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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UConn's Nurse toughness comes from brother

UConn coach Geno Auriemma has referenced the toughness of freshman Kia Nurse on more than one occasion.

When Nurse ponders where that competitiveness was developed she doesn't have to look very far. He older brother Darnell is a rugged defenseman who is a former No. 1 pick by the NHL's Edmonton Oilers and there were countless competitions between the two of them growing up.

"He is somebody who always pushed me," Kia Nurse said. "There is a sibling rivalry when you are younger you want your parent's attention, he always pushed me, he always told me how proud he was of me, told me to work harder so he has been a great influence."

Darnell Nurse made the Oilers out of training camp. After being a healthy scratch in the first two games of the season he made his NHL debut against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Nurse played 18:04 on Oct. 14 and saw 15:55 of ice time the next night against Phoenix.

The Oilers had nine games to decide to keep Nurse or send him back to Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League. The decision was made for Nurse to return to the OHL. He wasted little time making his presence felt as he had a point in his first 12 games including a four game goal-scoring streak. Both of those came to an end when he was held without a point in Sunday's 3-1 win over Kingston. Still, in 13 games he is tied for the team lead among defenseman (despite missing 10 games while he was with the Oilers) with 15 points.

"I am proud of him no matter what, he is doing a good job," Nurse said. "He is living his life, I am living mine but we keep in contact and it is great."

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