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Basketball - 24. June 2014.

CAN - Nurse draws on U17 experience ahead of Turkish challenge

EDMONTON (FIBA U17 World Championship for Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Two years ago, Kia Nurse was representing Canada with distinction at the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women and after meteoric rise to prominence, she's now on the cusp of a maiden global outing at senior level at the FIBA World Championship for Women.

The playmaker was the first to admit that it has been a truly spectacular ascendency ever since she stepped out in the Netherlands in 2012.

"Thinking back on the tournament now, it's hard to believe it occurred two years ago," declared Nurse.

"Those first minutes in Amsterdam were filled with nerves and over-excitement, but I was eventually able to settle in.

"Since it was my first World Championship experience, I was able to gauge a better understanding of some of the top countries' styles of play.

"It helped improve my leadership and communication on the court, as well as allowing me to look at my strengths and weaknesses within the international game.

"Amsterdam was a beautiful city and I loved the canal ride where we saw Anne Frank's house, along with the beautiful buildings along the way.

"Throughout the tournament, our team bonded at meal times and through team nature walks and other fun team-building activities.

"The facilities were awesome and one of the best games was playing against the Netherlands with the home crowd.

"Finishing the tournament with a bronze medal was an incredible accomplishment and I am truly honoured to have played with so many dedicated girls and hard-working coaches."
Nurse continued: "I certainly did not expect to make a jump to the senior team as quickly as I did, but I could not be happier with the experience I have gained.

"I believe over the last two years I have become a calmer player and learnt a lot more about the mental aspect of the game.

"If selected to play at Turkey 2014, I hope to be calm and collected as I step onto the floor in Ankara, but I also hope to play to the best of my abilities for my team-mates and my country."

Having already secured a silver medal with the senior team at last year's FIBA Americas Championship for Women, Nurse looks to be a lock to nail down a berth once again ahead of Turkey.

It is certainly an incredible story and one which means Nurse could inspire many more young Canadian ballers to try and follow in her footsteps.

But what words of wisdom does she have for this next generation of players about to do battle at the third edition of the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic (28 June-6 July)?

"The only advice I would have for them is to soak-up the whole experience and have fun," insisted Nurse.

"It's great being around so many people who are passionate about the game of basketball, so enjoy watching the different styles of play and the incredible level of competitiveness.

"But above all, have fun because you always play better when you are enjoying what you do.

"I have no doubt our Canadian girls will represent our country well. I have been fortunate to get to know many of the girls; they are passionate, hard working, and dedicated to getting better each and every day - not to mention the fantastic coaching staff they have leading the way.
"I was also fortunate enough to play under Carly Clarke, Andre Desjardins, and Jodi Gram. And, with so much knowledge, passion and their understanding of the game, it was a great environment to learn, develop, and compete."

Meanwhile, the 18-year-old isn't only getting hugely excited at the prospect of her first major global tournament with the senior team; she is also ready to write yet another notable note in her burgeoning career.

"I am also looking forward to my next chapter of life at the University of Connecticut," she explained.

"I am excited to be a part of such a great programme surrounded by great coaches and team-mates.

"I am always looking for ways to improve my basketball abilities and education - I believe it's the best fit to help me achieve my dreams in basketball and in life."

Nurse will of course be under the watchful eye of Geno Auriemma when she takes her NCAA bow at UConn, with the USA national team play-caller also on duty Turkey looking to defend his nation's coveted title.

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