Breaking Down Skylar Diggins' WNBA Debut

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2013

April 7, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Skylar Diggins (4) rests against the Connecticut Huskies during the second half in the semifinals during the 2013 NCAA womens Final Four at the New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

After a storied career at Notre Dame, Skylar Diggins made her highly anticipated WNBA debut with the Tulsa Shock on the road against the Atlanta Dream on Saturday night.

The Shock lost to the Dream 98-81, but as former WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw pointed out, Diggins was the main attraction for the Philips Arena crowd.

As the No. 3 pick in the 2013 WNBA draft, expectations for Diggins to step up and be a star will be sky high. If this game is any indication, she's headed in the right direction.

The 5'9" guard's stat line resembled the numbers she used to rack up in South Bend: 34 minutes, 15 points, three assists, two steals, 4-of-13 shooting, 7-of-8 free throws and five turnovers.

While her shooting percentage was less than ideal, Diggins showed a proclivity for getting to the line. She shot more free throws than anyone on either team.

Despite the loss, the Shock should feel as though they are in a better position to compete than last year, when they earned the No. 3 pick in the draft. Second-year guard Riquna Williams also stepped up in a big way, putting up 22 points on 6-of-18 shooting and chipping in four steals.

The Dream, who finished third in the Eastern Conference last season, were in top form. They were led by reserve guard Tiffany Hayes' 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 19 minutes.

Losing is something that Diggins will have to take some time to get used to. She led the Fighting Irish to a 35-2 record last season behind her 17.2 points, 6.1 assists and 3.1 steals per game.

Now she has suffered half that many losses just one game into the season.

Overall, Diggins didn't set the league on fire in her debut, but she did show that she has the potential to be a marquee player. That should lead to steady improvement for the Shock going forward.