McBride, Achonwa picked in first round of WNBA draft

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- In Uncasville, Connecticut, two Notre Dame players were selected in the first round of the WNBA draft Monday night.

Senior guard/tri-captain Kayla McBride was selected third overall by the San Antonio Stars.

Senior forward/tri-captain Natalie Achonwa was chosen ninth overall by the Indiana Fever.

Notre Dame released the following stats about their star players:


The quintet of McBride, Achonwa, Diggins, Peters and Novosel joins 2001 consensus National Player of the Year and three-time All-America center Ruth Riley (’01) as Fighting Irish players who were later selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft (Riley was chosen with the No. 5 overall pick in 2001 by the Miami Sol before being taken first overall in the 2003 WNBA Dispersal Draft by the Detroit [now Tulsa] Shock in 2003 when the Miami franchise folded). Riley is preparing to begin her 14th WNBA season next month, and her second as a member of the reigning WNBA Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream (with whom she signed as a free agent midway through last season).

McBride and Achonwa (along with fellow senior tri-captain Ariel Braker) are less than a week removed from spearheading the most successful four-year run in Fighting Irish women’s basketball history and helping lead Notre Dame to four consecutive NCAA Women’s Final Four appearances (2011-14), including three national championship game berths (2011, 2012 and 2014), and a 138-15 (.902) record. In addition, during the trio’s career, the Fighting Irish won three consecutive outright conference regular season titles (2012 and 2013 in the BIG EAST; 2014 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) and back-to-back conference tournament crowns (2013 in BIG EAST; 2014 in ACC), while posting a staggering 47-1 (.979) regular season league record in the past three seasons (55-2 including conference tournament play), including undefeated 19-0 combined regular season/tournament records in 2013 (BIG EAST) and 2014 (ACC – the first-ever by a league member in its inaugural season and first by any ACC squad since 2002-03).

McBride saved her best for her final college season in 2013-14, earning consensus first-team All-America honors, in addition to being named the ACC Player of the Year by the conference’s 15 head coaches and a finalist for every major national player of the year award. She averaged career highs of 17.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game with one double-double and a team-high 14 20-point games. She also ranked among the top 10 in the ACC in free throw percentage (2nd - .880; also 13th in nation), assist/turnover ratio (6th – 1.78), assists (9th), scoring (10th) and three-point percentage (10th - .366). In addition, her 669 total points rank fifth on the school’s single-season scoring list, and her 23-game double-figure scoring streak earlier this year is the fifth-longest in program history.

For her career, McBride ranks fifth on Notre Dame’s scoring list with 1,876 points, as well as first all-time in free throw percentage (.882), sixth in games played (133) and double-figure scoring games (100), seventh in minutes played (3,735) and tied for ninth in games started (114).

One of the most gifted versatile posts and vocal leaders in Fighting Irish history, Achonwa earned Associated Press third-team All-America honors and was a second-team all-ACC choice in 2013-14 while starting 33 games despite a pair of knee injuries. She also averaged career highs of 14.9 points and 2.8 assists per game along with 7.7 rebounds per contest, a career-best .611 field goal percentage (seventh on the school’s single-season charts) and a team-high eight double-doubles. What’s more, she placed among the top 15 in the ACC in field goal percentage (2nd; also 3rd in nation), defensive rebounds (tied-4th – 5.6), rebounds (7th), blocked shots (10th – 1.2 bpg.) and scoring (15th).

In 145 career games at Notre Dame (third-most in program history), Achonwa ranks 12th on the Fighting Irish all-time scoring list with 1,546 points and fourth on the school’s career rebounding chart (970). In addition, she is tied for fifth in school history with 28 career double-doubles, and her .562 career field goal percentage stands sixth on the program’s all-time list.

Notre Dame women’s basketball fans will have one more opportunity to celebrate this year’s historic 37-1 season, and bid farewell to the senior trio of Achonwa, Braker and McBride, when the Fighting Irish hold their annual awards banquet April 22 in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome) — doors open at 5 p.m. (ET), with autographs from 5:30-6:30 p.m. (ET) and dinner at 6:45 p.m. (ET). Tickets are on sale by contacting the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office, located inside Gate 9 (Rosenthal Atrium) at Purcell Pavilion, from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) weekdays.

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