3 Notre Dame players named to All-America TeamPublished 10:35pm Thursday, March 24, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the first time in program history, three Notre Dame women’s basketball players — sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington), junior guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) and senior forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) — have been selected among the 40 finalists for the State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team, it was announced Wednesday afternoon by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The Fighting Irish are one of only two programs in the country (along with Stanford) to have three players chosen as finalists this season, with Notre Dame having fielded five State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team finalists in the past two seasons.
The group of 40 finalists were selected by the State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team selection committee from a slate of 52 all-region honorees across of the WBCA’s eight regions. These players remain in the running for spots on the 10-member State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team that will be unveiled at 9 a.m. April 2 in Indianapolis during events surrounding the NCAA Women’s Final Four. Notre Dame has had two players earn a place on the prestigious squad — Ruth Riley (2001) and Jacqueline Batteast (2005).
Diggins earned her second finalist citation in as many seasons, while Novosel and Peters both garnered finalist status for the first time in their respective careers. Diggins also was one of only three sophomores in the nation to earn All-America finalist recognition this season, along with Baylor center Brittany Griner and Georgetown guard Sugar Rodgers. What’s more, Diggins is Notre Dame’s first two-time State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team finalist since Megan Duffy pulled off that feat in 2005 and 2006.
Wednesday’s announcement is the latest in a recent spate of awards for all three Fighting Irish players, each of whom also were tabbed for WBCA All-Region I Team and first-team all-BIG EAST Conference honors earlier this month. Diggins was a unanimous choice (her second consecutive all-league award), while Novosel and Peters were first-time all-BIG EAST selections. What’s more, Novosel was tapped as the BIG EAST’s Most Improved Player (Notre Dame’s first since Duffy in 2005) and Peters was chosen as the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year (the first Fighting Irish player to be so honored since Riley’s three-year dominance of the award from 1999-2001).
The 30 finalists not chosen for the 10-member State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team will be designated as State Farm Coaches’ All-America Honorable Mentions, a status earned by nine Fighting Irish players, all in the past two decades — Karen Robinson (1991), Katryna Gaither (1996, 1997), Beth Morgan (1996, 1997), Riley (1999, 2000), Batteast (2002, 2004), Duffy (2005, 2006), Charel Allen (2007), Diggins (2010) and Lindsay Schrader (2010).
No. 9/7 Notre Dame (28-7) has advanced to the Sweet 16 (regional semifinals) of the NCAA Championship for the ninth time in the past 15 seasons, and third time in four years. The second-seeded Fighting Irish will take on No. 6 seed Oklahoma in the NCAA Dayton Regional semifinals at approximately 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio. The game will be televised live to a national cable audience on ESPNHD and via the Internet at ESPN3.com, with the live radio broadcast available throughout the Michiana area on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) and on the official Notre Dame athletics website, www.UND.com, with veteran broadcaster Bob Nagle on the call.