Apr 2, 2013, 11:52 PM EDT
Junior forward Natalie Achonwa (Ace) made her way into the starting lineup this year, and she came away with a new school record for double-doubles in a single season. With the graduation of Devereaux Peters, she had a big role to play on the court, and she made sure to approach that position with all the ferocity and determination of a great center. Achonwa doubled her scoring and rebounding averages during this past season and had tied the school record for most double-doubles in a season, most recently held by Katryna Gaither in 1996-1997, before the NCAA tournament even began.
When the Irish defeated the University of Iowa in the second round of the NCAA tournament on March 26, Achonwa tallied her 17th double-double of the season. This was enough to break the school record, but Achonwa has continued to raise the bar even higher for future players. In fact, during Notre Dame’s most recent wins over the University of Kansas and Duke University, she added an 18th and 19th double-double to her name this season. Not only did Ace break the school record, but it took Gaither 38 games to set the previous school record for double-doubles with 16, while Achonwa was able to reach 16 double-doubles during this season in only 30 games.
Not only did Ace made school history, but she also leads the BIG EAST in double-doubles this year. This lead even includes seven double-doubles against ranked teams. Before this season, she had only had two double-doubles each of her two previous seasons, and now she has 19 and counting this year.
Natalie Achonwa truly grew so much during this season, beginning with her overseas experience, representing her home country of Canada in the 2012 London Olympics. She was the second youngest basketball player to play in the Olympics last year, but she never let her young age discourage her. She helped her team through several games in the Olympics and brought that experience back with her to Notre Dame. She has started every game this year, and she averages almost a double-double, with 13.8 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game. She had 17 points and 10 rebounds in her most recent game against Duke in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.
Be sure to catch Achonwa and the rest of the Notre Dame women on Sunday as they take on Connecticut in the Final Four. I’ll be counting and watching for Ace’s next double-double!
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