UConn's Kia Nurse named to Canadian Olympic team
|UConn's Kia Nurse, in action during the FIBA Americas final, will play|
in her first Olympic Games next month as key player for Canada.
In the FIBA Americas event Nurse averaged a team-best 13 points per game and added 18 rebounds, 11 assists and six steals in the six games. She led the team in scoring (averaging 13.6 points per game) in the run to the gold medal at the Pan Am Games. She also averaged 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
Nurse, who has earned the reputation of playing her best when the stakes are the highest in her first two seasons at UConn, has also played at a high level at the most opportune times with the national team. She had 20 points in the 82-66 victory over Cuba in the FIBA Americas championship game which earned Canada a spot in the Olympics. She had 33 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in the Pan Am gold medal game to lead Canada to a win over the United States team led by UConn All-Americans Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson.
Nurse was the only player to start all 38 games en route to UConn's run to a record 11th national title during the 2015-16 season. She finished fifth on the team in scoring averaging 9.3 points per game and was one of four players with at least 100 assists. She is expected to take on a large role offensively following the graduation of Jefferson, Stewart and Morgan Tuck.
The 12 players who took part in the FIBA Americas and Pan Am events have all been named to the Olympic team.
Former Notre Dame star Natalie Achonwa is joined by fellow 2012 Olympians Miranda Ayim, Kim Gaucher, Lizanne Murphy, Michelle Plouffe, Shona Thorburn and Tamara Tatham. While Nurse, Nirra Fields, Miah-Marie Langlois, Katherine Plouffe and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe will be first time Olympians.
Nurse has missed the first two stages of preparation for the Olympics after undergoing sports hernia surgery after helping the Huskies win the national title. She is expected to be able to practice without restriction later today when the team begins its final training camp in Toronto before playing exhibition games against Australia on July 27 in Newark, Delaware, versus the U.S. on July 29 in Bridgeport and against France on July 31 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Canada opens play in the Olympics on Aug. 6 against China.
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