If UConn sophomore guard Kia Nurse is asked how she spent her summer vacation the simple answer would surprise nobody, she played basketball.
The six-foot Hamilton, Ontario native represented Canada, her home nation, in both the Pan-American Games in July and the FIBA Americas Women’s Championship in August. Nurse was a key member of both Canadian teams that were able to win the gold medals at each tournament.
At the Pan-American Games, held in Toronto, Canada, Nurse led Canada to a perfect 5-0 record throughout the tournament on their way to their first ever Pan-American Games gold medal finish. Nurse was Canada’s leading scorer throughout the tournament averaging 13.6 points per game. Nurse also lead the team in minutes played, averaging 25.8 minutes per game.
In the championship game of the tournament Nurse led the way in a matchup against a United States team that consisted of two fellow UConn teammates, Moriah Jefferson and Breanna Stewart.
In a game filled with college stars, Nurse shined the brightest as she poured in 33 points to lead all scorers in Canada’s 81-73 victory over the United States. She also impressed with her versatility as she stuffed the stat-sheet by also recording 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in the victory.
Canada and Nurse kept their hot summer rolling in the FIBA Americas Women’s Championship where they once again dominated the competition. Canada rolled over the competition by going undefeated in the group stage on their way to the gold medal game.
Canada defeated Cuba in the championship game behind a 20-point effort from Nurse. With the victory, Canada qualified for the 2016 Olympics.
Nurse, who was also named MVP of the tournament, looks to be a big part of the Canadian National Team’s future heading into the 2016 Olympics and beyond. While playing major minutes in both tournaments Nurse showed her dependability in big moments, a trait that many UConn women’s basketball players have.
After winning a National Championship in her freshman season at UConn, Nurse’s summer performance has shown that she has no plans of falling victim of any “sophomore slumps” in the upcoming season.
Nurse, who started in 36 of 39 games for the Huskies in 2014-2015 while also averaging 25 minutes per-game, has clearly worked on her offensive game over the summer. Nurse will look to build on the already impressive 10.9 points per game she averaged as a freshman.
Based on her performance over the summer, Nurse looks ready to play a bigger role on another loaded UConn roster.
Spencer Mayfield is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.