March 5 - 13

By: Anthony Oliva, WNBA.com

The hype surrounding the 2013 WNBA Draft class – which includes three game-changing prospects in Baylor’s Brittney Griner, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, all currently playing for their respective colleges – is at an all-time high as all three have the potential to immediately make a substantial impact on a franchise. All season long, WNBA.com will update you with what each of these players is doing for their respective schools as it's never to early for WNBA fans to start following some of the future stars of this league.

For the laundry list of accomplishments and milestones in Skylar Diggins' career at Notre Dame, you might be surprised that one accolade alluded her: Big East Tournament title.

Until this year, that is.

On Tuesday, March 12, in yet another classic battle between Notre Dame and UConn -- the rivalry that has become the new version of UConn-Tennessee -- Diggins and Notre Dame defeated UConn, 61-59, in the final. Her stat line wasn't as eye-popping as the ones that have become regular for Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne, but she made a crucial steal on UConn's last possession of the game and then pushed the ball almost the length of the floor, while absorbing contact, to eventually dish the game-winning assist in the final seconds.

WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS HERE

It was a fitting end for Diggins' last Big East game. Similarly, Griner led Baylor to a Big 12 Tournament title, while Delle Donne's quest for a tournament title has yet to begin.



ELENA DELLE DONNE
Elena Delle Donne
Courtesy of Mark Campbell
UD Athletics Media Relations Photo

Bio Information:

School: Delaware
Hometown: Wilmington, Del.
Position: Guard/Forward
Height: 6-foot-5

Team Record (AP Poll Rank):
27-3 (15)

Season Averages:
Points: 25.5, Rebounds: 8.4, Assists: 1.9, Blocks: 2.4, Shooting %: 49.5

Previous Games:
2/28 W at Hartford: 32 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks
3/3 W vs. Drexel: 28 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks
3/6 W vs. Georgia State: 24 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists

Upcoming Games:
Colonial Athletic Association Tournament begins on 3/14. Follow here. Follow Here

Analysis:
Elena Delle Donne played only one game since our last edition of Tomorrow's Stars, but that game was Delaware's Senior Night at the Bob Carpenter Center. It was an emotional night for Delle Donne, the hometown hero, who transferred to Delaware from Connecticut and subsequently took this program to heights its never seen before. It was also special because she was able to share the moment with her sister, Lizzie.

Oh, and she scored 24 points in Delaware's win, the teams 22nd straight victory, tying a school record. Watch the video from Delaware senior night.

What They're Saying:
In an ESPNW article by Graham Hays, St. Bonaventure coach Jim Crowley was quoted saying this about Delle Donne.

"For our game, she's changing it. I just think the way she can do so many things, and it appears so effortless -- obviously, she's put an incredible amount of time into her game and getting better, but she elevates over people, she moves without the ball, she does all that stuff within a 6-foot-5 really athletic skill set.

"I think that's the progression. It's not a kid doing all those things who is 5-foot-8. It's a kid doing all those things at 6-foot-5."

SKYLAR DIGGINS
Skylar Diggins
Courtesy of Matt Cashore
Notre Dame Athletics

Bio Information:

School: Notre Dame
Hometown: South Bend, Ind.
Position: Point Guard
Height: 5-foot-9

Team Record (AP Poll Rank):
31-1 (2)

Season Averages:
Points: 17.0, Rebounds: 3.6, Assists: 5.9, Steals: 3.1, Shooting %: 41.9

Previous Games:
3/10 W vs. South Florida: 15 points, 5 assists, 3 steals
3/11 W vs. Louisville: 14 points, 6 assists, 4 steals
3/12 W vs. Connecticut: 12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals

Upcoming Games:
NCAA Tournament begins March 23. Follow Here

Analysis:
Before Skylar Diggins stepped foot on campus, the Notre Dame-UConn rivalry was, for the most part, lopsided. Connecticut resided over the Big East with an iron fist and few teams could match their firepower. None consistently. Diggins, for the time being, has changed that. In fact, in the last eight meetings between these two teams, the Irish have won seven of them. And the win in the Big East Tournament Championship Game was not only Notre Dame's first-ever conference tournament title, but it ended Notre Dame's six-game drought against UConn in that same championship game.

With the sweep of the Big East regular and postseason titles, Notre Dame also single-handedly ended a run of 19 straight seasons where Connecticut had won at least one of those titles.

What They're Saying:
After the historical victory, it was time for reflection on the senior's stellar career.

In the AP recap of the game, Diggins was quoted as saying: "I've had a lot of big wins in my years here - wins against UConn to go to national championship games, it definitely is up there. It means a lot not only to me, means a lot to coach and our program."

In the postgame press conference, Notre Dame Head Coach Muffet McGraw said: "Her legacy is going to be unmatched, certainly unparalleled for decades to come."

BRITTNEY GRINER
Brittney Griner
Courtesy of Getty Images

Bio Information:

School: Baylor
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-8

Team Record (AP Poll Rank):
32-1 (1)

Season Averages:
Points: 23.6, Rebounds: 9.0, Assists: 2.4, Blocks: 4.2, Shooting %: 60.4

Previous Games:
3/9 W vs Kansas State 19 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists
3/10 vs Oklahoma State: 30 points, 10 rebounds, 7 blocks
3/11 vs. Iowa State: 31 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks

Upcoming Games:
NCAA Tournament begins March 23. Follow Here

Analysis:
If you need to see how far Brittney Griner has tipped the scales of competitive balance in women's college basketball, look no further than the Big 12 Tournament Championship Game where Griner had 23 points by halftime, which was 10 more points than the entire Iowa State team had. Keep in mind, Iowa State has won 23 games this season.

But, since the conference tournament three-peat was seemingly an inevitability, all people really want to focus on now is the all-time scoring record. Sitting with 3,203 points, Griner is only 190 points behind Jackie Stiles. If Baylor is to make it to the NCAA Tournament Championship Game, which would mean six more games for her, she would need to average 31.7 points a game to tie the record. For the season, Griner's averaging 23.6 a night.

What They're Saying:
Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM wrote this about Griner's potentially revolutionary game.

"Brittney Griner, Baylor’s 6’8 senior center, towers above her sport (literally and metaphorically) in ways even LeBron James and Kevin Durant cannot. Not only is she the tallest player in the women’s game, she’s as fast and as skilled as anyone in the country as well."

Tomorrow's Stars Archive: Dec. 14 | Dec. 21 | Dec. 28 | Jan. 4 | Jan. 22 | Feb. 7 | Feb. 20 | Feb. 28 | Mar. 4

*All stats for games played on or before March 13, 2012.

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