Loyd to skip final season at Notre Dame

Published 10:53 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Jewell Loyd announced she will skip her final season at Notre Dame to enter the WNBA Draft. (Leader photo/File)

Jewell Loyd announced she will skip her final season at Notre Dame to enter the WNBA Draft. (Leader photo/File)

NOTRE DAME — University of Notre Dame women’s basketball junior guard Jewell Loyd announced Wednesday evening that she will forego her senior season with the Fighting Irish and place her name under consideration for the 2015 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Draft.

Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) is eligible to enter this year’s Draft due to a league provision that allows players to submit their names for consideration in a given draft if the player’s 22nd birthday occurs within the calendar year of the same season (Loyd will turn 22 on Oct. 5). A player must make such a declaration at least 10 days prior to the draft or 24 hours after her last game if she is still playing 10 days prior to the draft (as was the case with Loyd).

Loyd is projected to be among the top three selections in this year’s draft, and if she is chosen that high, it would make Notre Dame the first school in the 19-year history of the WNBA college draft to produce lottery (top-four) picks in four consecutive years (2012-Devereaux Peters to Minnesota; 2013-Skylar Diggins to Tulsa; 2014-Kayla McBride to San Antonio — all with the No. 3 overall selection).

The 2015 WNBA Draft will be held at 7 p.m. April 16 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The first round of the draft will be televised live to a national cable audience on ESPN2, with the second and third rounds broadcast live on ESPN3. The Seattle Storm hold the No. 1 and No. 3 picks in this year’s draft (the latter selection obtained via a trade with the Connecticut Sun), while the Tulsa Shock will be choosing second.

“I am incredibly grateful for my experience at Notre Dame and the support I have received from Coach (Muffet) McGraw, our staff, my teammates and the entire ND community,” Loyd said in a statement to The Associated Press. “I have grown as a woman and as a basketball player and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such an inspiring community.”

“We appreciate all that Jewell has done for our program and the University of Notre Dame during her time here,” Fighting Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said. “We understand this was not an easy decision. We wish her nothing but happiness and success at the next level.

“Our focus remains the same as it was moments after Tuesday night’s national championship game ended,” McGraw added. “We plan on building on this year’s success, including our fifth straight Final Four, fourth national championship game appearance in five years and fourth conference title in a row, with an outstanding incoming freshman class ranked among the top three in the nation. The future is so bright for our program and we couldn’t be more excited to get started with our preparations for the 2015-16 season.”