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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Olympic run comes to an end for UConn's Nurse

Kia Nurse will be returning to UConn without an Olympic medal.

Nurse had 11 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shots in the 68-63 loss to France.

Nurse had a tough shooting night for Canada but her three-point play with 4:25 left to play pulled Canada within two points. However, Canada couldn't come all the way back.

Nurse missed a couple of shots in the final two minutes including one with 1:14 left which would have given the lead back to Canada.

Nurse finished 3 for 17 from the field as Canada finished 3-3 while France advances to play the U.S. in the semifinals. Many of Nurse's misses in the game and in the tournament came on aggressive drives to the basket when she attempted to draw fouls against bigger defenders.

She finished with the sixth most points (66) for a Canadian women's player in the Olympics but if you take away her 7 for 11 shooting in the 25-point win over Serbia, Nurse was only 9 for 53 from the field in the Olympics. Nurse finished second on the team with 14 assists.

The game's outcome swung in France's favor in the second quarter. Canada jumped out to a 29-16 lead and appeared ready to run away with the victory but France answered right back with a 12-0 run aided by five Canada turnovers in a 3-minute span to pull within 29-28 setting the stage for a back and forth affair the rest of the way.

"We lacked a little bit of experience at the end," Canadian head coach Lisa Thomaidis said in a release. "We forced up some tough shots we didn't need to, and we had a hard time learning our lessons throughout the tournament."

It will be interesting to see what the Canadian national team looks like in four years. Team captain Kim Gaucher, who had 15 points in Tuesday's loss, is currently 32 while Shona Thorburn is 34.

Current Iowa State star Bridget Carleton was a star in the 2015 FIBA U-19 World Championships while Alyssa Jerome averaged 15.8 points and 9.4 rebounds in leading Canada to the silver medal at the FIBA Americas U18 championships and was the team's No. 2 scorer in the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championships. Laeticia Amihere averaged 12.5 points and 13 rebounds in the U-17 event. Canada does have players standing in the 6-foot-3/6-foot-4 range in its program like former first round WNBA picks Kayla Alexander and Adut Bulgak as well as 6-6 Ruth Hamblin. Developing more of a low-post presence on offense could be the next step if Canada want to compete for medals at the World Championships and Olympics moving forward. Too often it looked like when things got tough, Canada would rely on young players like Nurse and Nirra Fields driving to the basket. Once teams caught onto that and took that away, it was tough for Canada to sustain much on offense.

Here is the breakdown of Canada's top Olympic women's basketball scorers
Player                 Year G Points
Bev Smith                  1984 6 85
Dianne Norman          1996 7 84
Kim Smith                 2012 6 83
Bev Smith                  1996 7 74
Stacey Dales               2000 6 71
Kia Nurse                    2016 6 66
Carol Turney               1976 5 65
Beverly Bland             1976 5 64
Alison Lang                 1984 6 63
Shona Thorburn           2012 6 63
Tammy Sutton-Brown 2000 6 62
Tamara Tatham           2016 59
Dianne Norman           2000 55

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