March 30, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame fifth-year senior guard/tri-captain Lindsay Schrader (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) and freshman guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) have earned honorable mention All-America accolades from the Associated Press, the national wire service announced Tuesday.
It's the first All-America honor for each player, with this marking the sixth time in program history (and first since 2005) that the Fighting Irish have fielded multiple All-America selections in the same season. All told, Notre Dame has had 10 players earned AP All-America status a total of 17 times in the past 15 seasons (including at least one player at all five floor positions), with Charel Allen being the most recent selection in 2008.
Tuesday's announcement represents the second time in less than a week that Schrader and Diggins have copped national award recognition. On March 25, both players were among a group of 40 finalists for the 10-player State Farm Coaches' All-America Team, which will be unveiled April 3 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, during the open practice sessions for the NCAA Women's Final Four. The 30 players who are not selected for the final State Farm Coaches' All-America Team will be designated as honorable mention All-Americans, duplicating the AP awards earned by Schrader and Diggins on Tuesday.
The AP All-America Teams (three squads of five players each, plus 31 honorable mention choices) were voted upon by a 40-member national media panel that also cast weekly ballots for the AP Top 25 poll. Voting for the All-America teams took place prior to this year's NCAA Championship.
"It's such a rewarding and fulfilling moment when you see players recognized for the hard work and dedication they have shown, not only during the course of the season, but especially in the summer and the preseason when no one is watching," Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. "Skylar had a great freshman season that saw her developing with each game, and we're looking forward to seeing that continue this summer and throughout the rest of her career. As for Lindsay, it's hard to put a finger on how much she has meant to this program, both on and off the court, during the past five years. The growth and maturity she has shown has been just remarkable, and the leadership qualities she brought to our team, particularly this season, will set an example for our future teams to follow."
A three-time all-BIG EAST Conference selection, including a two-time first-team all-conference honoree, Schrader is one of only four Fighting Irish players to compile 1,400 points and 800 rebounds (1,429 points/828 rebounds) in their careers, joining fellow All-America selections Katryna Gaither (2,126 points/986 rebounds), Ruth Riley (2,072 points/1,007 rebounds) and Jacqueline Batteast (1,874 points/965 rebounds) in that select company. She also holds the school records for double-doubles by a guard in both a single season (seven in 2008-09) and a career (17) during a tenure that was extended to a fifth year after she missed the entire 2006-07 campaign with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee, an injury suffered on the fourth day of preseason practice.
Also a team tri-captain the past two seasons, Schrader ranks among the top 10 in school history in nine categories, including rebounds (6th - 828), games started (tied/2nd - 124), consecutive games started (6th - 73), field goals attempted (7th - 1,250), double-figure scoring games (tied/8th - 78), minutes per game (8th - 28.3), total minutes (9th - 3,620) and field goals made (tied/9th - 594). She also ranks 13th in school history with 1,429 points, just one point behind current Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey (who also returned for a fifth season of eligibility in 2000-01 after suffering an ACL injury early in her freshman year of 1996-97).
This season, Schrader earned Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Region I honors after leading Notre Dame in rebounding (6.9 rpg.) and double-doubles (6; three against Top 25 opponents), while ranking second in scoring (11.3 ppg.) and third in field goal percentage (career-high .540). She also scored in double figures in 22 games, including a season-high 18 points on three occasions.
Meanwhile, Diggins joined Schrader on this year's all-region squad, in addition to earning second-team all-BIG EAST plaudits and a unanimous selection to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team. Those honors came following one of the finest rookie seasons in the 33-year history of Fighting Irish women's basketball, with Diggins becoming the first freshman in 17 seasons to lead Notre Dame in scoring and the first Fighting Irish rookie in 16 years to top 100 assists in her debut season. What's more, she finished as just the third player in program history (and the first freshman) to log 400 points, 100 assists and 75 steals in a single season, joining Ivey (2000-01) and Duffy (2004-05) in that elite club.
Diggins led Notre Dame in scoring (13.9 ppg.), steals (2.6 spg.) and assists (tied - 3.2 apg.) this season, while ranking third on the squad in three-point percentage (.350) and free throw percentage (.782). She also chalked up a team-high 24 double-digit scoring games, including seven 20-point outings, capped by a season-high 31 points against Vermont in the second round of the NCAA Championship on March 23 at Purcell Pavilion. That scoring effort was the highest ever recorded by a Fighting Irish rookie in NCAA postseason play, while her 13 field goals made tied the program record for an NCAA tournament game.
In 2009-10, Diggins set Notre Dame freshman records for steals (90), free throws made (111), free throws attempted (142) and minutes played (1,028), while ranking among the top five on the Fighting Irish rookie charts for points (3rd - 484), scoring average (tied/4th - 13.8 ppg.), field goals made (3rd - 169), field goals attempted (3rd - 385), three-point field goals made (4th - 35), three-point attempts (5th - 100), three-point percentage (5th - .350), assists (3rd - 112), steals per game (2nd - 2.6 spg.), games started (tied/2nd - 30), games played (2nd - 35) and minutes per game (5th - 29.4).
This season, Schrader and Diggins led Notre Dame to a 29-6 record and its eighth NCAA Sweet 16 berth in the past 14 years, as well as its 15th consecutive NCAA Championship appearance (and 17th overall). What's more, the Fighting Irish recorded the third-highest win total in program history, while also setting school records for steals (450), turnovers forced (791), average home attendance (8,377 per game), total home attendance (142,412) and sellout crowds (6).
Diggins is one of eight monogram winners (and two starters) who will be returning for Notre Dame next season. They will be joined by a group of three incoming freshmen -- 2010 McDonald's All-America guard Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy), 2010 AP Michigan Class A Player of the Year and all-state forward Ariel Braker (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich./Grosse Pointe North) and Canadian Senior National Team member/2010 FIBA World Championships participant and standout forward Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, Ontario/St. Mary's Catholic Secondary School/National Elite Development Academy -- that collectively are ranked among the top 10 incoming classes in the nation by both ESPN Hoopgurlz (eighth) and All-Star Girls Report (10th).