Notre Dame women's basketball: Diggins joins elite group in ‘Ring’

CURT RALLO
South Bend Tribune

South Bend’s Skylar Diggins took the Notre Dame women’s basketball team to great heights in her career, including three consecutive Final Four appearances.

It’s only fitting, then, that her name and No. 4 uniform should hang from the Purcell Pavilion rafters.

Diggins, a four-time All-America guard and the Notre Dame women’s basketball all-time scoring leader, will be inducted into the Notre Dame Ring of Honor on Saturday, Nov. 16, before the Fighting Irish game against Valparaiso. Tip-off for the game is set for 2 p.m.

Diggins will be joining Ruth Riley, who led Notre Dame to the national title in 2001, and men’s basketball players Austin Carr, Adrian Dantley and Luke Harangody as Irish players who have had their banners raised.

“I thought I would be able to play in that gym forever,” Diggins said of the lasting tribute to her legacy. “It seems like I’ve been around it for 11 years, what have you, going to the games, playing for Notre Dame. I never wanted to leave that gym, and now I’ll never have to.”

A former South Bend Washington High School star, Diggins said the honor is especially meaningful because of her hometown ties.

“I grew up wanting to go to Notre Dame so badly, being around the program and getting to go to the games and watching them play, being able to live out that experience of being a student-athlete at Notre Dame was the best decision of my life,’’ Diggins said. “The experiences I had there, being able to go to the university and being able to play for Notre Dame, it was the best time of my life.

“If you look at the list of names in the Ring of Honor, they’ve done so much for their respective programs. They have been very successful players at the next level, also. I’m really honored to be included with such an elite group.”

Diggins owns the Irish record for career points (2,357), steals (381), games started (144) and double-figure scoring games (121), among others. She is the only Notre Dame player (men’s or women’s) to have 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals in a career.

In addition to leading the Irish to the Final Four the past three seasons, Diggins led the Irish to their first Big East Tournament crown last March. Her dramatic steal, drive and assist led to Natalie Achonwa’s buzzer-beater basket as the Irish stunned Connecticut on its home court. Diggins also led the Irish to a 16-0 Big East regular-season record in capturing that title.

“Skylar has left a legacy here that I think will be unmatched,” Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw said. “I think the way the community rallied around her and her team, and the fans embraced her as their daughter, I think the mutual affection that was shown between Skylar and the fans was amazing to watch. It was such a fun four years coaching her, and having her take our team to unprecedented heights. It was an amazing journey for us.”

Former All-America Skylar Diggins has been selected to join Notre Dame’s prestigious Ring of Honor.