SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame forward Natalie Achonwa will miss the Final Four with a left knee injury, a big blow to the national championship hopes of the Fighting Irish.
Coach Muffet McGraw said Achonwa tore her anterior cruciate ligament in Notre Dame's 88-69 victory over Baylor on Monday night, calling it devastating for the senior but not for the title hopes of the Irish (36-0).
"We still believe," McGraw said. "She got us to this point, now somebody else has to finish it."
Notre Dame will face Maryland next Sunday.
Achonwa was third on the team at 14.9 points per game, but the Irish will miss her most on the boards since led the Irish in rebounding with 7.7 per game. McGraw said the 6-3 forward, named a third-team All-American earlier in the day, was playing her best basketball of the season.
Taya Reimer will most likely start in Achonwa's place, but McGraw said the Irish aren't counting on the 6-3 freshman who is averaging 6.7 points and 4.1 rebounds to replace Achonwa by herself. McGraw has repeatedly said she believes the Irish have the best bench in the country and said everyone must step up.
"Hopefully one of them will have a big game, but hopefully all of them will have a pretty good one. That's all we need," she said.
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