As part of an on-going series of blogs, Canadian Kia Nurse will check in from time to time throughout the year and WNBA season to share her thoughts, experiences and more exclusively on NBA.com.
On watching the U SPORTS Women's National Championship
It was a great experience, from what I've heard - in comparison to the past couple of years that the National Championship has been run, this year was probably one of the bigger ones. There was more support around it, there was more excitement around it and I think that was great.
For me, it was really awesome to see a lot of my former teammates. People who have helped me really become who I am, and the basketball player that I am today be successful in their own right and take home a National Championship was really awesome to be there and be a part of that as well.
🇨🇦🏀...gangggg ✨ pic.twitter.com/1edWnzyRo9- Tamara Tatham (@TTatham13) March 11, 2019
There was extensive media coverage. The Semi-finals and Finals were both on Sportsnet 360 - that was good to see. A young woman had the potential to be flipping through channels randomly and see a women's basketball game on, so that's something that's exciting for us. The media coverage from the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail - they did an incredible job. They were courtside at every single game making sure that they got everything that they needed in terms of helping to promote the game, so I thought that was great.
The level of basketball was good, obviously, it's continuing to grow in Canada. We have a lot of players who are having incredible U SPORTS careers - staying home or coming back home.
Christina Buttenham who's on McMaster came back from the University of Iowa. She sat out last year, came in this year and had a huge impact for McMaster so that was amazing to see her do that. I've been playing with her since the second grade so it was really fun to see how she's developed.
For McMaster, I've grown up around that program. My mom played there and we used to go to Burridge gym just to be around the program and watch Women's basketball when we were growing up. So that was really awesome to see them finally get one.
Their coach Teresa Burns has been there for 29 years and she's the epitome of McMaster basketball. She's so dedicated, been through a lot of ups and downs but has stuck with it and I think that it's really amazing that they were able to kind of get that done for her.
On the U SPORTS National Champion games being on national television
I think it was huge, especially for the Women's game and U SPORTS. The way that we're allowed to finally be able to see that is huge. We've been used to the Carleton Ravens and we've heard about their success and we've seen that on tv but when there's a women's sport on TV it makes all the difference.
I read a really great article in the Star today that Doug Smith had written about how the television broadcasters and the producers get to decide what we get to watch, what we demand and what we think is exciting. But now if you put a women's basketball game on tv and it becomes exciting to somebody. It could be someone new to the game or someone who just hasn't been able to see it before and that creates and generates a demand for our sport to continue to grow.
On the open letter for International Women's Day in the Toronto Star
Open Letter: 'One day you will be the inspiration.' Kia Nurse encourages aspiring female athletes to pursue 'crazy' dreams
Doug Smith reached out via email saying this is International Women's Day, we'd love if you wanted to write an open letter. That was something that I was pretty interested in. The feedback was absolutely incredible.
I was taken back by the response on social media and how it was able to be spread as fast as possible. I had people come up to me and say they had read it to their U14 boys' team. They found a message out of it.
I think that's something that's important too, just trying to reach the younger audience and make sure that these young women and especially aspiring female athletes know that they aren't alone.
And that it will get better and there are a few challenges that you have to go through but there are people who came before me to allow me to have this platform, and I'm going to try and be that person and that role model for the next girl to allow them to have the platform as well.
On Kia Nurse Elite girls basketball program
The U15 and U17 are the main ones that are coming through. It will be the first go around weekend with all the girls. I think it will be a lot of fun, I'm going to try and be there for it. I'll be working with TSN for March Madness on the same day so it will be a whirlwind but if we get out there and I get to see some of the girls it will be great.
To meet your teammates is always exciting, to get to know the coaches a little bit. We're going to try and set the standard of what we want Kia Nurse Elite to be. What it's about, what it means to be able to have the opportunity to play - there's a lot of girls here who will probably get more looks now because they have the opportunity to play in the EYBL circuit and that's exciting.
On getting ready for the WNBA season
I've been doing a little bit of everything honestly. It's a long season once it gets going so rest is a big thing right now - rest and recovery, making sure the body is good to go by the time it starts back up. Also finding a balance between rest and recovery and what you need to do to get better in terms of basketball-wise and lifting. I'm working out with Dream Chaserzzz, Justin Alliman out in Mississauga and we work out pretty much three times a week at least to get skill stuff done. Anytime I'm out here in New York I work with Teresa Weatherspoon, it's great to work with her obviously.
Outwork yourself. @KayNurse11 / @Dream_Chaserzzz- ❔ (@WHOISMRKOA) March 9, 2019
I'm also working on some stuff outside of basketball too. I'll be working with TSN during March Madness as an analyst which is a little different. Still within the stream of basketball but it's good to kind of be able to have something to lean back on once the playing career is over.
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