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Meet Skylar Diggins and the women’s basketball team

Editorial Board | Friday, February 12, 2010

You’ve probably never seen Skylar Diggins play.
It’s a shame, really. She’s quite a spectacle to see. But she also plays for the No. 4 team in the nation, which happens to play in a competitive conference right here on campus and it’s free for you to see.
But you don’t.
You all go to the football games. That team hasn’t posted a winning season since the majority of you have been here, yet there you were, clad in yellow, screaming away, counting down until the 1812 Overture so you could boo.
But the women’s basketball team mows down opponent after opponent, goes 22-1, 9-1 in the Big East, and you don’t go.
It’s no fluke. The Big East is a tough conference. And Irish coach Muffet McGraw has shown she can win a championship: She did it in 2001. The team has a talented group of seniors in Lindsay Schrader, Ashley Barlow and Melissa Lechlitner. Add Skylar and that lineup can deal with anyone in the country.
The impact Diggins has had on this team is incredible. You really should see for yourself — but even money says you haven’t, so here’s a taste. She was named the 2009 Gatorade National High School Female Athlete of the Year. That’s the whole nation, every sport. That puts her in the company of LeBron James and Candace Parker. She’s currently 12th in the Big East in scoring and averages 15 points per game in conference play. She was the Most Valuable Player of the Paradise Jam tournament (which the Irish won) and recently had 23 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Cincinnati.
But that won’t resonate with any of you because none of you have seen her play.
So come out. Don’t just come for Skylar, though. Come watch Schrader, the team’s leader, a passionate player who is third in the conference in field goal percentage. Come watch Barlow, a stout defender, or Lechlitner, a veteran with great court vision.
More than that, come support a good team. The Irish won’t disappoint. You supported the women’s soccer team when they were highly ranked. Show that same support for women’s basketball. It is one of Notre Dame’s top athletic programs, and with the combination of Diggins and the senior leadership, this is its year to make a push for a championship.
There’s no better time to start than Sunday, when Notre Dame takes on DePaul at 3 p.m., because the Purcell Pavilion will turn into a Pink Zone, where the team will raise money for breast cancer research. There will be a silent auction and Pink Zone merchandise sales, and the team hopes to raise $55,000.
Last year they got $48,000. Help them reach their goal.
And help them reach their goal of a championship. Come watch Skylar work her magic, come scream loud on defense, come watch great basketball.
The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are being held in the Purcell Pavilion this year as well. That’s when the Irish will really need you. If you cheer enough, maybe they’ll get much farther than that.