March 15, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the third consecutive year, Notre Dame senior guard/co-captain Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) has been selected as one of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, it was announced late Thursday 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 18-27, 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 30-April 2) in the NCAA Championship, with the award recipient to be recognized April 12 during the 37th annual Wooden Award Gala at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The top five vote-getters will be named to the Wooden Award All-America Team, with Diggins one of three players among this year's 15 finalists that made the squad last year (along with Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and Baylor's Brittney Griner).
Last week, Diggins became the first Notre Dame women's basketball player chosen as the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year for a second consecutive season, in addition to earning unanimous first-team all-conference honors for the third year in a row (joining Ruth Riley as the only Fighting Irish women's basketball players to pull off that feat). She also is one of seven final nominees for the Nancy Lieberman Award (going to the nation's top point guard, an honor she received last season), a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, and is a 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 has started all 32 games this season and leads the BIG EAST in assists (5.9 apg.), while ranking fourth in scoring (17.0 ppg.) and third in both steals (3.1 spg.) and free throw percentage (.820). She also is among the conference's best in assist/turnover ratio (6th - 1.66) and three-point percentage (6th - .355), and she leads the team with 28 double-figure scoring games (giving her a school-record 116 for her career, one more than the previous Notre Dame record held by current Fighting Irish associate coach Beth (Morgan) Cunningham from 1993-97).
Diggins was a three-time BIG EAST Player of the Week and a five-time BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll selection this season, as well as taking home Most Valuable Player honors at the World Vision Classic in Las Vegas after leading Notre Dame to a three-game sweep and the tournament title.
Most recently, Diggins earned a spot on the BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team for the third time in her career after averaging 13.7 points, 5.7 assists, 4.0 steals and 3.3 rebounds with a .455 three-point percentage during the three-game tournament, helping Notre Dame to its first BIG EAST postseason title in its 18th and final season in the conference. Diggins also is just the second Fighting Irish women's basketball player to garner three conference all-tournament honors, and the first since 1989-91, when Karen Robinson was a three-time choice on the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now Horizon League) All-Tournament Team.
For her career, Diggins is Notre Dame's all-time leader in steals (365), games started (139) and minutes played (4,469), in addition to her mark for career double-figure scoring games. She also ranks second with 2,270 points (just 52 shy of Cunningham's school record) and 145 games played (six behind Brittany Mallory's record set last year), and is third in school history with 708 career assists (70 behind Mary Gavin's mark set from 1984-88).
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.
After becoming the first BIG EAST team other than Connecticut in two decades to sweep the conference regular-season and tournament titles, No. 2 Notre Dame (31-1, 16-0 BIG EAST) has earned the BIG EAST's automatic berth into the NCAA Championship and will carry a school-record 26-game winning streak into the tournament, which begins next weekend. The Fighting Irish will learn their first-round opponent, as well as the time, date and location of that contest, when the full 64-team NCAA Championship field is announced at 7 p.m. (ET) Monday on ESPN.
Notre Dame is one of a handful of schools that will be featured for a live "look-in" during the Selection Show broadcast, and Fighting Irish Digital Media (FIDM) will be on hand for interviews with Notre Dame players and coaches following the selection announcement, with all FIDM videos to be posted later in the evening 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), visit the program's official Facebook page (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.