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Holly MacKenzie

The Naismith Notes: WNBA coming to Canada, as Toronto to play host to Lynx, Sky

2023 has only been here two weeks and counting, but it has already brought with it plenty of Canadian hoops action. To get caught up on everything that’s gone down since we flipped our calendars to the new year, read on.

- The WNBA is coming to Canada! The league announced on Wednesday that the Minnesota Lynx and Chicago Sky will play the WNBA’s first-ever game in Canada May 13 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Fans will get to see just the third-ever WNBA preseason game to be played outside of the United States.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Let’s gooo!! 🔥 So excited that the W will be coming north of the border! 🇨🇦 🍁 Toronto make sure you get out there and support these ladies!! <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Kia Nurse (@KayNurse11) <a href="">January 18, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

- The accolades and accomplishments continue to roll in for UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards. In addition to averaging 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds, the Kingston, Ontario native was just ranked the 14th-best player in the NCAA’s Top 25 players in women’s basketball.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Kingston’s own Aaliyah Edwards is making noise in college ball. She’s got next for Canada basketball 🇨🇦👀 <a href="">@AaliyahEdwards_</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; THE SHIFT (@theshift_sports) <a href="">December 29, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

- Speaking of accomplishments, Phillipina Kyei rang in the new year by becoming the first Oregon Ducks player to grab 20 rebounds in a game since 2016, and she did it in an Oregon blowout victory against USC. She followed that up with a 10-point 18-rebound double-double performance in her next game, a Ducks win against ASU. Kyei is averaging 11.5 rebounds per game in her sophomore season.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">20 🍔 <br><br>Philli is the first Duck with 20 boards since 2016! <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoDucks</a> x <a href="">@Phillipinakyei1</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) <a href="">January 2, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

- Bennedict Mathurin has added a new record to his young NBA career. The Indiana Pacers rookie is averaging 17.5 points per game while coming off the bench. This moves him into first place all-time for a reserve point-per-game career average in a minimum of 30 career games. Second place on this list? Michael Jordan. Pretty good company.

Via statmuse on Twitter, Mathurin is also leading all rookies and bench players in points as well as free throws this season.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Bennedict Mathurin off the bench:<br><br>19 PTS<br>6-10 FG<br>7-7 FT<br><br>Leading rookies AND bench players in points and free throws this season. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; StatMuse (@statmuse) <a href="">January 7, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

- One Canadian hooper who is thrilled for Mathurin’s success is fellow Montreal native Lu Dort. While the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated Indiana 126-120 on Wednesday, it was all love after the final buzzer sounded as the two exchanged jerseys after the game. Indiana was Canada south for the night as five Canadians hit the floor in the game with Dort leading the way as he finished with a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double in the win, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 23 points and six assists. Mathurin finished with 13 points for the Pacers while Andrew Nembhard scored 18 points and had seven assists and Oshae Brissett added five points and six rebounds off the bench.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">just two kids from Montreal.🇨🇦<br><br>Bennedict Mathurin 🤝 Luguentz Dort <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) <a href="">January 19, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

- Mathurin wasn’t the only Pacer to exchange jerseys this week. Andrew Nembhard posed with former teammate and longtime friend RJ Barrett following a 119-113 Knicks victory over the Pacers. Barrett finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the victory.

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font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;">View this post on Instagram</div></div><div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"><div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"></div></div><div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; 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overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href=";utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">A post shared by Rj Barrett (@rjbarrett)</a></p></div></blockquote> <script async src="//"></script>

- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poured in a 37-point, eight-rebound, six-assist, two-block, four-steal performance in a huge 133-114 Oklahoma City Thunder victory over the Philadelphia 76ers last week. The Hamilton native is averaging 30.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.7 steals per game in his fifth NBA season and his all-star  play has the Thunder on a five-game winning streak. The Thunder’s Royce Young went deep on the fluidity of Gilgeous-Alexander’s game in this must-read feature.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Fluidity: To flow easily. Smooth elegance or grace. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) <a href="">January 16, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

- Shifting back to college ball, VCU Rams guard Sarah Te-Biasu scored a career-high 26 points last week…and then set a new career-high a week later, dropping 30 points on Wednesday night. The Montreal native is averaging 16.4 points and 2.8 assists per game in her junior season. Te-Biasu was 10-for-16 from the floor on Wednesday, making 5-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc, as well as all five of her free throws.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Sarah can&#39;t be stopped 😅<a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LetsGoVCU</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UNLIMTED</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; VCU Women&#39;s Basketball (@VCUWBB) <a href="">January 19, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

- Zach Edey was named Big 10 Player of the Week for the fourth time this season, the most Big 10 Player of the Week nods for a Purdue Boilermaker in a single season. The Torontonian averaged 21.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game over the week and is averaging 21.9 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game in his junior season. In Purdue’s 62-63 victory over MSU on Monday, Edey erupted for 32 points and 12 rebounds, including the game-winning bucket with two seconds remaining.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">🏅 <a href="">@zach_edey</a> is your Big Ten Player of the Week for the 4th time this season.<br><br>📈: 21.7 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 3.3 APG<br><br>📝 Most <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#B1G</a> Player of the Week honors in a season by a Purdue player. ⬇️<br><br>6 | Caleb Swanigan (2016-17)<br>5 | Glenn Robinson (1993-94)<br>4 | Zach Edey (2022-23) <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Purdue Men&#39;s Basketball (@BoilerBall) <a href="">January 9, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

- Looking ahead to next month’s NBA All-Star Weekend in Utah, Portland Trail Blazers rookie Shaedon Sharpe will be competing in the 2023 dunk contest and he wants to put on  a show. Check out this slam from Portland’s game against the Nuggets on Tuesday.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">the bounce is unreal <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RipCity</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) <a href="">January 18, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

- And finally, a comeback well worth the wait. After tearing his achilles more than two years ago, Duane Notice returned to the court last week for the Sudbury Five of the National Basketball League of Canada. He also played in the team’s next game, a back-to-back, the very next day as well. He played 15 minutes in the back-to-back and he made each of them count, making three three-pointers in the fourth quarter to help the Five coast to victory. More important than any final score is the personal win Notice accomplished getting to return to the game that he loves. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">God is Great 🙏🏾🤍 <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Duane OFT Notice (@DuuTakeNotice) <a href="">January 8, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>