March 16, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the first time in school history, three Notre Dame women's basketball players have earned all-region status in the same season and are in position to contend for places on the 2010 State Farm Coaches' All-America Team, it was announced Tuesday afternoon by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The Fighting Irish are one of only three programs in the country (along with Connecticut and Tennessee) to field three all-region honorees this season.
Senior guard/tri-captain Ashley Barlow (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike), freshman guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) and fifth-year senior guard/tri-captain Lindsay Schrader (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) -- each of whom earned all-region honors for the first time in their respective careers -- are among the 52 all-region selections, and three of the 12 honorees from the WBCA's Region I, which includes players from schools in the BIG EAST, Atlantic 10, America East and Northeast conferences, as well as the Ivy Group and Patriot League. They also are the first Fighting Irish players to garner all-region accolades since 2007, when Charel Allen received the honor.
Notre Dame has fielded two all-region selections in the same season on three different occasions, most recently in 2005 when Jacqueline Batteast and Megan Duffy were recognized. In addition, Katryna Gaither and Beth Morgan were all-region picks in both 1996 and 1997. All told, 10 Fighting Irish players have collected all-region laurels a total of 17 times in the program's 33-year history.
Diggins' selection is particularly noteworthy, as she is one of only three freshmen in the nation to earn all-region status this season, along with Delaware forward Elena Delle Donne and Baylor center Brittney Griner. What's more, Diggins is just the second Notre Dame rookie ever to garner all-region plaudits, following Batteast's selection in 2002.
Tuesday's announcement is the latest in a recent spate of awards for all three Fighting Irish players, who also were tabbed for all-BIG EAST Conference honors earlier this month. Schrader was a first-team all-BIG EAST honoree for the second consecutive season, while Barlow received second-team all-conference recognition for the second year in a row (both Schrader and Barlow also were honorable mention all-league choices in 2008). Diggins not only joined Barlow on this year's All-BIG EAST Second Team, but she also was a unanimous selection for the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team.
From the list of 52 all-region nominees, a group of 40 will be chosen by the State Farm Coaches' All-America Team selection committee to remain in the running for spots on the 10-member State Farm Coaches' All-America Team. The slate of 40 finalists -- who can be selected from any of the WBCA's eight regions -- will be announced March 23, with this year's State Farm Coaches' All-America Team set to be unveiled at 1:05 p.m. CT (2:05 p.m. ET) on April 3 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, between open practices for the NCAA Women's Final Four. Notre Dame has had two players earn a place on the prestigious squad -- Ruth Riley (2001) and Batteast (2005).
The 30 finalists not chosen for the 10-member State Farm Coaches' All-America Team will be designated as State Farm Coaches' All-America Honorable Mentions, a status earned by seven Fighting Irish players, all in the past two decades -- Karen Robinson (1991), Gaither (1996, 1997), Morgan (1996, 1997), Riley (1999, 2000), Batteast (2002, 2004), Duffy (2005, 2006) and Allen (2007).
Notre Dame (27-5) recently received its 15th consecutive NCAA Championship berth (and 17th overall), earning the second seed in the Kansas City Region. The Fighting Irish will open NCAA tournament play at approximately 2:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday against Horizon League tournament champion Cleveland State at Purcell Pavilion -- tickets for all NCAA Championship games at Purcell Pavilion are available through Notre Dame's Murnane Family Ticket Office, open weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) in the arena's new Rosenthal Atrium (accessible via Gate 9 or by calling 574-631-7356), or by going on-line to the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web page -- www.UND.com/tickets.