Nurse Answers The Call From UCONN

Source: Larry Moko (Hamilton Scores)

Kia Nurse of the St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School will soon be going from one powerhouse basketball program to another.

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The multi-talented 6-foot guard who helped St. Thomas More Knights capture consecutive Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association Quad A high school championships in 2011 and ’12, signed a letter of intent Tuesday (Nov. 19) to accept a scholarship offer and play for the University of Connecticut Huskies beginning next fall.

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For those not familiar with UConn, it’s probably the most successful women’s university basketball institution in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I history. At the very least, they’re neck-and-neck with the University of Tennessee for that honour.

In recent years, however, UConn has dominated. Under the direction of head coach Geno Auriemma since 1985-86, the Huskies have won eight national championships, four times going undefeated. UConn has advanced to the Final Four 14 times with Auriemma at the helm. His record with the Huskies heading into this season was 839-133 (including a 90-game winning streak, the longest in NCAA hoops history). Currently, the defending national champions are 4-0 and unanimously ranked No. 1.

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“I think I chose Connecticut because it’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” Nurse said during the signing ceremony held at More. “They have great coaches and a great team. And they play against the best players in the country.”

Nurse says she has dreamed of playing for Connecticut since she was in Grade 7.

In terms of More’s own streak of excellence, the Knights are scheduled to be in Belle River/Windsor on Thursday (Nov. 21) to take a run at a third straight Ontario high school title. That’s never been done since the Quad A level of competition was introduced by OFSAA in 2001. St. Thomas More recently won both the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association and Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference championships in convincing fashion.

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Many schools have been ringing for the Nurse. Approximately 50 attempted to land her services. But UConn seemed to be the “best fit” ahead of a couple of others under final consideration — Penn State and Indiana.

“I’m hoping to reach my goal of being an Olympian and medalling at the Olympics,” Nurse said. “So I think this (UConn) is one of the best places I can do it.”

Nurse helped Canada qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women; the team won silver at the FIBA Americas Championship. (Photo: Samuel Vélez/FIBA Americas)

Currently the youngest member of the Canadian senior women’s national team, Nurse’s intention is to be a part of the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games in 2016. And Auriemma, it should be noted, also happens to coach the USA Basketball Women’s National Team – the defending Olympic gold-medallists in women’s basketball.

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Before getting fully involved with the UConn squad, Nurse will participate in the FIBA World Championship for Women, Sept. 27-Oct. 5 in Istanbul/Ankara, Turkey. She helped Canada qualify for that event by being a member of the team that won a silver medal at the FIBA Americas Championship a few months ago in Xalapa, Mexico.

In 2011, Nurse first made her mark on the international scene with Canada’s Cadette U-16 team in Mexico. And the following year, she led Canada to bronze at the FIBA U-17 World Championship in Amsterdam.

“What an amazing accomplishment,” Knights coach Blaize DiSabatino said of Nurse’s scholarship. “We are very proud of her. We know that she will be successful in her next journey. I’m sure that UConn, being such an elite program, will definitely continue to hone in on Kia’s capabilities.”

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Kia’s father, Richard, is a former Canadian Football League player with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Her mother — Cathy Doucette — played varsity basketball at McMaster University for five years. Aunt Raquel saw hoops action on the court with Syracuse University and Kia’s uncle is former National Football League star quarterback, Donovan McNabb. And then there’s her hockey-playing brother, Darnell, (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds). He was a first-round draft choice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers last summer.

Richard has been Kia’s coach at the club level with Hamilton Transway. Six of those years (consecutively) Kia and her Transway teammates brought home Ontario Basketball Association titles. In addition, Kia led Team Ontario to two Canadian age- group crowns.

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“We talked about it as a family (which scholarship offer to accept),” Richard Nurse said. “Kia wants to play beyond college. We were looking for a place that would bring out the best in her. UConn has a great tradition. Coach Auriemma is the senior women’s national team coach, so he’s fully aware of the commitment it takes to get to that level. That was a deciding factor for us.”

Kia’s older sister, Tamika, also played for the Knights, suited up for Canada at world junior championships and accepted a basketball scholarship at University of Oregon. DiSabatino and her father (Tom Spironello) coached Tamika at More from 2002-04.

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“The Nurse family has such strong character,” DiSabatino said. “And they have great family values. That’s part of the reason they are successful in both athletics and academics. They have a real focus on their family. They are always there to support one another and they are proud of each other’s accomplishments.”

The Knight Nurse begins her quest for a third straight OFSAA championship on Thursday with a pair of games, first at Holy Names, then at St. Anne. St. Thomas More is the No. 1 seed.

