Hamilton, Milton, Brampton and Mississauga hoopsters help Canada attain best FIBA Women’s World Cup result in 36 years

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Published October 3, 2022 at 10:33 am

The show of mettle from Canada’s women’s basketball team might be almost as good as a medal for Laeticia Amihere, Kayla Alexander, Shay Colley and Kia Nurse.

The foursome of basketball players, who respectively rep Mississauga, Milton, Brampton and Hamilton, helped Canada achieve its best finish in the FIBA Women’s World Cup in nearly four decades. Canada wound up in fourth place in Sydney, Australia after a bronze-medal game lost to hostess Australia and a semifinal defeat against the United States, who went to win its fourth consecutive gold medal by defeating China in the final.

For Canada, fourth place is the nation’s best finish in either senior worlds since the women’s team won a bronze in 1986. Nurse, a veteran of the WNBA and national team, was also playing in her first competition since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in October 2021. Canada was unable to advance out of the group stage in the last major world competition, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

“I’m proud of this team,” Nurse told Canada Basketball after the bronze medal game, where Australia pulled away to win 95-65 after Canada stayed as close as seven points through 2½ quarters. “I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. We read articles and know that no one thought we’d make it out of our pool and here we are. I think it’s a tough way to end a tournament, but (these are) building blocks. I’m proud of the way this team fought and I’m proud of the resilience of this team.”

Nurse was Canada’s No. 2 scorer across eight games in Sydney, averaging 11.0 points even though her minutes were restricted to 21 per game due to the recency of her rehab from the knee injury.

Alexander, a veteran forward from Milton, led Canada in player efficiency rating (14.6 per game), rebounding (9.6) and tied for the lead in blocked shots (6.1).

Colley, a guard from Brampton, averaged 8.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals, leading Canada in assists and sharing the team lead in steals.

Amihere, a Mississauga native who is entering her senior season with the reigning U.S. college basketball champion South Carolina Gamecocks, was a valuable part of Canada’s seven-woman rotation. The 21-year-old forward, who is an alumna of King’s Christian Collegiate in Oakville, averaged 7.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 20 minutes per game.

It is Amihere’s second FIBA worlds medal. As a teen, she helped Canada win the bronze medal at the under-19 women’s worlds in 2017.

Overall, Canada was 5-3 in the tournament. The squad kept every opponent to fewer than 65 points before encountering the buzzsaws that are the American and Australian national teams. Australia’s Opals are the only team other than the U.S. to win the tournament in this century, and have earned a medal in six of the last seven.

(Cover photo: Canada Basketball.)

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