com/tickets).
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.