CANADIANS ROOTING FOR ACHONWA IN NCAA WOMEN'S FINAL
(Photo: Notre Dame Athletics)
HALLE (NCAA Women’s Final) – Canadian international Tamara Tatham may be staying up late in Germany on Tuesday night as she roots for her fellow national team player Natalie Achonwa and her Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the NCAA’s women’s national championship game against Baylor.
“That is a huge accomplishment as well as a great experience,” Tatham said of Achonwa playing in the Final Four in Denver.
Achonwa has played a big role in Notre Dame reaching the championship game.
In the Fighting Irish’s five-game NCAA march thus far, the 19-year-old sophomore is averaging 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1 steal and 0.6 blocks in 19.8 minutes while shooting 63 percent from the field (19 of 30) and 100 percent from the free throw line (8-8).
Achonwa, a native of Toronto, collected 18 points and 7 rebounds in the victory over Maryland to reach the Final Four and then contributed 8 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals in Notre Dame’s semi-final win over Connecticut.
On Tuesday night, Achonwa and her team will look to bounce back from their 94-81 defeat against the Brittney Griner-led Baylor suffered last November, a game in which the Canadian forward went scoreless in 12 minutes, missing all three of her shot attempts while collecting four rebounds.
Tatham, who plays in Germany for the SV Halle Lions club, said Achonwa’s time at Notre Dame has been a great help for her.
“I think being in university as a whole will make Nat a better basketball player,” said Tatham, who herself played at a U.S. college at Massachusetts.
“She is really good at so many things, and I see her as a very versatile player.”
Tatham and Achonwa have teamed together twice for Canada, at the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship for Women and the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women.
Achonwa, who starred for her country at the 2009 U19 World Championship, did not play at last summer's FIBA Americas Championship but will most likely wear the Canada shirt this summer at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Turkey.
And Tatham believes Achonwa’s Final Four experience could help her national team this summer.
“Of course, that can be an advantage for our national team,” she said.
In the meantime, Tatham will likely be awake at 2:30am in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday to watch the Notre Dame v Baylor match-up.