Natalie Achonwa

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

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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.

Tennessee G Hubbs undergoes arthroscopic knee surgery

Robert Hubbs III, Anton Beard
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee guard Robert Hubbs won’t practice this week after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday.

The school said in a news release that Hubbs had it done “to address chronic swelling issues that have been present since the preseason.”

No timetable has been set for when Hubbs could return to action, but he is considered doubtful for Tennessee’s next game on Dec. 12 at Butler. Tennessee (4-3) is in the midst of a 13-day break from games, which marks the program’s longest layoff during a season since December 1967.

Hubbs is averaging 15.3 points per game to rank third on the team. The 6-foot-4 junior has scored at least 13 points in each of Tennessee’s seven games.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.