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McGraw named coach of the year

NEW ORLEANS – Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw was named the Associated Press women’s college basketball coach of the year.

McGraw guided her team to 30 straight victories and has the Irish back in the Final Four for a third straight season.

She was presented the award Saturday after receiving 24 votes from the 40-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. The voting was done before the NCAA tournament.

McGraw also won the award in 2001, becoming only the second coach to win it multiple times. Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma is a seven-time winner.

Last year’s winner, Baylor’s Kim Mulkey, was second with seven votes. California’s coach Lindsay Gottlieb was third after guiding the Golden Bears to their first Final Four appearance this season.

McGraw wasn’t alone in collecting awards.

Guard Skylar Diggins was named the winner of the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is presented to the nation’s top point guard, for a second year in a row, and she was named to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American team.

Diggins was joined on the WBCA’s All-American team by fellow guard Kayla McBride.

Diggins averages team highs in points (17.3), assists (6) and steals (3.1). McBride is second on the team in points (15.9 per game), assists (2.4) and steals (1.6)

Notre Dame (35-1) faces Connecticut (33-4) in the Final Four on Sunday night.