Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s basketball team lost a key player in their quest to reach the NCAA women’ s basketball national championship game for the third time in the last four years. Notre Dame announced , on April 1, that senior forward Natalie Achonwa tore the ACL in her left knee during the Fighting Irish’s 88-69 victory over Baylor on Sunday night.
Achonwa injured her knee with just under five minutes left in the game. She will undergo surgery to repair the knee at a later date.
Achonwa caught a pass in the paint from Kayla McBride wand was bumped from behind by Baylor’s Chardonae Fuqua at the 4:51 mark. She yelled as she fell to the ground and grabbed her left knee.
Achonwa was third on the team in scoring and the Irish’s top rebounder (7.7) this season. She set career-highs in scoring (14.9), field goal percentage (61.1), assists (2.8) and blocked shots (1.2).
For her career, Achonwa ranks 12th in school history with 1,546 points, as well as top-10 rankings on the Fighting Irish all-time lists for rebounds (4th - 970), double-doubles (tied-5th - 28), field goal percentage (6th - .562) and games played (3rd - 145).
Freshman Taya Reimer will likely start in place of Achonwa while Notre Dame will likely use a four-guard lineup a considerable amount of time. This would mean Michaela Mabrey and Madison Cable would see more playing time.
Notre Dame (35-0) has made their fourth consecutive Final Four and sixth in program history. The Fighting Irish will take Maryland on April 6, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The Terrapins (28-6) defeated Louisville 76-73 in Louisville, on April 1, to reach the Final Four for the first time since 2006.
Notre Dame blew a 22-point lead to hold off Maryland 87-83 in the teams only meeting this year. Jewell Loyd led the Irish with a season-high 31 points and Kayla McBride chipped in with 20 points.