Natalie Achonwa

Natalie Achonwa#11

OVERVIEW: Achonwa, or "Ace" to her teammates, is the first international player to suit up for Notre Dame in the program's 35-year history. Achonwa is an exceptionally-talented post player who has developed a balanced skill set that allows her to work well on the block or away from the basket. She also has a solid face-up game, including good perimeter shooting ability. Natalie takes up space at both ends of the court with her mobility and 75-inch (6-foot-3) wingspan. She runs the floor well which will make her a threat in the Irish transition game. For the past two years, Ace has been a member of the Canadian Senior National Team, competing well for Canada at the 2010 FIBA World Championships in the Czech Republic, while matching up with such global women's basketball stars as three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson (Australia) and 2010 WNBA Rookie of the Year Tina Charles (United States). In her first season playing for the Fighting Irish, Achonwa developed into a reliable threat on the blocks, earning the important "next man in" role behind forwards Becca Bruszewski and Devereaux Peters and putting her in position to compete for a place in the starting lineup in 2011-12.

FRESHMAN SEASON (2010-11): Averaged 6.9 ppg., and 5.3 rpg., with .566 field goal percentage (would have been fourth in BIG EAST, second among freshmen but needed to make five more baskets to qualify for minimum ranking of 3.0 FGM/game) ... (read more)

HIGH SCHOOL: Graduated from St. Mary's Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario, but did not play her senior season due to her previous participation with the National Elite Development Academy (NEDA); NEDA was a national training center program that brought together the top 12 female developmental athletes from across Canada to train, live and attend high school in a central location (was hosted jointly by the city of Hamilton and McMaster University, and overseen by Canada Basketball) ... (read more)

AWARDS/HONORS: Third-team all-star at 2009 FIBA U19 World Championships ... 2007 Laurentian University Invitational all-tournament team ... MVP of Canadian provincial championship tournaments in 2006 (U15) and 2008 (U17), and first-team all-star in 2007 (U17) ... (read more)

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION: Four-time Canada Basketball selection and two-time international medalist ... youngest player ever selected for Canadian Senior National Team, making her debut in September 2009 at age 16 ... suited up for Team Canada at 2010 FIBA World Championships in Czech Republic (Canada finished 12th) ... (read more)

PERSONAL DATA: Born Nov. 22, 1992, in Toronto, Ontario ... last name is pronounced uh-CHAWN-wuh ... hometown is pronounced GWELF ... daughter of Marion and Manny Achonwa ... middle of three children ... older brother, Adrian, is entering his junior season on the basketball team at the University of Guelph (Ontario) ... (read more)

 

 

 

 


 


INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION: Four-time Canada Basketball selection and two-time international medalist ... youngest player ever selected for Canadian Senior National Team, making her debut in September 2009 at age 16 ... suited up for Team Canada at 2010 FIBA World Championships in Czech Republic (Canada finished 12th); averaged 4.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in eight games at the tournament, including a near double-double (12p, 8r) in the second round against defending European champion France ... in July 2010, competed for Canada in four-game exhibition series against Chile and Sweden in British Columbia; averaged 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, with a .538 field goal percentage (14-of-26) and a .769 free throw percentage (10-of-13) in that four-game series which was part of Canada training camp before World Championship ... made Canadian Senior National Team debut at the FIBA Americas Championship in Cuiaba, Brazil, helping country to bronze medal (third-place finish) and berth in 2010 FIBA World Championships ... played in all five games for Canada in tournament, averaging 6.6 ppg. and 4.2 rpg., while finishing second on team in steals (1.2 spg.) and blocks (0.6 bpg.) ... earlier in the summer of 2009, suited up for Canadian Junior Women's National Team at FIBA U19 World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, sparking team to its best-ever placement (fourth) – reached semifinals before losing to USA squad co-captained by her future Notre Dame teammate, Skylar Diggins, and piloted by her current position coach at Notre Dame, associate coach Carol Owens ... started all nine games in tournament, averaging 10.3 ppg. (second on team) and 6.1 rpg. (third on team), along with a team-high 1.4 spg. ... made international debut at age 15 (youngest player selected) for Canada's junior team at 2008 FIBA U18 Americas Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, pacing her nation to the silver medal (4-1 record); averaged 7.2 ppg., 5.8 rpg. and 1.0 spg. in the tournament.

AWARDS/HONORS: Third-team all-star at 2009 FIBA U19 World Championships ... 2007 Laurentian University Invitational all-tournament team ... MVP of Canadian provincial championship tournaments in 2006 (U15) and 2008 (U17), and first-team all-star in 2007 (U17) ... two-time tournament MVP (2006, 2007) for Ontario Basketball Association Division I provincial championships ... NEDA team captain as junior (2008-09) ... CCVI Female Athlete of the Year in 2006-07 ... as freshman at CCVI, earned city MVP honors in both basketball and soccer, as well as regional MVP laurels in basketball ... lettered and was team all-star in three sports at CCVI (basketball, soccer and volleyball) ... ranked 23rd by Dan Olson's Collegiate Girls Basketball Report (fifth-highest small forward), 80th by All-Star Girls Report (18th among wing forwards) and 85th by Blue Star Basketball ... not rated by ESPN Hoopgurlz, which does not evaluate Canadian players (but was considered equivalent to top-25 signee by that media outlet).

