Diggins personifies the phrase “student-athlete” in every sense of the term, having compiled a 3.104 grade-point average while working towards her bachelor’s degree in management-entrepreneurship from Notre Dame’s top-ranked Mendoza College of Business. She is a three-time BIG EAST All-Academic Team selection (2010-12) and a 2012 graduate from Notre Dame’s Rosenthal Leadership Academy, where she received a certificate of achievement for her exemplary contributions. During the summer of 2012, Diggins took the next step in her career outside the basketball world when she completed an internship at espnW in Bristol, Conn., learning the various facets of production (including marketing, sales, broadcasting and web development) that go into creating and fostering the rising espnW brand that is devoted to national coverage of women’s sports through the vast resources of ESPN.
A team captain for Notre Dame in 2012-13, Diggins is the consummate leader, both on and off the floor, through her competitive nature, her will to win, her work ethic and her dedication to always reaching excellence with the maximum degree of effort, never cutting corners or taking shortcuts to success. She inspires not only her teammates, but her coaches and the Notre Dame community with her drive and determination, and the results bear that out, with the Fighting Irish reaching the NCAA national championship game the past two years (2011, 2012), winning the 2012 BIG EAST Conference title, and posting a 95-18 (.841) record in her first three seasons at Notre Dame, far and away the most wins by a Fighting Irish senior class during its first three years on campus. Diggins has also proven to be an outstanding leader on the international stage as well, serving as captain on the past three USA Basketball teams she has played for (2009 U19 World Championships, 2011 World University Games, 2012 3x3 World Championships), and leading all three squads to the gold medal. In fact, during her career, Diggins has helped USA Basketball teams to a combined 28-1 record in international play and four gold medals (she also was part of the victorious USA side at the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Argentina).
Growing up just minutes from the Notre Dame campus on the west side of South Bend, Diggins has been one of the most popular and in-demand figures in South Bend sports history. She also has an in-depth knowledge of the challenges facing those in hard-hit areas of South Bend, and has always used her position as a basketball player and college student-athlete to serve as a role model for young women, both locally and nationally. Besides conducting regular basketball clinics and participating in mentoring programs at the Martin Luther King Center in South Bend, Diggins also is in the process of starting her own anti-bullying program for the 2012-13 school year, creating a video and a presentation for local schools to teach children about the importance of respect, tolerance and sportsmanship. On a national level, Diggins twice participated in the espnW Retreat (2010, 2011), serving on panels that discussed the future of women’s athletics, as well as the value of mentorship among all athletes.
In 2011-12, Diggins was a consensus first-team All-America selection (including her spot on the State Farm Coaches All-America Team, as selected by the WBCA), and she was a finalist for every major national player-of-the-year award, taking home the Nancy Lieberman Award as the nation’s top point guard. She also was chosen as the BIG EAST Player of the Year (the third Notre Dame player to be so honored and the first since 2005) and is a two-time unanimous first-team all-conference selection. A year ago, Diggins became only the fourth NCAA Division I player in the past decade (since 2001-02) to register 600 points, 200 assists and 100 steals in a single season. In fact, she set a school record with 102 steals, while her 222 assists were third-most on the Notre Dame single-season list, and her 657 points ranked fourth on the school’s single-season chart. In addition, she posted the second-best assist-turnover ratio (2.16) by a Fighting Irish player in one season, and her four double-doubles tied for fourth-most by a Notre Dame guard in a single season. In 2011-12, Diggins was the only BIG EAST player to rank among the top five in the conference in three of the five major statistical categories. She led the conference in both assists (5.7 apg. - 16th in nation) and steals (2.6 spg. - 55th in nation; school-record 102 steals overall), and she was fourth in scoring (16.8 ppg. - 70th in nation), while also posting her conference-best 2.16 assist-turnover ratio (10th in nation). What’s more, she ranked among the top 15 in the BIG EAST in free throw percentage (9th - .786) and field goal percentage (tied-10th - .500; 35th in nation). Besides her seasonal awards, Diggins was chosen as the NCAA Raleigh Regional Most Outstanding Player and was a member of the NCAA Women’s Final Four All-Tournament Team, becoming the first Notre Dame cager to be selected for either honor twice in her career (she was the 2011 NCAA Dayton Regional MOP before making the Final Four squad). Diggins enters her senior season needing 74 rebounds to become the first player in school history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in her career. She also is 274 points away from becoming the fourth 2,000-point scorer in school history, and she needs 596 points to catch current Notre Dame associate coach Beth Cunningham as the program’s all-time leading scorer. In addition, Diggins is 81 steals away from Ivey’s school record for career thefts, and Diggins even has an outside shot at the Fighting Irish all-time record for assists held by Mary Gavin, needing 258 helpers to reach the mark (Ivey is second, 207 ahead of Diggins). In addition to her success at Notre Dame, Diggins is a five-time USA Basketball gold medalist (four at the international level), and has earned gold medals during three of the past four years (2009 U19 World Championships, 2011 World University Games, 2012 3x3 World Championships).