Women's basketball links: Notre Dame's Natalie Achonwa returns, Cal's Gennifer Brandon out indefinitely, Pat Summitt Plaza dedication

Post player Natalie Achonwa made an return to action this weekend. - Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

10 stories from around the women's basketball world that caught my eye over the weekend.

Injuries are a fact of life in basketball and they've unfortunately robbed us of seeing a few of the nation's top seniors at their best (or at all) thus far this season.

Although one senior was able to return, one injured player's struggle to fully return from injury was compounded by a personal matter, and another is still on the road to recovery while nearly dropping a triple double.

  • Doug Feinberg of the AP reported that Natalie Achonwa made her return to action in Notre Dame's 76-54 win over Penn on Saturday, scoring four points in 14 minutes. "The game marked the return of Notre Dame forward Natalie Achonwa, who missed the first three games while recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in her right knee. The senior was supposed to miss at least a month, but returned in just three weeks." Read more >>>
  • Nick Kranz of California Golden Blogs covered Cal's win over Northwestern, noting that Gennifer Brandon is out indefinitely due to personal reasons. "As of right now, we don't know when Gennifer Brandon will be back playing basketball. I hope it will be soon, because that means that Gen will have resolved her personal matter, and because, selfishly, I love watching her play basketball." Read more >>>
  • Palo Alto Online reported that the Texas Longhorns forced Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike to rely on something that she had been working on this past offseason: perimeter shooting. "This game forced me to be outside. It was a little uncomfortable," said Ogwumike, who won a pair of state high school titles on the same court. "I'm just really proud of my team for helping me build my confidence back in the second half." Read more >>>
  • Jason Orts of the Waco Tribune reported on Baylor point guard Odyssey Sims' transition to playing the shooting guard spot this season with the Lady Bears needing her to be a more aggressive scorer this season. "I’m comfortable with both spots," Sims said. "I just have to learn more plays and know what to do at the two spot. But it’s not that difficult. (Niya is) getting more comfortable at the one, and I’m getting more comfortable at the one and two, so we’re just feeding off of each other." Read more >>>
  • Rich Elliot of the Connecticut Post highlights some growth from UConn center Stefanie Dolson: "Dolson has scored 20 points in back-to-back games for the first time in her career. ... Dolson has three double-doubles this season (nine in her career) and has reached double figures in rebounds in a career-high four straight games." Read more >>>
  • Elliot also put together a great story on how UConn's Breanna Stewart reacted to being benched in the first half of Friday's win over Boston University for what could be generously described as questionable shot selection. She returned to the game to record a game-high 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Read more >>>
  • Brian Mazur of the Duke Chronicle recapped Duke's win over Marquette yesterday, which included a quietly outstanding performance from senior Chelsea Gray. Gray recorded 13 assists, 12 points, and 9 rebounds - a rebound shy of a triple-double - despite foul trouble and still visibly hobbling due to her offseason injury. Imagine what she would be doing if she was 100%. Read more >>>
  • John Naughton of the Des Moines Register reports that Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly won his 400th game on Sunday with his team improving to 4-0. A major part of their undefeated start has been the play of senior Hallie Christofferson, who scored 25 points including 7-for-8 free throw shooting. "It's effortless," Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk said. "I honestly think she's an all-American-type player." Read more >>>


  • Mack Burke of the Tennessean described Vanderbilt's rout of #24 Dayton as "a well-rounded performance". Dayton coach Jim Jabir wasn't so impressed with his team's performance: "I am extremely disappointed in my team's effort and competitiveness," Jabir said. "I don't know if I've been more disappointed in one of our team's performances as I am today. We stopped competing in the second half, and that's not acceptable." After a 2-3 start with losses to every major conference team they've played, it will be hard for Dayton to remain ranked. Read more >>>

  • Maria M. Cornelius contributed a report to espnW on Friday's dedication of Pay Summit Plaza. Son Tyler Summit as well as former player and Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings were in attendance. Funny quote from Tyler about the facial expression of the statue: "They've got her smiling," Tyler Summitt said. "I don't know if that's an accurate representation of her coaching career, but it's great and she loved it, so I loved it." Read more >>>

There were obviously other stories that occurred across the nation this weekend, so feel free to drop additional links in the comments, create a fanshot, or write up a fanpost if you have a longer commentary to share.

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