Loyd named All-American by three outlets

Published 11:36 am Friday, April 3, 2015

Jewell Loyd was named first team All-American by three outlets this week. (Leader photo/File)

Jewell Loyd was named first team All-American by three outlets this week. (Leader photo/File)

NOTRE DAME — For the fifth consecutive year, three University of Notre Dame women’s basketball players have earned All-America honors from at least one major outlet, with junior guard Jewell Loyd unanimously receiving first-team All-America accolades from the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and the John R. Wooden Award.

Sophomore guard Lindsay Allen and freshman forward Brianna Turner received honorable mention All-America plaudits from the Associated Press.

All three outlets announced their All-America teams within the past 24 hours, with Loyd all but securing consensus All-America honors for the second consecutive season, while Allen and Turner earned All-America status for the first time in their respective careers. Notre Dame now has fielded 18 players who have earned All-America citations (top three teams or honorable mention) during the program’s 38-year history, including 12 multiple-time All-America selections.

Loyd, who was an Associated Press second-team All-America pick last year, becomes the 10th Notre Dame player to be a two-time AP All-America choice, and the fourth to make the media group’s top three teams on two occasions, as well as the first unanimous choice since Skylar Diggins in 2013. This also marks the fifth consecutive season Notre Dame has placed at least one player on the top three squads of the AP All-America Team, following in the footsteps of Diggins (2011 — third team; 2012 and 2013 — first team), Kayla McBride (2013 — third team; 2014 — first team) and Natalie Achonwa (2014 — third team).

Loyd returns to the USBWA All-America Team this year and is one of four Fighting Irish players who have earned USBWA All-America recognition, as well as the third to make the 10-player team twice (the others being Ruth Riley in 2000 and 2001, and Diggins in 2012 and 2013). What’s more, this is the fourth consecutive season Notre Dame has produced a USBWA All-America honoree, with McBride joining Loyd on last year’s squad following Diggins’ back-to-back selections the previous two campaigns.

Loyd also repeats as a finalist for the USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the national player of the year, which will be presented at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, shortly before the tipoff of this year’s NCAA Women’s Final Four national semifinal games.

This year represents Loyd’s first appearance on the Wooden Award All-America Team, and the fourth year in a row Notre Dame has fielded a Wooden Award All-America pick and the resulting distinction as a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, which is presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club to the nation’s top player. Diggins took Wooden All-America honors in 2012 and 2013, followed by McBride last season.

Loyd’s selection coincided with Fighting Irish men’s basketball player Jerian Grant garnering similar accolades, making Notre Dame the only school in the country to produce a Wooden Award finalist on both the men’s and women’s sides.

Loyd and Turner could add further All-America certificates to their resume on Saturday when the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Coaches’ All-America Team is announced at 1:10 p.m. Saturday at Amalie Arena, during Super Saturday events surrounding the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Tuesday’s announcement continues a flurry of late-season awards for both Loyd and Turner, who were WBCA all-region selections and were tabbed the ACC Player and Freshman of the Year earlier this month. Loyd also was chosen as the espnW National Player of the Year, and she is a finalist for numerous other national player-of-the-year awards, including the WBCA Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy and Dawn Staley Award.

Along with taking the ACC’s top individual awards, Loyd and Turner garnered first-team all-ACC and All-ACC Defensive Team honors, while Turner was selected to the All-ACC Freshman Team. In addition, for the second year in a row, Loyd was named the Most Valuable Player of the ACC Championship, becoming the seventh two-time ACC Championship MVP in conference history and the second Notre Dame player to be a two-time conference tournament MVP after Krissi Davis at the 1989 and 1991 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Tournaments.