Notre Dame junior women’s basketball forward Natalie Achonwa played a pivotal role in a historic win for Team Canada on Monday.
Achonwa collected four points (2-3 FG), four rebounds, three assists and a steal in 19 minutes as Canada earned its first Olympic win in 12 years with a 73-65 victory over Great Britain in a preliminary round game Monday evening at the Olympic Basketball Arena in London.
Achonwa played a critical role in the final five minutes, scoring all four of her points while grabbing a pair of offensive rebounds and dishing out an assist to help Canada end the game on a 16-4 run. It’s the first Olympic victory for Canada since Sept, 24, 2000, in Sydney, Australia, when the Maple Leafs edged Brazil, 61-60, on the final day of the preliminary round.
Canada is now 1-1 in this year’s Olympic tournament, having dropped a 58-53 decision to the world’s second-ranked team, Russia in its first contest at the London Games back on July 28. Achonwa had three points, four rebounds and three assists for Canada in the game, which saw Russia fashion an 18-3 run over the final six minutes to take the win.
Canada returns to the hardwood at 4 a.m. (ET) Thursday against France at the Olympic Basketball Arena in London. France is 2-0 in preliminary-round action following a 74-70 overtime win over reigning Olympic silver medalist Australia earlier on Monday.