April 5, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - For the second consecutive season, Notre Dame has placed two players on the prestigious Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Coaches' All-America Team, it was announced Saturday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
Senior guard/tri-captain Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) earned a spot on the elite 10-player team for the second year in a row, while sophomore guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) was chosen for the first time in her career. McBride becomes the second player in program history to be selected multiple times for the WBCA Coaches' All-America Team along with three-time recipient Skylar Diggins (2011-13), while Loyd joins Diggins, McBride, Ruth Riley (2001) and Jacqueline Batteast (2005) as Notre Dame cagers who have received the accolade.
With Saturday's award, McBride becomes the 11th Notre Dame basketball player of either gender to be a consensus first-team All-American, adding this latest honor to prior first-team selections from the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), espnW and the Wooden Award and the third Fighting Irish women's basketball player to pull off that feat, along with Riley (2001) and Diggins (2012 and 2013).
Meanwhile, Loyd also is consensus All-American for the first time in her young career, having also earned that distinction on various teams this year from the AP (second team), USBWA (first team) and espnW (second team).
McBride and Loyd were among 10 players selected from a group of 52 finalists for the 2014 WBCA Coaches' All-America Team, with that pair joining Maryland's Alyssa Thomas as the three Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) representatives on this year's squad. The ACC and the American Athletic Conference led all leagues with three WBCA Coaches' All-America Team selections apiece, with the others coming from the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences.
A finalist for every major national individual honor, including the Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award and Honda Sports Award (given to the national player of the year), as well as the ACC Player of the Year according to the league's 15 head coaches and a first-team all-ACC selection, 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 36 games for Notre Dame this season, registering career highs of 17.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game with a 1.89 assist/turnover ratio, while posting 12 20-point games.
McBride is a fixture among the ACC statistical leaders, ranking in the top 15 in five categories -- scoring (12th), free throw percentage (2nd - .881; also 12th in the nation), assist/turnover ratio (3rd), assists (7th) and three-point percentage (10th - .373). 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, USBWA 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 13 games against Top 25 opponents this year, against which she has averaged 18.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. In seven games against top-10 teams, she's even better, averaging 20.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game with a .482 field goal percentage.
Loyd, who also was a first-team all-ACC pick as well as the Most Outstanding Player of both the NCAA Notre Dame Regional and the ACC Championship, has started 35 games this season (she missed one due to injury), averaging career highs of 18.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game with five double-doubles, plus team highs of 13 20-point and a school record-tying three 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).
Loyd also ranks among the top 20 in the ACC in five statistical categories -- scoring (5th), free throw percentage (6th - .824), field goal percentage (9th - .524), steals (12th) and rebounding (18th). 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 41 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 (1,108) 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.
No. 2 Notre Dame (36-0) has advanced to the NCAA Women's Final Four for the fourth consecutive season and the sixth time in program history. The Fighting Irish will play in the NCAA national semifinals at 6:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. CT) Sunday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., against No. 11/9 Maryland live on ESPN, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN platform, with radio coverage on Michiana's Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and nationally on the Westwood One/NCAA Radio Network.
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