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Canada basketball

Olympian Overview: Kia Nurse

During the London Olympics in 2012, when Canada Basketball's Senior Women's National Team made its long-awaited return to the Summer Games, Kia Nurse was in training camp with the Junior Women's National Team, preparing for that summer's FIBA World U17 Championship.

When the SWNT played, Kia would gather with her teammates to watch on TV, cheering on the Olympians and dreaming she too could one day compete on sport's greatest stage.

But never did the 20-year-old phenomenon from Hamilton believe it would come this soon.

"I just thought I'd come up through Canada Basketball like everybody else," Kia says.

Kia is the Team Canada's youngest player by more than two years - and this is already her fourth summer with the SWNT.

She made her Canada Basketball debut with the Cadet Women's National Team in 2011, spent the following year with the JWNT, then got promoted all the way to the SWNT in 2013 and hasn't looked back.

Last summer the six-foot guard was instrumental in Canada's gold medals at the Toronto Pan Am Games and FIBA Americas Championship in Edmonton. She was Canada's flag-bearer at the Pan-Am Games' closing ceremony, proudly leading the team into the Rogers Centre, and was named tournament MVP after scoring 13.0 points per game at Americas.

In her first two years as the University of Connecticut, Kia has tasted defeat just once. The Huskies are 76-1 since she joined the program, winning the NCAA championship in 2015 and 2016.

The Huskies never expect to lose, and Kia says there's a similar confidence within Team Canada.

Another similarity between the two teams is their family-like atmosphere, Aug. 12 notwithstanding. That's when Canada takes on Team USA, which includes Kia's UConn coach Geno Auriemma and former teammate Breanna Stewart.

"I had people coming up to me on campus telling me; We'll be cheering for you at the Olympics," "except when you're playing the U.S.," laughs Kia.