Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins is one of 12 finalists for the State Farm Wade Trophy. (Cassopolis Vigilant Photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

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Diggins finalist for State Farm Wade Trophy

Published 1:29pm Saturday, March 24, 2012

NOTRE DAME  — For the third time in three weeks, Notre Dame junior guard Skylar Diggins has been chosen as a finalist for a major national player of the year award, as the Fighting Irish floor general is one of 12 remaining candidates for the 2012 State Farm Wade Trophy, which is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding NCAA Division I women’s basketball player.

The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS), the two organizations that coordinate the award, along with the State Farm Wade Trophy Committee, announced this year’s 12 finalists Friday.

Diggins, who also was named a finalist for the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy earlier this month, is looking to become the first Notre Dame player to earn the State Farm Wade Trophy, with Ruth Riley the only prior Fighting Irish cager to be chosen as a finalist when she was among the leading candidates for the honor in 2001 (the award went to Missouri State’s Jackie Stiles that season).

Joining Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) on this year’s rundown of State Farm Wade Trophy contenders are: Elena Delle Donne (Delaware), Brittney Griner (Baylor), Shenise Johnson (Miami-Fla.), Anna Martin (DePaul), A’dia Mathies (Kentucky), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Stanford), Samantha Prahalis (Ohio State), Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Alyssa Thomas (Maryland) and Julie Wojta (Wisconsin-Green Bay).

The 2012 finalists were selected by a vote of the State Farm Wade Trophy Committee, whose members are comprised of leading basketball coaches, journalists and administrators. This committee also will selected the recipient of the 2012 State Farm Wade Trophy from the 10-member NCAA Division I State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team, with the recipient to be announced on the WBCA Awards Show at 7 p.m. April 2 in Denver. The event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Diggins already has been named to the WBCA All-Region I Team and was tapped as the Big East Conference Player of the Year, in addition to earning unanimous first-team all-conference honors for the second consecutive season. She also is one of eight final nominees for the Nancy Lieberman Award (going to the nation’s top point guard), and is a midseason candidate for the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Player of the Year award.

This season, Diggins is the only Big East player to rank among the top five in the conference in three of the five major statistical categories. She leads the Big East in both assists (5.7 apg. – 16th in nation) and steals (2.6 spg. – 62nd in nation), and is fourth in scoring (16.8 ppg. – 71st in nation), while also posting a conference-best 2.12 assist-to-turnover ratio (15th in nation), and ranking among the top 10 in the league in field goal percentage (sixth – .511; 27th in nation) and free throw percentage (10th – .785).

What’s more, she wrapped up the Big East regular season statistical titles in assists (5.8 apg. – second ND player to win Big East assist title, first since current Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey in 1999-2000), steals (2.6 spg.) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), and finished league play among the top 15 in the Big East in scoring (third – 17.8 ppg.), field goal percentage (ninth – .508) and free throw percentage (12th – .788).

Notre Dame, ranked No. 4, will continue postseason play as the top-seeded Fighting Irish move into the NCAA Sweet 16 and a Raleigh Regional semifinal matchup with No. 21/25 (and fifth-seeded) St. Bonaventure at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. The game will be televised live to a national cable audience on ESPN2, with additional coverage on ESPN3/WatchESPN, and the live Notre Dame Radio Network broadcast can be heard free of charge on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.UND.com).

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