ND’s Diggins receives Lieberman Award

Published 11:59 am Sunday, April 1, 2012

Skylar Diggins, right, is the first Notre Dame player to receive the Nancy Lieberman Award. It was established in 2000. (Daily Star Photo/File)

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame junior guard Skylar Diggins continues to blaze trails seldom seen in the history of Fighting Irish women’s basketball, adding to her ever-growing resume on Friday when she was selected as the 2012 recipient of the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top NCAA Division I point guard by the Rotary Club of Detroit.

Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) is the first Notre Dame player chosen for the honor that debuted in 2000.

Sportswriters from across the country selected Diggins from a group of eight final nominees, with the award presented to the player who best exhibits the traits of floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills that personified Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman during her legendary playing career. The three players named as finalists for the award besides Diggins were Angel Goodrich (Kansas), Chelsea Gray (Duke) and Odyssey Sims (Baylor).

Diggins will be presented with this year’s Nancy Lieberman Award at a noon luncheon April 18 at The Detroit Athletic Club in Detroit.

Diggins is a finalist for every major national player-of-the-year award this season, remaining under consideration for the State Farm Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Player of the Year honor. She also is a first-team Associated Press All-American, as well as a Wooden Award and USBWA All-American, not to mention the reigning Big East Conference Player of the Year and a two-time unanimous first-team all-Big East selection.

What’s more, she is a prime candidate For the State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team, which will be announced by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) on Saturday during NCAA Women’s Final Four activities in Denver.

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 conference in both assists (5.8 apg. – 15th in nation) and steals (2.6 spg. – 55th in nation), and she is fourth in scoring (16.7 ppg. – 73rd in nation), while also posting a conference-best 2.17 assist-to-turnover ratio (10th in nation).

What’s more, she ranks among the top 15 in the Big East in field goal percentage (eighth – .505; 29th in nation) and free throw percentage (11th – .779).

Diggins also wrapped up the Big East regular season statistical titles in assists (5.8 apg. – second Notre Dame player to win the Big East assist title, and first since current Fighting Irish assistant coach Niele Ivey in 1999-2000), steals (2.6 spg.), and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3).

She finished conference 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).