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Canada basketball
Holly MacKenzie

The Naismith Notes: Kayla Alexander crowned MVP as Tango Bourges captures SuperCup Women title

In her 10th season of playing professional basketball, Kayla Alexander just keeps getting better. The Milton, Ontario native was named MVP when France’s Tango Bourges captured the SuperCup Women title in France last week.

Alexander was dominant in the win, pouring in 20 points, 11 rebounds and a blocked shot as she led Tango Bourges to their first ever SuperCup title after defeating 2022 EuroLeague Women winners Sopron Basket 65-44. She shot 7-for-11 from the floor and made all six of her free throw attempts in 33 minutes to lead Tango Bourges in turning a one-point lead at halftime into a blowout victory after holding Sopron Basket to just 18 points in the second half.

Alexander’s MVP performance comes less than a month after a stellar showing with the Senior Women’s National Team at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 in Australia where Canada finished fourth. Alexander was second overall in rebounding at the World Cup, averaging 9.4 rebounds over Canada’s eight games to go with her 7.1 points per game.

In a recent post to Instagram celebrating her 10th season of playing professional basketball, Alexander spoke about all that sport has given her. Most importantly, she revealed that she’s still having just as much fun as when she started playing.

- In NBA action, opening week saw plenty of Canadians in action, but no one made a splash bigger than rookie Bennedict Mathurin. The sixth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft hit the ground running and he hasn't looked back. After the first four games in his NBA career, the Indiana Pacers guard is averaging 22.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in just 27.8 minutes per game.

- Though Mathurin has shown the jump to the NBA has been a smooth one for him, the Pacers organization surprised Mathurin with a taste of home before a recent home game, arranging a surprise visit from his mother and sister, who prepared a meal for the team.

- Over in Denver, Jamal Murray has made his much-anticipated return to the basketball court after missing all of last season while recovering from ACL surgery. After more than 500 days away from the game that he loves, Murray is thrilled to be back and basketball fans everywhere are equally as thrilled to welcome him back into their arenas.

- The Utah Jazz have a new roster, a new coach and a new 3-1 record to start the season. Team Canada veteran Kelly Olynyk has been fantastic in his first four games with his new team, averaging 15.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 28.5 minutes per game. In the team’s 122-121 overtime thriller against the New Orleans Pelicans, Olynyk poured in 20 points, including the game winner in overtime.

- Moving to the CEBL, it was another huge week as the league announced its newest franchise, the Calgary Surge. The team formerly known as the Guelph Nighthawks have relocated to Calgary, providing one of the largest markets in the league with a team of their own to cheer for. The Surge will compete in this upcoming 2023 CEBL season.

- CEBL guard Aaron Best, along with reigning CEBL coach of the year, Ryan Schmidt, led the London Lions to their first ever EuroCup game victory in an 8-75 win over Aquila Basket Trento. In addition to being the team’s first EuroCup victory, the game also marked the first time that a British team had won a EuroCup game in 18 years.

- In college hoops action, ESPN Women’s College Basketball Recruiting rankings came out and Canada’s Cassandre Prosper was listed as the 16th ranked player in the Class of 2023 espnW100. Two Canadians made the list for 2024 espnW 60, with 6-foot-2 forward Toby Fournier ranked 23rd and point guard Delaney Gibb ranked 40th, while 5-foot-11 guard Deniya Prawl was ninth overall on the 2025 espnW 25 ranking.

- The U SPORTS 2023 Basketball Champions will be crowned in Nova Scotia. The Men’s Basketball Championships will be hosted by St. FX University in Halifax at Scotiabank Centre from March 10-12, 2023, marking the 36th time that the Final 8 Championship will be held in Halifax. The U Sports Women’s Basketball Championship will also be in Nova Scotia, as the Cape Breton Capers will host the U Sports Women’s Basketball Final 8 at Sullivan Fieldhouse in Sydney, N.S. from March 9-12, 2023.

- Finally, the 2022 G League Draft took place on Oct. 22 and Abu Kigab was the first Canadian to be taken, selected 13th overall by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Kigab represented Canada most recently with the Senior Men’s National Team at the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 in Brazil where Canada finished fourth. Fellow Canadians Jahvon Blair (2nd round, 15th - Westchester), Elijah Lufile (2nd round, 25th - Salt Lake City) and Kevin Kangu (3rd round, 8th - Oklahoma City) were also selected.