March 31, 2012
For the second consecutive season, Notre Dame junior guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) has been named to the prestigious Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Coaches' All-America Team, it was announced Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Diggins is the first Fighting Irish player to earn WBCA Coaches' All-America honors twice in her career, with Ruth Riley (2001) and Jacqueline Batteast (2005) the other Notre Dame cagers to receive the accolade.
With Saturday's award, Diggins secured her place as the second consensus first-team All-America selection in the 35-year history of the Notre Dame women's basketball program, joining Riley, who also garnered first-team All-America recognition from the Associated Press, WBCA Coaches and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). Diggins also is the third three-time All-American in school history, along with Riley (1999-2001) and Batteast (2002, 2004-05).
Diggins was one of 10 players selected from a group of 52 finalists for this year's WBCA Coaches' All-America Team, with those players not chosen for the final squad earning WBCA Coaches' All-America honorable mention status. Among this year's honorable mention All-America selections were Notre Dame senior guard/tri-captain Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) and fifth-year senior forward/tri-captain Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick), both of whom earned that distinction for the second consecutive year.
This year's Fighting Irish All-America trio gives Notre Dame a total of 10 two-time All-America selections in program history, including four in the past five years. It's also the fourth time Notre Dame has fielded three All-Americans in the same season, having previously done so in 2000, 2001 and 2011.
Novosel's honor was one of two new All-America citations for the crafty Fighting Irish wing, who also was chosen to the five-player Lowe's Senior CLASS All-America First Team. Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogwumike was selected as this year's recipient of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, with both the team and individual honors also announced on Saturday. The award recognizes individuals who excel on the court, in the classroom, through their character and in the community.
Having already earned this year's Nancy Lieberman Award as the nation's top point guard, Diggins is a finalist for every major national player-of-the-year award in 2011-12, remaining under consideration for the State Farm Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Player of the Year honor. She also is the reigning BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year and a two-time unanimous first-team all-BIG EAST selection.
This season, Diggins is the only BIG EAST player to rank among the top five in the conference in three of the five major statistical categories. She leads the conference in both assists (5.8 apg. - 15th in nation) and steals (2.6 spg. - 55th in nation; school-record 97 steals overall), and she is fourth in scoring (16.7 ppg. - 73rd in nation), while also posting a conference-best 2.17 assist-to-turnover ratio (10th in nation). What's more, she ranks among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage (eighth - .505; 29th in nation) and free throw percentage (11th - .779).
Diggins also wrapped up the BIG EAST regular season statistical titles in assists (5.8 apg. - second Notre Dame player to win the BIG EAST assist title, and first since current Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey in 1999-2000), steals (2.6 spg.), and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3). She finished conference play among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in scoring (third - 17.8 ppg.), field goal percentage (ninth - .508) and free throw percentage (12th - .788).
Novosel is a two-time first-team all-BIG EAST and Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Region I Team selection. She also garnered Most Valuable Player honors at the Junkanoo Jam and a spot on the Preseason WNIT All-Tournament Team earlier this season.
The 5-foot-11 guard has started all 37 games for the Fighting Irish this season, ranking sixth in the BIG EAST in scoring (15.3 ppg.), while leading the conference with career-high marks in both three-point percentage (.420) and free throw percentage (.844; also 31st in nation). She has scored in double figures a team-high 31 times this season (78 in her career), and stands second on the team with 10 20-point games, including a career-high 32 points against USF on Feb. 25 (Senior Day) at Purcell Pavilion. For her career, Novosel ranks 10th in school history with 1,544 points, second with 451 free throws made and 142 games played, and fourth with a .395 three-point percentage.
Peters is a two-time WBCA All-Region I Team and first-team all-BIG EAST selection, as well as a finalist for the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year award, and a two-time BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year choice. This season, she is the only BIG EAST player to rank among the top 10 in the conference in three of the five major defensive statistical categories -- rebounding (second - 9.4 rpg.), blocked shots (third - 2.0 bpg.) and steals (eighth - 2.1 spg.) -- while ranking 40th in the nation in both rebounds and blocks.
Peters has tied the school records for 15-rebound games (7) and 15-point/15-rebound games (4) in a single season, with both marks first set nearly 35 years ago during the program's first varsity season (1977-78). She also amassed a career-high 11 double-doubles this year (tying for sixth-most in school history), including eight during the past 16 games, and she is the first Fighting Irish player ever to pile up 70 blocks, 70 steals and 70 assists in a single season.
Notre Dame (34-3) will take on No. 3 Connecticut for the fourth time this season when the two schools square off in a national semifinal game at the NCAA Women's Final Four at 4:30 p.m. MT (6:30 p.m. ET) Sunday from the Pepsi Center in Denver. The second national semifinal clash between the Fighting Irish and Huskies in as many years (and third all-time) will be televised live to a national cable audience on ESPN, with additional coverage on ESPN3/WatchESPN. The live Notre Dame Radio Network broadcast can be heard free of charge on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com) with veteran broadcaster Bob Nagle on the call, while the Westwood One/Dial Global Radio Network will carry the game live on approximately 250 stations nationwide and via satellite on Sirius/XM Radio (Sirius Channel 92, XM Channel 190).
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 @notredamewbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
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