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Thursday, March 5, 2009
Diggins grabs awards as she prepares for title showdown

On the eve of probably the biggest girls basketball game in Indiana history, Skylar Diggins from Washington High (South Bend) has been chosen as this week's ESPN RISE National Girls Basketball Player of the Week.

Skylar Diggins
Skylar Diggins is a star for Washington (South Bend, Ind.)

The 2008 EA SPORTS National Junior Player of the Year and Notre Dame recruit scored a game-high 38 points, including 15 in a come-from-behind second quarter, as the Panthers defeated Pendleton Heights, 77-45, in a Class 4A state semifinal victory. She converted 17 of 22 goals and was charted with six rebounds and five steals.

Diggins leads unbeaten and ESPN RISE FAB 50 No. 1 Washington into this Saturday's state championship against unbeaten and FAB 50 No. 2 Ben Davis (Indianapolis). This is the fourth straight year in which Diggins has led the Panthers into the state final.

Here are the rest of this week's ESPN RISE regional girls' basketball players of the week:

East Region Region Girls' Basketball Player of the Week

Ka-Diedre Simmons (Shabazz, Newark, N.J.)
The standout point guard had an outstanding all-around game as Shabazz avenged a loss to University (Newark, N.J.) in last year's Essex County tourney title game with a 61-56 win last weekend. Simmons had 20 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Shabazz won its seventh county title in eight years. The matchup was between the No. 2 (University) and No. 4 (Shabazz) teams in the Newark Star-Ledger's state rankings.

Southeast Region Girls' Basketball Player of the Week

Katie Paschal (Williamston, N.C.)
The leading scorer in North Carolina ended her season in the Class 2A state playoffs with 46 points in a 77-41 win over Northampton East and then 45 in a 62-50 loss to Manteo. Paschal is a 5-foot-7 junior guard who already has verbally committed to East Carolina. She averaged 32.7 points per game.

Midwest Region Girls' Basketball Player of the Week

Skylar Diggins (Washington, South Bend, Ind.)
Also named ESPN RISE National Player of the Week.

Southwest Region Girls' Basketball Player of the Week

Alexa Hardick (Bishop Lynch, Dallas)
A 5-foot-8 junior guard, Hardick pumped in 33 points in the semifinals and had 19 in the finals as Bishop Lynch won its eighth straight TAPPS Class 5A state championship. Hardick averaged 16 points per game for the season and plays alongside highly-regarded Peyton Adamson (Rockwall, Texas) in the summer for one of the state's top club programs.

West Region Girls' Basketball Player of the Week

Shayla Ball (Hillsboro, Ore.)
The senior guard who averages 17 points per game had a breakout performance with 31 points, 22 rebounds and five assists as Oregon's No. 3-ranked team advanced in the state playoffs with a 72-59 triumph over Crook County of Prineville. According to, Ball connected on 13 of 16 free throws in the second half and grabbed 16 rebounds.