There will soon be a sixth name in Notre Dame's women's basketball's Ring of Honor.
The University announced just this evening that Natalie Achonwa will join fellow greats Ruth Riley-Hunter, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Niele Ivey, Beth Morgan-Cunningham and Kayla McBride in the Purcell Pavilion Ring of Honor.
This fall, Natalie Achonwa will join Irish greats Ruth Riley-Hunter, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Niele Ivey, Beth (Morgan) Cunningham and Kayla McBride, when she becomes the sixth player to join Notre Dame’s prestigious Ring of Honor. The ceremony will take place before Notre Dame’s home opener versus Loyola Maryland on November 8, inside Purcell Pavilion.
“Natalie was instrumental in taking our program from a Sweet 16 team to a perennial Final Four team. She took great pride in representing Notre Dame and continues to make us proud,” Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Muffet McGraw stated. “She was a great leader on and off the court, and one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached — just a highly intelligent player with great vision. She worked hard, was super competitive and always did the things that don’t show up on a stat sheet. We are thrilled to have Natalie as our next inductee into the Ring of Honor.”
Donning an Irish uniform from 2010-14, Achonwa led squads reached four consecutive Final Fours, including three NCAA title games. Achonwa accumulated an impressive 138-15 overall record (second most by a senior class) with a 60-4 mark in conference play, in addition to winning five combined regular season and conference tournament championships.
The Guelph, Ontario, native was a two-time All-American, three-time All-NCAA Regional nod and a two-time All-Conference selection (2013 Big East / 2014 ACC). Achonwa, who captained the Irish her senior year, now ranks 16th on the Irish all-time scoring list, amassing 1,546 points over her storied career.
“My commitment to go to Notre Dame was the best decision that I’ve made,” Achonwa stated. “When I’m looking back at my career, I hope people can say I took advantage of every opportunity given. That I wore the jersey I had on with pride. I hope people can look back and say she was a great teammate, she did what she was supposed to and she worked hard.”
Achonwa, along with Jessica Shepard, still holds the record for most double-doubles in a single season with 19 (achieved during her junior year in 2012-13). However, it was in her senior season, in which she posted career highs in both scoring (14.9 ppg), assists (2.8 apg) and field goal percentage (.611). In fact, Achonwa still ranks among the program leaders in career shooting percentage (.562), career rebounds (970), games played (145) and career double-doubles (28).
In the 2014 WNBA Draft, Achonwa was selected ninth overall by the Indiana Fever, with whom she still plays today. After missing the 2014 season with a knee injury, Achonwa returned in 2015 to help the Fever make the playoffs, along with being named to the 2015 WNBA All-Rookie Team. Since, Achonwa has averaged 7.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg and shot 52.9 percent with the Fever.
Furthermore, Achonwa has been critical to the growth of women’s basketball in her native country. In 2009, Achonwa made history as the youngest player selected to the Canadian Senior National Team when she was just 16 years old. She has since represented Canada in both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, reaching the quarterfinal round in each. In the process, she became the first Fighting Irish player ever to appear in two Olympics.