More honors for Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd, Brianna Turner
Following up last week's Atlantic Coast Conference media awards, Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd and Brianna Turner commanded a couple major women's basketball honors Tuesday when Loyd was named the ACC Player of the Year and Turner the Freshman of the Year, according to a vote of the league’s 15 head coaches.
“I am truly blessed and grateful to receive this award,” Loyd said in a statement. “To be chosen by the other coaches in the ACC, those we face every day of the conference season, it’s humbling and I can’t thank the coaches enough. I share every bit of this award with my family, my teammates, my coaches and our fans — you all help make this possible and push me to be better every single day, both on and off the court.”
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to play in the ACC this year and to be picked for this award, which has been earned before by so many great players, it’s hard to really put it into words,” Turner said in a statement. “I’m thankful to the ACC coaches who selected me. The credit for this really goes to my parents, coaches, teammates and the fans, who support our team every day and continue to show why Notre Dame and the ACC are so special.”
Previously, Turner and Loyd received first-team All-ACC recognition. Turner also was named to the five-player All-ACC Defensive Team and All-ACC Freshman Team. Loyd also was chosen All-ACC Defensive Team.
“I can’t think of two more deserving people to receive these awards than Jewell and Brianna,” said Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw. “From opening night all the way through the ACC tournament, they have shown consistency and dedication in every game and in every practice. Both of them are focused on doing everything possible to ensure our team’s success, while representing Notre Dame and the ACC in a first-class manner. We are so proud of their accomplishments and are excited to look ahead all of the great things that lie ahead for Jewell and Brianna in the future.”
The complete rundown of conference award recipients can be found on the ACC’s official web site, theacc.com.
Loyd has started all 33 games this season, averaging career highs of 20.5 points and 3.1 assists per game, plus 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals with two double-doubles. She also leads the ACC with 18 20-point games this season (tied for second-most in school history), while her school-record four 30-point games also set the ACC standard.
Loyd, who ranks fourth on Notre Dame’s single-season scoring list with 676 points and has scored in double figures in 75 of her last 76 games (32 of 33 this season), has been at her best when the stakes have been highest, averaging 24.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 11 games against Top 25 teams this season.
Turner has started 29 of the 30 games she has played this season, missing three games in mid-December with a separated shoulder and coming off the bench for a Feb. 26 Senior Night win over Pittsburgh at Purcell Pavilion. She is averaging 13.8 points and leads the team with 7.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, plus a .667 field-goal percentage. She also has seven double-doubles (fifth all-time among Notre Dame freshmen) and six 20-point games.
Turner ranks in the top 20 in the ACC in four categories — field-goal percentage (1st), blocks (4th), rebounding (10th) and scoring (16th).
By winning the ACC Championship, Notre Dame (31-2, 15-1 ACC) has earned the conference’s automatic berth into the 2015 NCAA Tournament. The Irish will learn their first-round opponent at 7 p.m. Monday, live on ESPN.