March 9, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame freshman guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) is one of six players who have been named to the 2010 BIG EAST Conference All-Tournament Team, the league announced Tuesday night following the tourney's championship game at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.
Diggins is the first Fighting Irish women's basketball player to earn BIG EAST all-tournament team honors since 2005, when Megan Duffy was tapped for the squad after Notre Dame fell to Connecticut, 67-54 in the semifinals. Diggins also is the first Fighting Irish freshman ever to be named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament Team, and just the second Notre Dame rookie to earn conference all-tourney honors in any of the program's three league affiliations (Beth Morgan was a member of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference [now Horizon League] All-Tournament Team as a freshman in 1994).
In three games at this year's BIG EAST Championship, Diggins averaged 14.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.7 assists with a .417 field goal percentage (15-of-36) and a stellar .923 free throw percentage (12-for-13). The second-team all-BIG EAST selection and unanimous BIG EAST All-Freshman Team choice opened her first collegiate postseason tournament this past Saturday in the second round against Louisville, scoring eight of Notre Dame's first 11 points on the way to a 13-point, four-rebound effort in an 89-52 Fighting Irish win.
The next afternoon in the quarterfinal round against 16th-ranked St. John's, Diggins popped in a team-high 21 points (her team-leading sixth 20-point game of the season) on 7-of-11 shooting, while adding four rebounds, three assists and three steals in a 75-67 Notre Dame victory.
Diggins capped her weekend in Monday's semifinal against top-ranked Connecticut with a team-best 10 points, getting the Fighting Irish off to a solid start early and adding a game-high three steals before the Huskies pulled away late for a 59-44 win, eliminating Notre Dame from the tournament, but not before the Fighting Irish held UConn to its lowest point total in nearly three years and one of its closest games of the season.
Connecticut, which defeated eighth-ranked West Virginia, 60-32 in this year's BIG EAST title game, placed three players on the all-tournament team, led by Most Outstanding Performer Kalana Greene. UConn's Tina Charles and Maya Moore, along with WVU's Sarah Miles and Liz Repella rounded out the 2010 BIG EAST All-Tournament Team.
No. 6/7 Notre Dame (27-5) presently is awaiting the announcement of the 64-team field for the 2010 NCAA Championship, with the brackets scheduled to be released live on ESPN Monday at 7 p.m. (ET). Should the Fighting Irish receive an at-large berth, it would mark their 15th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship (and 17th overall). Notre Dame's Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center also is scheduled to be one of 16 on-campus host sites for first- and second-round games in this year's NCAA Championship, with those games to be played March 21 & 23.