Diggins, McGraw, Loyd help Irish sweep Big East Major Awards

Notre Dame swept the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball major awards as senior guard Skylar Diggins was named BIG EAST Player of the Year for the second-straight year. Guard Jewell Loyd was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Year and Muffet McGraw took home BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors.

Diggins is the 6th player in history to repeat as Big East Player of the Year and the first to do so from Notre Dame. Ruth Riley and Jackie Batteast previously won the Player of the Year honor once.

Diggins, who also was the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year for two-straight seasons, helped her team go undefeated in league play, while posting an overall record of 28-1. Diggins helped lead the Irish to their second-straight outright BIG EAST regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the 2013 BIG EAST Championship presented by American Eagle Outfitters. It was the first time the Irish were undefeated in league play (16-0).

Diggins averaged 17.3 points per game, 5.9 assists in all games and 18.5 ppg in conference play, second in the league. Diggins wrapped up the regular season ranked 21st in the nation in assists per game. She tied for fourth nationally with the most assists in a single game, dishing out 14 against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 31. In a win against DePaul on Feb. 24, Diggins recorded a triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. She also became the school’s all-time steals leader with 86 this season.

One thing Diggins did not do was ever win Big East Freshman of the Year. Guard Jewell Loyd becomes the 3rd Irish player to do so.

Loyd played in 28 of the Irish’s 29 games so far this season, starting all but one of those. She is fourth on the team in scoring with 11.7 ppg and ranks second on the team with 5.3 rpg. In conference only games, Loyd chipped in 10.9 ppg and 5.3 rpg. She was named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week four times.

Muffet McGraw wins her 2nd Big East Coach of the Year honor with the first coming in 2001 when Notre Dame won its only national championship.

Muffet McGraw has led a team that ranks third nationally in scoring offense (80.8) and fourth in scoring margin (+25.0). After winning the regular-season title last year, the Irish were expected to drop production after losing seniors Natalie Novosel, Devereaux Peters and Brittany Mallory to graduation. Notre Dame has finished as the runner-up for the national title for the last two years. The Irish, who were picked to finish second in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll, are also fourth nationally in field-goal percentage (.467) and free throw percentage (.790). ND has a +11.8 rebounding margin, which ranks third nationally. McGraw won her 700th game this year at Villanova on Feb. 5. She enters the postseason 707-257, with 619 of those wins coming in 26 seasons with the Irish.

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