GET TO KNOW...LIZANNE MURPHY

This series lets you get to know the men and women from our national team programs. This time we discover Beaconsfield, QC native Lizanne Murphy who is currently plays with French club Angers.


Canada Basketball (CB): You've played with Team Canada since 2005, what does it mean to you to play for your country?

Lizanne Murphy (LM): I absolutely love playing for Canada; there is no greater feeling than getting to represent our great country on the world stage. Every game when we stand side by side, arms all linked, listening to our anthem, it just gets me so fired up and emotional at the same time. 

CB: 2013 was a fantastic year for the team that ended with a FIBA Americas silver medal - and a berth at next year's FIBA World Championships. What was your best memory of this past summer? Is there a game or moment that stands out most for you?

LM: All of my best memories from playing with Canada come from the journeys we go through as a team. It is really special to see the big training group we start out with in May and to see how the team forms and gels, both on and off the court, throughout the summer. This was a great summer for Canada, but bittersweet at the same time; we all really wanted to win the gold at the FIBA Americas tournament. While I am happy we qualified for worlds, I still have a sour taste from losing in the final and I think that will make us really hungry going into the world championships. 

CB: You’re having a very successful year with your French team of  Angers, averaging  an impressive 16.7 points per game (Eurobasket). With Team Canada, you are one of the senior players the team looks to for leadership. Do you like being a leader and role model?  Do you like to provide advice to the younger players and if yes, what kind of advice do you give?

LM: I have always been a very vocal player and person, so it comes very naturally to me to always be talking on the court. I have been lucky to have played with (and for) some unbelievable players and leaders in my years on the team, so I try to pass on the lessons I have learned over the years to the newer players to the team. The biggest lessons I have learned are how much you have to take care of your body in order to have a long career, as well as how hard you have to work in order to accomplish your dreams - you have to be willing to do more than everyone else in order to have a shot at success.   

CB: Last year, you played for Aix-en-Provence with other SWNT teammate Shona Thorburn, and this year both she and Miranda Ayim play in the French league as well, so once in a while, you do cross paths. Is it special when Canadians meet on teams overseas?

LM: It is SO special when you get to play with one of your friends, especially a Canadian teammate. Some of my best friends are on the national team and I consider them my sisters. It is amazing when you are so far from home and everyone you love, to have a good friend with you everyday. It is the next best thing to having your actual family close by!

CB: Outside of ball, what are you looking forward to the most this year? (any hobbies, other activities + interests?)

LM: Outside of basketball, I am most excited to spend time with my family and the people I love. I have two god children, Khalil and Amerie, that I can't wait to spend time with and watch grow up (Amerie is former national team player Kaela Yuen (Chapdelaine)'s daughter). 

CB: Do you have any pre-game rituals?

LM: I try not to have too many superstitions, but I like to eat pretty early before the game, and then listen to music. And I always wear one of my pairs of white knee high game socks!

CB: What advice do you have for young Canadian kids, looking to progress in basketball and become an elite player like you?

LM: My advice is pretty simple, but very hard at the same time. You have to be willing to work harder and put in more time than everyone you know. Every time I don't feel like working out, or improving my game, I think that someone else is out there getting better than I am, and possibly closer to my dreams. If you are competitive and passionate, you can make it happen. Everyone has big dreams, but if you are willing to fight, claw, grab and do whatever it takes to get to yours, you will get there and it will be so special when you do! 

CB: Last “bonus” question…given that March Madness has just kicked off, and we know you love the tournament, what are your predictions?

LM: Sure, I can give my March Madness expert bracketology opinion - haha! First thing I look at in a match-up is if any of my friends played for that school, coach at that school, or if the team currently has any Canadians, then I choose them. In a match-up where I don't know any of the teams, I like to choose the underdog! I have Michigan State, Louisville, Kansas and Arizona in the Final Four.

On the girls side I am cheering for Natalie Achonwa at Notre Dame to take it all! After that I am hoping all the girls I have met through CB who are in the tourney will play great.