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Irish Insights

Associated Press
Notre Dame senior forward Natalie Achonwa will miss the rest of the NCAA women's tournament after tearing he anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, the university announced Tuesday.

Notre Dame women lose Achonwa

Notre Dame will be without one of its top players as the women's basketball team makes its fourth straight trip to the Final Four.

Senior forward Natalie Achonwa tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in Monday's 88-69 win over Baylor and will miss the rest of the NCAA tournament, the university announced Tuesday.

"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 coach Muffet McGraw said in a statement. "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."

Notre Dame said Achonwa will undergo surgery at a later date and there is no timetable established for her recovery.

Achonwa was averaging career highs in scoring (14.9 points per game), field goal percentage (.611), assists (2.8 per game) and blocks (1.2). She also led the team in rebounding (7.7 per game) and had eight double-doubles in 33 games.

Achonwa, who named a third-team All-America selection by the Associated Press, missed the first three games this season after having surgery for a small meniscus tear in her right knee on Oct. 30.

Achonwa finishes her Notre Dame career ranked 12th in school history with 1,546 points, as well as top-10 rankings on the Irish all-time lists for rebounds (fourth, 970), double-doubles (tied for fifth, 28), field goal percentage (sixth, .562) and games played (third, 145).

Notre Dame (36-0) will play the winner of tonight's game between Louisville and Maryland in the national semifinals Sunday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

Notre Dame had two other players named to AP All-American teams on Tuesday with Kayla McBride earning a spot on the first team and Jewell Loyd getting second-team honors.

McBride averages 17.2 points, 3.9 assists and 5.2 rebounds. Loyd averages 18.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals.