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Irish lead All-Big East women's team

The Notre Dame women's basketball team landed a conference-high three players on the All-Big East first team, which the league announced Thursday.

Skylar Diggins, Natalie Achonwa and Kayla McBride each earned first-team honors, and the Irish's Jewell Loyd was named to the All-freshman team and was an All-Big East honorable mention.

Diggins, who received Big East honors in all four of her seasons, was a unanimous selection first-team selection. She has been named to the first team in each of the last three seasons.

The 5-foot-9 senior guard averaged team highs in points (17.3 per game), assists (5.9) and steals (3) for the Irish, who won the Big East regular-season title outright.

Achonwa, a 6-3 junior forward, lead the team in rebounding, averaging 9.2, and was the Irish's third-leading scorer, averaging 13.9 points.

McBride, a 5-11 junior guard, was Notre Dame's second-leading scorer, averaging 15.3 points. She also averaged 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

Loyd, a 5-10 guard, was a unanimous selection to the All-freshman team, and her 30.5 minutes per game average was only behind Diggins' 31.4 minutes per game this season. She averaged 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

The conference's player, freshman, scholar-athlete and coach of the year will be announced Friday when the Big East tournament begins at the XL Center.

Big East awards

Defensive Player of the Year

Kelly Faris, Connecticut, Sr., G

Sixth Man Award

Carmen Tyson-Thomas, Syracuse, Sr., G

Most Improved Player

Kelly Faris, Connecticut, Sr., G

Brittany Hrynko, DePaul, So., G

Sportsmanship Award

Anna Martin, DePaul, Sr., G

First Team

Stefanie Dolson, Connecticut, Jr., C

*Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Connecticut, So., F

Brittany Hrynko, DePaul, So., G

Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown, Sr., G

Shoni Schimmel, Louisville, Jr., G

Natalie Achonwa, Notre Dame, Jr., F

*Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame, Sr., G

Kayla McBride, Notre Dame, Jr., G

Nadirah McKenith, St. John's, Sr., G

Shenneika Smith, St. John's, Sr., G

*Andrea Smith, USF, Sr., G

Kayla Alexander, Syracuse, Sr., C

Second Team

Dayeesha Hollins, Cincinnati, R-Jr., G

Kelly Faris, Connecticut, Sr., G

Katherine Harry, DePaul, Sr., F

Anna Martin, DePaul, Sr. G

Antonita Slaughter, Louisville, Jr., G

Katherine Plouffe, Marquette, Jr., F

Symone Roberts, Providence, Sr., G

Brittany Morris, Seton Hall, Sr., G

Andrell Smith, USF, Sr., G

Laura Sweeney, Villanova, Sr., F

Honorable Mention

Bria Hartley, Connecticut, Jr., G

Breanna Stewart, Connecticut, Fr., F

Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame, Fr., G

Brianna Kiesel, Pittsburgh, So., G

Erica Wheeler, Rutgers, Sr., G

All-Freshman Team

Moriah Jefferson, Connecticut, Fr., G

*Breanna Stewart, Connecticut, Fr., F

Chanise Jenkins, DePaul, R-Fr., G

Brooklyn Pumroy, Marquette, Fr., G

*Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame, Fr., G

*Aliyyah Handford, St. John's, Fr., G

Kahleah Copper, Rutgers, Fr., G

Brianna Butler, Syracuse, Fr., G

*Brittney Sykes, Syracuse, Fr., G

Alisia Jenkins, USF, Fr., F

*Unanimous selection

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.