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Star cager injured in Elite Eight tilt

Guelph’s Natalie Achonwa of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 NCAA women’s basketball season after injuring her left knee Monday night in Notre Dame’s 88-69 win over Baylor in the NCAA Notre Dame Regional final (Elite Eight).

Achonwa, a Canadian national team player and former Centennial CVI student, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee, with that diagnosis confirmed by team orthopedist Dr. Michael Yergler after. Achonwa underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam on Tuesday morning. She will undergo surgery to repair the injury at a later date, and her rehabilitation timetable has not yet been established, said a Notre Dame news release.

“Natalie has been an extremely valuable contributor to our success, not only this season but throughout her career, and that won’t change,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said, in the release. “While she may not be in uniform, her voice will be heard loud and clear in the locker room, on the bench and in the huddle. I know that our team is going to continue to feed off her energy, passion and leadership as we head into the Final Four.”

Achonwa started 33 games for Notre Dame this season, posting career-high averages in scoring (14.9 PPG), field goal percentage (.611), assists (2.8 APG) and blocked shots (1.2 BPG), along with a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game and eight double-doubles. She also ranked among the top 15 in the ACC in scoring (15th), field goal percentage (second), rebounding (11th) and blocked shots (10th).

Earlier on Tuesday, Achonwa was named a third-team All-America selection by the Associated Press, adding to her earlier honors as a second-team All-ACC and second-team All-ACC Tournament choice. She also earned a spot on the NCAA Notre Dame Regional All-Tournament Team Monday night.

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