Natalie Achonwa

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Natalie Achonwa
Natalie Achonwa 2019.jpg
Achonwa in 2019
No. 11 – Indiana Fever
PositionPower forward / Center
Personal information
Born (1992-11-22) November 22, 1992 (age 26)
Toronto, Ontario
Listed height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight183 lb (83 kg)
Career information
High schoolSt. Mary's Catholic
(Hamilton, Ontario)
CollegeNotre Dame (2010–2014)
WNBA draft2014 / Round: 1 / Pick: 9th overall
Selected by the Indiana Fever
Playing career2015–present
Career history
2015–presentIndiana Fever
2015–2016Dike Napoli
2016–2017Bucheon KEB Hana Bank
2017–2018Asan Woori Bank Wibee
2018–presentJiangsu Phoenix
Career highlights and awards
Stats at
Stats at

Natalie Achonwa (born November 22, 1992) is a Canadian professional basketball player for the Indiana Fever of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). She played on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish women's basketball team.[1] Achonwa was born in Toronto, Ontario,[2] started playing basketball in Guelph, Ontario, and is 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm) tall.[3]

High school[edit]

Achonwa attended Centennial Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Guelph, Ontario for grade 9 before moving to Hamilton, Ontario to play with Canada Basketball's NEDA program at St. Mary's Catholic Secondary School.[2]

College career[edit]

Achonwa was recruited as the first ever international player on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish women's basketball team.[1] In 2011, Achonwa was named to the Big East All-Freshman Team along with being selected Big East Freshman of the Week in her freshman season.[2] In 2012, she was named to the NCAA Raleigh Regional All-Tournament Team.[2] In her junior season, she was named as an Honorable Mention for the Associated Press All-America Team. Since her freshman season, she and her team have had four Final Four appearances and three National Championship appearances.[2]

In what ended up being her final home game, the six-foot-three forward suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament with about five minutes left in Notre Dame's 19-point victory over Baylor on March 31, 2014. This win helped push the Irish into the NCAA Final Four.

In 2015, Achonwa was selected as the Notre Dame Representative in the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Legends Class.

College statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
2010–11 Notre Dame  39 0 18.3 0.566 0.500 0.571 5.3 1.1 0.8 0.4 6.9
2011–12 Notre Dame  36 1 17.2 0.520 0.300 0.720 4.4 1.4 0.7 0.8 7.6
2012–13 Notre Dame  37 37 27.1 0.520 0.000 0.800 9.5 2.3 1.1 0.9 13.8
2013–14 Notre Dame  33 33 25.4 0.611 0.000 0.709 7.7 2.8 1.0 1.2 14.9
Total Notre Dame  145 71 21.9 0.562 0.357 0.723 6.7 1.9 0.9 0.8 10.7

International career[edit]

At age 16, Achonwa became the youngest player to ever play on the Canadian national team in 2009. She competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics as well as the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women.

Achonwa was invited to join the national team, to play in the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship for Women, held in Xalapa, Mexico from September 21–28, 2013. She averaged 7.5 points per game, and helped the Canadian National team to a second place, silver medal finish. Canada faced Cuba in a preliminary round and won 53–40, but in the championship game, Cuba prevailed 79–71.[5][6]

She missed the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women due to injury.

Achonwa was invited to play for Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics, making it her second Olympic appearance.[7]

She played for Canada at the 2018 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup.

Pan Am games 2015[edit]

Achonwa was a member of the Canada women's national basketball team which participated in basketball at the 2015 Pan American Games held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 10 to 26, 2015. Canada opened the preliminary rounds with an easy 101–38 win over Venezuela. The following day they beat Argentina 73–58. The final preliminary game was against Cuba; both teams were 2–0, so the winner would win the group. The game went down to the wire with Canada eking out a 71–68 win.[8] Canada would face Brazil in the semifinal.

Canada opened the game with an 11–2 run on seven consecutive points by Miranda Ayim. Miah-Marie Langlois contributed five assists. In the third quarter Canada strongly out rebounded Brazil and hit 69% of their field goals to score 33 points in the quarter. Lizanne Murphy and Nirra Fields hit three-pointers to help extend the lead to 68–39 at the end of three quarters. Canada continued to dominate in the fourth quarter with three-pointers by Kia Nurse and Kim Gaucher. Canada went on to win the game 91–63 to earn a spot in the gold-medal game against the USA.[9]

The gold-medal game matched up the host team Canada against USA, in a sold out arena dominated by fans in red and white and waving the Canadian flag. The Canadian team, arm in arm, sang "Oh Canada" as the respective national anthems were played.