FRESHMAN SEASON (2010-11): Averaged 6.9 ppg., and 5.3 rpg., with .566 field goal percentage (would have been fourth in BIG EAST, second among freshmen but needed to make five more baskets to qualify for minimum ranking of 3.0 FGM/game) … nearly chalked up a "5-5-5" game (at least "5" in three major statistical categories) in her college debut against New Hampshire, finishing with seven points, four rebounds and career-high five assists in 16 minutes … one of four Fighting Irish players in double figures against Morehead State with 10 points (5-8 FG) … grabbed career-high 13 boards – including eight on the offensive end – and scored four points at #9/10 Kentucky … dropped in 11 points during win over Wake Forest in WBCA Classic … posted 12 points during a home win over Purdue while snatching seven caroms with four assists and two steals in 24 minutes … made quick work of Providence with a team-high 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in only nine minutes (weakened by flu) … averaged 13.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, scoring better than a point per minute (27 points in 26 minutes), and registered an astronomical .857 field goal percentage (12-of-14) during a two-game stretch (Dec. 8-11) to earn BIG EAST Freshman of the Week honors … tallied a career-high 14 points (on 7-of-8 shooting) and added five rebounds during home victory over Creighton … one of three Fighting Irish players to score in double figures (12 points) against Valparaiso while successfully draining her first career three-point attempt … good for eight points, seven boards, two assists, two blocks and two steals in a home rout of Southeast Missouri State … registered 12 points, four rebounds and two steals at Marquette … notched nine points and eight boards vs. #2 Connecticut … grabbed game-high nine boards during the matchup with Louisville … dropped in six points, while also snatching seven boards against #16/17 Georgetown … put down four points and managed four boards and a steal to limit #RV/23 St. John's … posted four points, three rebounds and an assist in the victory over Villanova … racked up 13 points (6-9 FG, including second 3FG of season) vs. #RV/25 Syracuse … matched career high with 14 points (4-6 FG, career-high 6-10 FT) at South Florida; also grabbed eight boards during the win … added 12 points and game-high six rebounds in win over Seton Hall … grabbed six rebounds in victory over Cincinnati … added seven rebounds at #12/11 DePaul … notched eight points (4-5 FG) and five rebounds in BIG EAST semifinal win over #9/13 DePaul … posted first career double-double with 12 points (6-11 FG) and game-high 10 rebounds in BIG EAST title game against #1 Connecticut … grabbed four rebounds at Utah in NCAA tournament debut … had near double-double in NCAA second-round win over Temple with 10 points (5-7 FG; made first five shots) and eight rebounds off the bench … logged strong effort in Sweet 16 win over #21/20 Oklahoma with 10 points and eight rebounds … helped Fighting Irish topple #4 Tennessee in NCAA Dayton Regional final with six rebounds and two steals.

HIGH SCHOOL: Graduated from St. Mary's Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario, but did not play her senior season due to her previous participation with the National Elite Development Academy (NEDA); NEDA was a national training center program that brought together the top 12 female developmental athletes from across Canada to train, live and attend high school in a central location (was hosted jointly by the city of Hamilton and McMaster University, and overseen by Canada Basketball) ... selected to join NEDA for her sophomore and junior years of high school before Academy closed in 2009 due to lack of funding; was youngest player selected for NEDA in 2007-08 (age 14) ... played for NEDA team (coached by Mark Walton) that competed against variety of opponents, including Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) teams, American junior college programs (NJCAA), American prep schools, and other international competition ... highlights of her NEDA career included: game-high 25 points in 2009 game vs. the Toronto Stealth of the semi-pro Women's Blue Chip Basketball League (WBCBL); 18 points in 2009 exhibition vs. Genesee Community College (N.Y.); 19 points in 2009 game vs. Oak Hill Academy (Va.); 19 points and 11 rebounds in 2008 exhibition vs. Monroe Community College (N.Y.); game-high 30 points in 2008 exhibition vs. Laurentian University (Sudbury, Ontario); averaged 16.3 points and 11.7 rebounds with three double-doubles in three-game 2008 exhibition series vs. Argentina U18 National Team; averaged 14.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game at 2007 Laurentian University Invitational Tournament ... spent her freshman year at Centennial Collegiate & Vocational Institute (CCVI) in Guelph, Ontario.

PERSONAL DATA: Born Nov. 22, 1992, in Toronto, Ontario ... last name is pronounced uh-CHAWN-wuh ... hometown is pronounced GWELF ... daughter of Marion and Manny Achonwa ... middle of three children ... older brother, Adrian, is entering his junior season on the basketball team at the University of Guelph (Ontario) ... consistently named to academic honor roll throughout her high school career ... in 2009, was selected as one of Guelph's "top 40 influential people under 40" by the Guelph Mercury ... one of two Fighting Irish sophomores (along with Ariel Braker) who have played multiple sports in high school – three other returning Fighting Irish players also were two-sport prep standouts (Skylar Diggins, Brittany Mallory, Fraderica Miller) ... has expressed an interest in studying business at Notre Dame ... recently completed Notre Dame's unique First Year of Studies program ... some other Fighting Irish players who have worn No. 11 include program pioneer Dr. Carol Lally (Shields), a world-renowned eye surgeon and 2011 inductee into the Academic All-America Hall of Fame, as well as standout point guards Sara Liebscher and Jeannine Augustin.