Natalie Achonwa led the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to a victory against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls in an NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinal game on Saturday in South Bend. This 89-72 win brings the team’s record this year to 35-0.
The Fighting Irish dominated the game right from the start, scoring the first 14 points of the match and preventing the Cowgirls from getting any closer than within 10 points of their lead.
The 21-year-old Achonwa scored an impressive 23 points, along with a career-high five blocked shots, six assists, and two steals. Her efforts, along with the rest of the squad’s, has put them in the position of only three wins away from an NCAA national title, and one from a Final Four spot.
Achonwa wasn’t the only player with an outstanding performance – Jewel Lloyd had 20 points, while Kayla McBride added 18 to the score.
Watch some of Achonwa's skills, here:
The Fighting Irish team has made it to three consecutive Final Fours without a championship, which has made Achonwa and her team even more determined to win this year.
“We’ve always been the bridesmaids, but we want the big ring this year,” said Achonwa in an interview. “You have some great programs in Tennessee and UConn [Connecticut] who keep winning, but we want one now.”
— NOTRE DAME WBB (@ndwbb) March 29, 2014
I may or may not have a crush on Natalie Achonwa, but ladies who rock the ponytail are classy, her 15 leading the Lady Irish, up 49-35
— Brad James (@BroncosItaly) March 29, 2014
— Forrest Rodgers (@euphguy) March 29, 2014
— Chris Popofski (@Cpopofski) March 17, 2014
The Fighting Irish co-captain was the youngest member of the 2012 Canadian Olympic team. She is the first international player to ever play for Notre Dame. She chose the Fighting Irish over many other prestigious programs, including Louisville, Michigan State, and Kentucky.
These final games of the 2014 season will be Achonwa’s last playing for Notre Dame, as she is expected to be chosen high in April’s WNBA draft.
Achonwa plans to continue to play internationally, but is now focused on helping her team win a championship.
Image via YouTube