Nov. 26, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame freshman guard Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) has been selected as the BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week, it was announced Monday afternoon by the conference office. It's the first time in Loyd's young college career she has been chosen for a weekly conference honor.
In addition, this marks the 77th time a Fighting Irish women's basketball player has earned a BIG EAST weekly award (44 Players of the Week, 33 Freshmen of the Week), the second-most selections in conference history despite the fact Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST in 1995-96, a full 14 seasons after the league began sponsoring women's basketball (1982-83).
Loyd was a consistent force at both ends of the court for Notre Dame last week, averaging a team-high 19.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game with a .727 field goal percentage (16-of-22) and a .600 three-point percentage (3-of-5) as Notre Dame posted victories over Mercer (93-36) and at No. 19/22 UCLA (76-64).
Loyd's stat lines were virtually identical in last week's wins, as she piled up 19 points (on 8-of-10 shooting), six rebounds, five assists and two steals in only 19 minutes vs. Mercer on Nov. 20 at Purcell Pavilion. Three days later, Loyd scored 19 points (on 8-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-3 from three-point range), and added seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in leading Notre Dame to its first win over UCLA at legendary Pauley Pavilion since 1997. Loyd also led the Fighting Irish in scoring for the first time in her young career at UCLA, a performance that was highlighted by three baskets in a 47-second span midway through the first half to punctuate a 15-2 Notre Dame run that gave the Fighting Irish the lead for good and secured their second win over a Top 25 opponent (both away from home) in the first four games of the 2012-13 season.
Loyd is the sixth Fighting Irish rookie in the past five seasons to cop the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week award, with current sophomore forward Markisha Wright (Des Moines, Iowa/West) to most recent Notre Dame recipient of that award on Jan. 2, 2012. Other current Fighting Irish players who previously garnered that honor include senior All-America guard/co-captain Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington), who earned BIG EAST Freshman of the Week accolades four times during the 2009-10 season, and junior forward Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, Ontario/St. Mary's Catholic), who was selected for the honor on Dec. 13, 2010.
Loyd is the second Fighting Irish player in as many weeks to earn conference recognition. On Nov. 19, junior guard Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) was chosen for a place on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll.
Notre Dame (4-0) also reached a significant team milestone on Monday, appearing in the Associated Press poll for the 100th consecutive week with its No. 5 ranking, and becoming one of just six schools in the country with an active AP poll run of 100 weeks or more. The Fighting Irish will return to the hardwood at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday when they travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich., to take on Central Michigan at McGuirk Arena. The game can be heard live on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) in South Bend, as well as around the world on the official Notre Dame athletics web site, UND.com.
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.