March 25, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the fifth consecutive year, Notre Dame has had at least two women's basketball players earn all-region status in the same season and now are in position to contend for places on the 2014 Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Coaches' All-America Team, it was announced Tuesday by the WBCA.
Senior guard/tri-captain Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy), earned her second all-region citation in as many seasons, while sophomore guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) garnered all-region honors for the first time in her career. The duo is among the 52 all-region selections, and two of the seven honorees from the WBCA's Region II, which includes players from schools in the Atlantic Coast, Big South and Metro Atlantic Athletic conferences, as well as the Colonial Athletic Association. All told, 15 Fighting Irish players now have collected all-region laurels a total of 28 times in the program's 37-year history.
McBride's selection is particularly noteworthy, as it puts her in position to become just the second Notre Dame player to be a two-time selection to the 10-member WBCA Coaches' All-America Team, following up her citation in 2013. Skylar Diggins is the only multiple-time WBCA Coaches' All-America Team pick, having earned the honor three times (2011, 2012, 2013), with her 2011 accolade being the only prior time a Fighting Irish sophomore has made the prestigious squad (something Loyd could duplicate if she is chosen this year).
In addition to McBride and Diggins, two other Notre Dame alums have received WBCA Coaches' All-America Team recognition in their careers. Ruth Riley made her way on the 2001 team, while Jacqueline Batteast did likewise in 2005, both during their senior seasons.
Tuesday's announcement is the latest in a recent spate of awards for both McBride and Loyd, who were tabbed for first-team all-ACC honors earlier this month, with McBride also named the ACC Coaches Player of the Year, while Loyd was selected to the ACC All-Defensive Team. In addition, Loyd was named the Most Valuable Player of the ACC Championship (the first Notre Dame sophomore to earn tournament MVP honors since Krissi Davis at the 1989 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Tournament), while McBride is a finalist for the Naismith Trophy and both players are on the final ballot for the Wooden Award, with both honors presented annually to the national player of the year.
From this year's list of 52 all-region nominees, a group of 10 will be chosen by the WBCA Coaches' All-America Team selection committee for this year's WBCA Coaches' All-America Team. The 2014 State Farm Coaches' All-America Team will be announced at 1:10 p.m. CT (2:10 p.m. ET) on April 5 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., during Super Saturday events surrounding the NCAA Women's Final Four.
Those all-region nominees 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 12 Fighting Irish players, all since 1991 -- Karen Robinson (1991), Katryna Gaither (1996, 1997), Beth Morgan (1996, 1997), Riley (1999, 2000), Batteast (2002, 2004), Megan Duffy (2005, 2006), Charel Allen (2007), Diggins (2010), Lindsay Schrader (2010), Natalie Novosel (2011, 2012), Devereaux Peters (2011, 2012) and Natalie Achonwa (2013).
Already an espnW first-team All-America choice, McBride is one of the country'' top all-around players. A member of the 2014-16 USA Basketball National Team Player Pool, McBride has started all 34 games for Notre Dame this season, registering career highs of 17.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game with a 1.93 assist/turnover ratio, while posting a team-high 12 20-point games.
McBride is a fixture among the ACC statistical leaders, ranking in the top 15 in five categories -- scoring (11th), free throw percentage (3rd - .880; also 14th in the nation), assist/turnover ratio (5th), assists (10th) and three-point percentage (10th - .375). Her numbers were even sharper in conference games, where she ranked seventh in scoring (19.3 ppg.), first in free throw percentage (.919), third in assist/turnover ratio (2.03) and eighth in assists (4.1 apg.).
On Feb. 3, McBride swept all the major national player of the week awards (espnW, United States Basketball Writers Association and NCAA.com) and was named ACC Player of the Week after averaging 20.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists with a .600 field goal percentage in wins over No. 8/6 Maryland, Virginia Tech and No. 3 Duke.
Those performances are part of McBride's remarkable success in 11 games against Top 25 opponents this year, against which she has averaged 19.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game with a .466 field goal percentage. In six games against top-10 teams, she's even better, averaging 22.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game with a .495 field goal percentage.
Meanwhile, Loyd has started 33 games this season (she missed one due to injury), averaging career highs of 18.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game with four double-doubles, plus 11 20-point games and a team-high two 30-point outings (the first time a Notre Dame player has had multiple 30-point games in the same seasons since Riley in 1999-2000).
The reigning United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Freshman of the Year, Loyd ranks among the top 20 in the ACC in four statistical categories -- scoring (7th), free throw percentage (6th - .823), field goal percentage (11th - .528) and steals (tied-12th). In conference play, she finished fifth in the ACC in scoring (19.7 ppg.), as well as second in three-point percentage (.474), fifth in free throw percentage (.864), sixth in field goal percentage (.536) and ninth in steals (1.8 spg.).
Loyd, who has scored in double figures in 39 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in program history, is the third-fastest Fighting Irish player ever to score 1,000 career points, doing so in only 67 games to trail only Beth Morgan (56 games from 1993-97) and Shari Matvey (66 games from 1979-83). What's more, she is just the third Notre Dame player to score 1,000 points before the end of her sophomore year (along with Morgan in 1994-95 and Skylar Diggins in 2010-11).
Loyd also was named the espnW National Player of the Week and the ACC Player of the Week on Feb. 24 after averaging 25.7 points and 7.7 rebounds with a .509 field goal percentage in wins over Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and No. 7 Duke, the latter victory securing Notre Dame's first ACC regular season title.
The No. 2 (and top-seeded) Fighting Irish return to action in the NCAA Championship at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday when they play host to No. 21/18 (and fifth-seeded) Oklahoma State in an NCAA Notre Dame Regional semifinal game at Purcell Pavilion, with the game televised live on ESPN and the WatchESPN platform, while the Notre Dame Radio Network broadcast can be heard live in Michiana on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1), as well as online through the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND, with veteran broadcaster Bob Nagle on the call.
Tickets for Saturday's regional semifinal games (Baylor and Kentucky meet in the first game at noon ET) as well as the all-session passes for the NCAA Notre Dame Regional (Saturday and Monday) are sold out, while a limited number of tickets remain for Monday's regional final. Some additional tickets for Saturday's game could be made available depending on returns by participating teams, with fans wishing to purchase tickets for the regional encouraged to contact Notre Dame's Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office weekdays during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. ET) by calling (574) 631-7356, going online to UND.com/buytickets, or visiting the ticket windows inside Gate 9 (Rosenthal Atrium) at Purcell Pavilion.
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.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director