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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

UConn's Kia Nurse lifts Canada to FIBA AmeriCup title

Kia Nurse struggled to find the range on her shot throughout the FIBA AmeriCup but with her Canadian team trailing by a point, Nurse scored in the lane with 1:26 remaining as Canada topped host Argentina 67-65 in the gold medal game.

Nurse finished with 12 points and three assists as she finished the tournament second on the team in scoring at 10.5 points per game.

She scored in double figures in three of the six games. Nurse has played in 36 FIBA or FIBA Americas tournaments at the senior level and has scored in double figures 17 times leading Canada to three gold medals, a silver medal, a fifth-place finish in the world championships and seventh in the Olympics. She was also part of Canada's bronze-medal winning team at the 2013 FIBA U17 Championships. Oh, and she won't turn 22 until February.

Counting her U16 and U17 experience, Nurse has averaged  11.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. In all the FIBA and FIBA Americas events she has competed in, Nurse has scored in double figures 27 times in 49 games.

Nurse has played in seven FIBA or FIBA Americas tournaments and averaged at least 10 points per game in six of them.

Nirra Fields was the top scorer for Canada averaging 14.5 PPG and was named the tournament MVP.

Canada won the tournament two years ago when it was called the FIBA Americas Women's Championship. Nurse was the tournament's No. 6 scorer averaging 13 points per game while shooting 51 percent from the field including 40 percent from 3-point range. Nurse shot just 28 percent from the floor in this year's tournament including 22 percent from 3-point range.

Canada, Argentina and bronze medalists Puerto Rico clinched berths in the 2018 FIBA World Cup. Puerto Rico topped Brazil in the bronze-medal game as Manchester's Ashley Perez had seven points in the game and had 41 points in the six tournament games.

The U.S. did not compete in the tournament since it has already qualified for the FIBA World Cup.

Here are quotes from Canada head coach Lisa Thomaidis courtesy of the Canada Basketball release

"This is exactly the kind of game that you dream about, the ones that go back and forth. Neither team has it secured from start to finish and those are the games that you learn so much about yourself and your team when you have an opportunity like this. And to play in an environment like this. You cannot replicate this environment.

"I'm so proud of our team. We are young, we have a bunch of new players and we really weren't tested until this game. We were knocked back on our heels at the beginning of the game and we had to regroup and credit to them. We came out in the second half and built a lead and Argentina is a tough team to match up with. They spread us out and can knock down some threes. We got some great contributions from a variety of different players tonight and when it came down to it we got the stops when we needed it and got some key scores. Just a fabulous win for this program and this team in terms of kicking off the start of this squad and heading forward."

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