April 2, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame incoming women's basketball guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) scored a game-high 18 points, while adding five rebounds and a team-best three steals, but her East team dropped a 69-68 decision to the West squad at the 2009 McDonald's Girls High School All-America Game on Wednesday night at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla. Diggins shared the John R. Wooden Most Valuable Player award with the West's Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, becoming the first future Irish women's basketball player to garner the McDonald's game MVP honor and the fifth Notre Dame women's cager to play in the prestigious all-star contest (first since current Irish sophomore forward Devereaux Peters in 2007).
Diggins, who won the McDonald's 3-Point Shootout title on Monday night, scored 12 of her 18 points in the final seven minutes, including six in a row in the closing 90 seconds, as the East frantically rallied from a seven-point deficit. Diggins herself canned a long three-pointer from the top of the key, followed by a steal and an old-fashioned three-point play with 58 seconds left that brought the East within 67-66. After the West padded its lead with a layup, Diggins had her game-tying three-point attempt blocked with three seconds left, before her teammate (and fellow Indiana prep standout) Kelly Faris grabbed the loose ball and was fouled on her own three-point try with 1.8 seconds remaining. Faris made the first two of her three foul shots, but missed on the last attempt, preserving the West's one-point win.
Wednesday's margin was the closest in the eight-year history of the McDonald's girls' game, while Diggins' 18 points tied for the fifth-highest single game total on record, and the most since current Connecticut guard Maya Moore and current Stanford forward Kayla Pedersen each scored 18 points in the 2007 game. This year's McDonald's Girls High School All-America game will be replayed in its entirety from 3-5 p.m. (ET) Friday on ESPN2.
Meanwhile, Diggins now heads to St. Louis, where she will take part in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) High School All-America Game at 4:30 p.m. (CT) Saturday inside the Washington University Athletics Complex. The reigning Gatorade and Naismith National High School Player of the Year, as well as the recently-crowned Indiana Miss Basketball, Diggins will be the sixth Irish women's basketball signee to take part in the WBCA High School All-America Game, following the footsteps of Alicia Ratay (1999), Katy Flecky (2001) and Courtney LaVere (2002), as well as future Notre Dame teammates Lindsay Schrader (2005) and Ashley Barlow (2006).
The 2009 WBCA High School All-America Game will be televised on a tape-delayed basis at 5 p.m (ET) Sunday on ESPNU.