After trading baskets early the US edged out to a double-digit lead in the second quarter. However, the Canadians, spurred on by the home crowd cheering, fought back and tied up the game at halftime. In the third quarter, it was Canada's time to shine as they outscore the US 26–15. The lead would reach as high as 18 points. The USA fought back, but not all the way, and Canada won the game and the gold medal 81–73. It was Canada's first gold-medal in basketball in the Pan Am games. Nurse was the star for Canada with 33 points, hitting 11 of her 12 free-throw attempts in 10 of her 17 field-goal attempts including two of three three-pointers. Achonwa contributed two rebounds and 13 points.[10][11][12][13]

Professional career[edit]


Achonwa was drafted ninth overall by the Indiana Fever in the 2014 WNBA draft. She sat out the entire 2014 WNBA season, due to a left knee injury she suffered during her senior year at Notre Dame in the NCAA playoffs.[14] In the fall of 2014, while continuing her rehab, Achonwa took a job as the interim Director of Operations for the Notre Dame women's basketball program.[15] She was filling in for the incumbent Katie Schwab, who was hospitalized with a life-threatening illness.

Achonwa did not sign her rookie contract with the Fever until February 2015 once she recovered from her injury.[16] She returned to the court in time for the 2015 WNBA season. In her rookie season, she was a back-up center on the Fever roster, averaging 8 ppg and 3.5 rpg in 28 games with 17 starts. The Fever finished third place in the East with a 20–14 record. By the end of the season, Achonwa was named to the WNBA All-Rookie Team. Lead by their two all-stars Tamika Catchings and Marissa Coleman, the Fever advanced all the way to the Finals facing off against the Minnesota Lynx but lost the series 3–2.

In the 2016 WNBA season, Achonwa had a reduced role on the Fever's roster playing 24 games while coming off the bench with limited minutes. The Fever made it to the playoffs once again but were eliminated in the first round elimination game by the Phoenix Mercury.

During the 2017 season, Achonwa played a full 34 games for the first time in her career while starting in 17 of those games, averaging 7.1 ppg and 3.7 rpg. However, the Fever finished as the second worst team in the league with a 9–25 record.


In the 2015–16 off-season, Achonwa played in Italy for Dike Napoli.[17] As of November 2016, Achonwa signed with Bucheon KEB Hana Bank, a South Korean club for the 2016–17 off-season.[18] In 2017, Achonwa signed with Asan Woori Bank Wibee of the South Korean league for the 2017–18 WNBA off-season.

WNBA career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career high League leader

Regular season[edit]

2015 Indiana 28 17 17.3 .550 .000 .746 3.5 0.6 0.5 0.5 1.3 8.0
2016 Indiana 24 0 8.1 .545 .000 .700 2.0 0.3 0.4 0.0 0.5 3.6
2017 Indiana 34 17 18.3 .557 .000 .763 3.7 0.7 0.4 0.5 0.9 7.1
2018 Indiana 34 34 26.0 .527 .000 .800 6.9 1.4 0.8 0.6 1.1 10.3
Career 4 years, 1 team 120 68 18.2 .542 .000 .768 4.2 0.8 0.6 0.4 1.0 7.5


2015 Indiana 6 1 7.0 .267 .000 .500 1.5 0.3 0.0 0.1 1.1 1.8
2016 Indiana 1 0 8.7 .667 .000 .000 4.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.0
Career 2 years, 1 team 7 1 7.2 .333 .000 .500 1.9 0.4 0.0 0.1 1.0 2.1

Personal life[edit]

Achonwa's father immigrated from Nigeria to Canada when he was twelve.[19]


  1. ^ a b Brady, Rachel. "Canadian Natalie Achonwa making basketball history at Notre Dame". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Natalie Achonwa". Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  3. ^ "Natalie Achonwa". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  4. ^ "Natalie Achona bio" (PDF). Canada Basketball. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  5. ^ "11 – Natalie Achonwa". FIBA. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  6. ^ "Full Schedule". FIBA. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  7. ^ "Natalie Achonwa Proud To Represent Canada During The Olympics – – Official Site of the WNBA". – Official Site of the WNBA. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  8. ^ "2015 Women's Pan American Games Schedule". USA Basketball. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. Women Collect Silver At Pan American Games After Falling To Host Canada 81–73". USA Basketball. July 20, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  11. ^ "U.S. Women Collect Silver At Pan American Games After Falling To Host Canada 81–73". USA Basketball. July 20, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  12. ^ Caple, Jim. "Battle of UConn Hoops Stars Goes To Canada in Pan Am Final". ESPN. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  13. ^ Smith, Doug (July 20, 2015). "Canada wins historic Pan Am women's basketball gold". Toronto Star. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  14. ^ "Natalie Achonwa Sidelined With Knee Injury". Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Report, Tribune Staff. "Achonwa, Fever agree to contract". Notre Dame Insider. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Rallo, Curt (December 2, 2011). "Notre Dame women's basketball: Achonwa finds her strength". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved March 13, 2016.

External links[edit]