Minnesota Lynx Head Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve today announced that the team has signed free agent forward Natalie Achonwa. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.
“Through her first six years in the WNBA, Natalie has established herself as not only one of the toughest players in the league, but also one of its best leaders,” said Reeve. “We are thrilled she has chosen to be a Lynx.”
Achonwa, selected by Indiana in the first round (ninth overall) the 2014 WNBA Draft, has garnered off the court accomplishments as well in her six seasons in the league. She was named the recipient of the 2020 Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award and the 2019 WNBA Community Assist winner. The 2015 All-Rookie Team selection has played in 168 regular season games with career averages of 7.7 ppg (on 52.6% shooting) and 4.5 rpg. She started all 34 games for the Fever in 2018, registering career highs of 10.3 ppg (52.7%) and 6.9 rpg (ranking 12th in the WNBA) while playing a career-high 26.0 mpg. Achonwa has also appeared in seven career playoff games, highlighted by a trip to the 2015 WNBA Finals vs. Minnesota.
“I am ecstatic to join the Minnesota Lynx, a franchise that has proven it knows what it takes to win,” said Achonwa. “From my role in Coach Reeve’s system, to the commitment and impact the Lynx have in the community, it’s a great fit. I can’t wait to carry on and contribute to the leadership and tradition of success of the Lynx.”
In 2009, the Guelph, Ontario native made her debut with Canada’s senior national team at age 16, tallying 6.6 ppg and 4.2 rpg in five games as Canada won bronze at the FIBA Americas Championship in Brazil. Overall, she’s made 87 appearances for the senior national team, including trips to the 2010 FIBA World Championship, the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and the 2018 FIBA World Cup.
A 2014 graduate of Notre Dame, Achonwa helped the Irish advance to the NCAA Final Four in each of her four seasons on campus. She has also played professionally in Italy, China and South Korea.
The Minnesota Lynx are entering their 23rd WNBA season, having made their 10th consecutive playoff appearance in 2020. The 2021 Lynx season will once again be presented by Mayo Clinic. More details surrounding the team’s schedule will be announced at a later date.