Diggins leads Notre Dame women over Marquette
(AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
MILWAUKEE (AP) When Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw was recruiting Skylar Diggins, she told the recruit that she could someday become the leading scoring in Irish history.
Four years later, Diggins is closing in on making McGraw's statement come true. Diggins scored 23 points and Natalie Achonwa added 17 points and 10 rebounds as No. 2 Notre Dame rolled to its 19th consecutive victory with an 87-49 rout of Marquette on Sunday.
Diggins passed Katryna Gaither on the school's all-time scoring list. She now has 2,131 points, trailing only current Irish assistant coach Beth (Morgan) Cunningham, who scored 2,322 points during her career.
"You say that when you are recruiting someone hoping that it comes true," McGraw said. "But with Skylar, she has been incredible right from the beginning. There was no learning curve. I'm not sure what I'm going to do without her next year."
Diggins' defensive rebound with 13 minutes remaining in the first half also allowed her to become the first women's basketball player in Notre Dame history with 2,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in her career.
"I didn't even know about it until they told me," Diggins said. ""It is something I that is pretty cool. I can think about when I'm old and gray,"
Diggins said she is excited to try and pass her assistant coach and said both records will mean more after she leaves Notre Dame.
"All that matters is that we are winning," she said.
And winning the Irish (24-1, 12-0) are. The victory against Marquette was a school record 20 consecutive regular-season road win, including 16 straight in the conference. Notre Dame's lone loss of the season was to No. 1 Baylor 71-63 on Dec. 5.
McGraw said she is very pleased with the way her team is playing as the Irish head down the stretch of the season. The Irish were again without senior guard and co-captain Kaila Turner, who did not play for the third consecutive game due to a left elbow injury.
"We are playing very well right now and are giving some of our younger players some experience," she said. "We have some tough games left (against Syracuse and Connecticut) and we have to finish the season off strong."
The Irish led by 19 at halftime and put the game away early in the second half as Notre Dame scored the first 12 points of the half to grab a 46-15 lead when Diggins scored on a layup. Diggins was the key to the spurt as she scored six points, including a steal and breakway layup.
In all, Notre Dame scored 21 unanswered points as the Irish scored the last nine points of the first half.
Marquette could get no closer than 24 points the rest of the way as the Golden Eagles hit just 17 of 51 shots in the game and had 20 turnovers.
Sarina Simmons scored 12 points and Arlesia Morse added 11 for Marquette (12-13, 4-8).
Marquette coach Terri Mitchell said she knew her team had to be perfect to have a chance against powerful Notre Dame.
"Obviously we didn't do that," she said. "We had a lot of great shots in the first half and we missed. Opportunities were there and we didn't finish it."
Mitchell said she continues to be impressed with Diggins play.
"All those awards she has, there's a reason for that," she said. "She had a very good game."
Updated February 17, 2013