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Notre Dame’s Natalie Achonwa tears ACL, out for women’s Final Four

Apr 1, 2014, 6:32 PM EDT

Natalie Achonwa AP

Undefeated Notre Dame qualified for its fourth straight Final Four on Monday night following an 88-69 win over the No. 2 seed Baylor in the Elite 8.

The Fighting Irish enter the Final Four in Nashville without senior forward Natalie Achonwa, who left the game with less than five minutes remaining with a knee injury. Her college career will end where it began, the Edmund P. Joyce Center in South Bend, as it was announced on Tuesday that she had torn her left ACL and is out for the remainder of the tournament.

Anchonwa was third on the team in scoring and the Irish’s top rebounder at 14.9 points, 7.7 boards, 2.8 assists, 1.2 block and 1.1 steals per game.

“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 head 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 is one of two unbeaten teams in the Final Four along with former conference rival UConn.

The Fighting Irish begin the Final Four on Apr. 6, facing the winner of Maryland-Louisville.

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