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Canada basketball
Crina Mustafa

Olivia Leung is Just Getting Started

U18 Women


Jun 20, 2024

Olivia Leung remembers going to a Toronto Raptors exhibition game in her hometown of Calgary, decided she wanted to play basketball and never looked back.  

“From there, I began to play with a small community team and soon fell in love and never stopped playing,” said Leung. “Once COVID-19 hit, my dream was to play Division l basketball.” 

Being from Calgary, Alberta, Olivia Leung looks up to generations of Canadian hoopers from her province.  

“There is a lot of growth happening in Western Canada on the women's side, and I think Yvonne [Ejim] and the Plouffe sisters deserve a lot of credit for it,” Leung said. 

Yvonne Ejim, entering her fifth and final year at Gonzaga, had a record year with the program. She led her team to the Sweet 16 in March Madness. In February, she helped the Canadian Senior Women’s National Team qualify for the Summer Olympics, travelling to Sopron, Hungary, for the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2024. 

Meanwhile, Katherine and Michelle Plouffe, ranked first and second, respectively, in the FIBA 3x3 Individual World Rankings, are back-to-back champions in the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series and successfully qualified the Canadian 3x3 Women’s National Team for the upcoming Games. 

Leung is incredibly grateful to these players for helping pave the way and create opportunities for her. “Being a girl from Alberta also serves as a chip on my shoulder to prove that we can hoop, too,” she said. “I hope that my story will inspire other girls from Western Canada. We are just getting started!” 

Leung has already achieved several milestones in basketball. She attended Crestwood Preparatory College in Toronto and committed to the University of Dayton in the fall, where she will accomplish her dream of playing Division l basketball for their program. 

She credits her coaches, including Marlo Davis, her coach at Crestwood and now on the U18 Women’s National Team, with a big part of the lessons she's learned in her basketball journey. 

“[My coaches] have pushed me out of my comfort zone and saw in me the potential that many others did not,” Leung said. “They also put up with me when I bug them for gym times 10x a day, which isn’t easy (laughs).” 

Leung made her U18 Women’s National Team debut earlier this week at the FIBA U18 Women's AmeriCup 2024. A reliable shooter in the lineup, Leung has averaged eight points through Canada’s first three wins. In Canada’s first matchup this week, Leung hit four consecutive threes, helping lift the team to a positive group phase.

“If you told me two years ago that I would have all these opportunities in front of me, I would have never thought it would be true,” she said. “Playing for the national team goes beyond anywhere I thought basketball would take me, and putting on a Team Canada jersey is a dream come true.”

She will go from having competed against girls in high school to becoming teammates with them as they look to qualify for next summer’s FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup 2025. 

From Calgary, Alberta, to Bucaramanga, Colombia, Olivia Leung is just starting her basketball journey.