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Photo Above: Kia Nurse, St. Thomas Moore HS Junior playing in the Moore Hoops Basketball Tournament, Hamilton Source: Canada Basketball | June 3, 2013 [Hamilton Scores]

Belgrade, Serbia – The Senior Women’s National Team (SWNT) wrapped up the Belgrade Trophy Tournament with a close 52-50 victory over Team Italy on Sunday (June 2). The win gives the Canadians a 2-1 record – good for second place – in the competition. Team Canada is now 4-1 on its current European tour. 

The game opened with a flurry of activity from both ends of the court. The teams traded shots as each side looked to establish an early advantage with speed and offence. Canada held a 17-15 lead to close-out the first quarter on the strength of three 3-pointers. The teams settled into the game in the second frame as defence became a priority. Following a quiet quarter, the teams headed into halftime with Canada ahead 23-20.

Canada came out energized and focused looking to take control of the game. Three quick buckets propelled the Red and White to a 10-point lead – the team’s largest advantage of the game. With strong shooting and solid defence, Team Canada was ahead 38-30 after 30 minutes of play.

The fourth quarter told a very different tale. The Italian side seemed to find a second-wind and regained their earlier scoring touch. After a stunning 17-2 run to open the frame, head coach and Dundas native Lisa Thomaidis brought her troops in with a timeout. The coach’s words calmed the team and inspired Canada to respond with an 8-3 run of its own to close the gap to 50-48 with just over a minute to play.

The game would come down to free throws as the teams combined to shoot 12 times from the line in the match’s remaining moments. After two misses from the Italians, Canada would knot the game at 50 with two makes. Another pair of Italian misses would open the door for the Canadians to complete the comeback. Team Canada made two more free throws down the stretch to close-out the game 52-50.

Kia Nurse

The Canadians were led by Hamilton native and St. Thomas More student Kia Nurse who finished with 14 points and three rebounds. Nurse was pleased with the victory and credits the team’s work in its own end.

“Our defensive rotations really improved this game. We boosted our intensity and energy to push through to get the win. This game was the highlight of the trip so far for me because it was such a team effort – everyone contributed in some way.”

Thomaidis agreed with her youngest player’s assessment.

“This was a tremendous team win. The improvement on the defensive end that our team made over a 24-hour span is remarkable. I am so proud for our girls, we played 5 games in 6 days with a shortened bench. This game was a test of our fitness and resolve and we came out on top.”

Canada will continue its European tour by heading to France for a four-team tournament from June 7 to 9. The team will open the competition by playing the host country on Friday and Spain on Saturday. They will close-out the tournament with a date against these same Italians next Sunday.

____________________________________________________________________________________________ Canada Drive U12G/Gr. 6 | Shoot the Rock Basketball Tournament | June 1-2, 2013 | PHOTO'S COMING SOON! [cincopa AAHAfJbm73bg]

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Kia Nurse-Canadian Sr. Basketball Team Member

CONGRATULATIONS! Newest Member of the Canadian Senior Women's National Basketball team. Kia Nurse is a Junior at St. Thomas Moore High School and plays for Hamilton Transway Basketball Organization. Kia Nurse Check out this great article: JUNIOR KIA NURSE SELECTED FOR SENIOR NATIONAL TEAM Published by  on May 25, 2013 http://crownmagonline.com/recruiting/buzz/junior-kia-nurse-selected-for-senior-national-team/

Kia Nurse

It was the first game of the season in honor of our dear belated friend Sydney Wood.  I never would have photographed this game against St. Marys vs St. Thomas More if it werent for Mallory (Sydney's Sister) taking to the court.  Today (May 28th) would have been Sydney's 12th birthday and I want to repost those memorable photos from that day.  Please take a moment to view more photos from Sydney Wood's Memorial Game. More Basketball [Here] 

Sydney Wood 2001-2012- Please wear PURPLE today in honor of Sydney's Birthday (May 28, 2001) _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Social Media Please like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and comment on our photographs/design on our blog. We always update on { tumblr blog | flickr photostream | YouTube channel | Pinterest Boards | Google+  } too! NEW! Aerial Promotions is now on Instagram  Instagram ____________________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNLOAD IMAGES* © Aerial Promotions 1997-2013 *Read AP Terms & Conditions Before Download…click here *Read AP Photographic Licensing Before Download…click here ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Why...Because We CARE! It is part of AP mission to give back to sport & the developing athletes as a volunteer in the local community (...more) Images available now at www.Present it Photo.com