By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Charlene Diggs isn’t merely a fine athlete and student
She gives back to her community.
The Beckley native and recent Bluefield State College graduate has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and the Mercer County Reading Bee. She was also on the BSC Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
“I try to do what I can for people,” she said. “I want to help them to not give up.”
The West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, in its final sports year before disbanding, took notice.
Diggs, along with West Virginia Wesleyan’s Ashli Knotts, was nominated recently by the league’s office for the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
The award recognizes excellence in leadership, athletics, academics and service and is only open to seniors who have completed their final year of athletic eligibility.
Diggs fits the bill.
A former all-state basketball player at Woodrow Wilson High School, Diggs played four seasons at BSC and became Top 10 all-time for the Lady Blues in scoring, steals and assists.
She was team captain and averaged 11.5 points her senior season, helping BSC to a 13-13 record — its best season in 16 years.
Her 85.7 free-throw percentage was third in the WVIAC and ranked 24th in the nation in that category.
She was second on the team and 10th in the conference in 3-point goal percentage (35.7).
Diggs became the 10th Lady Blue to break the 1,000-point career mark, and one of eight to have 150 or more career steals.
College basketball was a different world for the 5-foot-6 guard than playing for a solid Woodrow team. But Diggs was undaunted.
“It was a faster pace, with bigger girls, but it was a great experience,” she said. “I played with great people. I still keep track with them.”
She kept her academics up, becoming Bluefield State’s Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year and earning the basketball team’s Academic Award.
She graduated in May with a degree in Criminal Justice and Administration.
Away from class and court, she did things like work for We Can, helping build homes for the disadvantaged.
Her accomplishments earned her a nomination in a field of 455 nominees for the Woman of the Year Award.
She is the first BSC student-athlete to be nominated, and one of only 90 in NCAA Division II.
Each conference nominates one or two for the award, and their names are sent to the Woman of the Year selection committee, which chooses the top 10 honorees in each division.
From among those 30 candidates, the selection committee determines the top three in each division, and announces the top nine finalists in September.
The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will then vote from among the finalists to determine the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The top 30 honorees will be honored, and the 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, at the annual ceremony in Indianapolis on Oct. 20.