March 31, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the first time in school history, two Notre Dame women's basketball players have been named to the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-America Team, as senior guard/tri-captain Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) and sophomore guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) were voted to the 10-player squad, it was announced Monday by the USBWA.
This marks the third consecutive season Notre Dame has been represented on the USBWA All-America Team, with Skylar Diggins earning a place on the squad in back-to-back year (2012 and 2013). In addition, Ruth Riley was selected for the 2001 USBWA All-America Team on the way to being chosen as the USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year (all 10 members of the All-America Team are finalists for that award, with the 2014 recipient to be announced at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.).
Loyd is one of two underclassmen on this year's USBWA All-America Team (along with Connecticut sophomore Breanna Stewart), with the other eight players on the squad (including McBride) all being seniors: Stefanie Dolson (Connecticut), Bria Hartley (Connecticut), Maggie Lucas (Penn State), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Shoni Schimmel (Louisville), Odyssey Sims (Baylor) and Alyssa Thomas (Maryland).
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) had three representatives (Loyd, McBride, Thomas) on this year's USBWA All-America Team, second-most of any league behind the American Athletic Conference. In fact, no other league had more than one honoree besides the ACC and the American.
The USBWA All-America Team is comprised of the nation's 10 best players, regardless of position, as selected by the USBWA membership based on regular season performance.
Loyd and McBride both are finalists for the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award (and McBride also is one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy) given to the national player of the year. In addition, McBride was a unanimous choice as an espnW first-team All-American, while Loyd was an espnW second-team All-America selections.
Additional All-America teams and national honors (for both players and coaches) are expected to be announced within the next week.
Also a WBCA Coaches All-Region II choice, and the ACC Player of the Year, McBride is one of the country's top all-around players. A member of the 2014-16 USA Basketball National Team Player Pool, McBride has started all 35 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 10 in five categories -- scoring (10th), free throw percentage (2nd - .882; also 12th in the nation), assist/turnover ratio (4th), assists (8th) and three-point percentage (10th - .376). 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 12 games against Top 25 opponents this year, against which she has averaged 19.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game with a .456 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.
Loyd, who also is a WBCA Coaches' All-Region II and first-team all-ACC pick, has started 33 games this season (she missed one due to injury), averaging career highs of 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game with five double-doubles, plus team highs of 12 20-point and two 30-point games (the first time a Notre Dame player has had multiple 30-point games in the same seasons since Riley in 1999-2000).
The reigning 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 - .824), field goal percentage (8th - .529) 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 40 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 has scored more points in her first two seasons at Notre Dame (1,078) than anyone in program history, and she is just the third Fighting Irish player to score 1,000 points before the end of her sophomore year (along with Morgan in 1994-95 and 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 (35-0) return to action in the NCAA Championship at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Monday when they play host to No. 5/6 (and second-seeded) Baylor (32-4) in the NCAA Notre Dame Regional final 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 nationally on the Westwood One/NCAA Radio Network (check local listings for availability) and online through the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND.
A limited number of tickets for Monday's game remain available, with fans encouraged to contact Notre Dame's Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office by calling (574) 631-7356, going online to UND.com/buytickets or through Twitter (@NDTix), 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