Nurse, Thorburn make Canada’s women’s FIBA Americas roster

There will be a definite Hamilton flavor to Canada’s basketball squad competing at this fall’s FIBA Americas Championship for Women in Mexico.

Kia Nurse (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson/Aerial Promotions

Kia Nurse (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson/Aerial Promotions

In addition to head coach Lisa Thomaidis from Dundas, the Senior Women’s National Team will have guards Kia Nurse and Shona Thorburn, both of Hamilton. Nurse represents the new wave of Canadian talent. In her second year as a member of the national team system, the 17-year-old student at St. Thomas More Secondary School, has played in 15 international games.

Last year the six-foot guard competed at the FIBA U17 World Championships in Amsterdam where Canada won bronze. She was identified as the team leader and was sixth overall in the tournament in points per game. She was also a member of Canada’s team which participated in the 2012 3×3 Youth World Championships in Spain.

In 2011, Nurse was a member of the 2011 U16 Cadette National Team that took part in the U16 FIBA Americas Championships held in Merida, Mexico, placing third.

Shona Thorburn at the 2012 London Olympics (Photo: COC/Jason Random)

Shona Thorburn at the 2012 London Olympics (Photo: COC/Jason Random)

Thorburn, 5-10, is no stranger to international competition. A six-year veteran for Canada she has also competed on the Olympic court. The 31-year-old Thorburn is a graduate of Westdale High School and the University of Utah.

Team Canada heads in to this competition after a successful summer of preparation, most recently winning the Super Four International Tournament in Sao Carlos, Brazil going 3-0 beating Argentina, Puerto Rico and Brazil.

“After an amazing summer of training and competition, we’ve selected the 12 athletes that will represent Canada at the FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico. Both our mix of experience and youth will be called upon to contribute in Xalapa,” said Thomaidis.

“The FIBA Americas tournament is highly competitive and we are mindful of the varying styles in opponents that we will face. We are encouraged with the signs of improvement we’ve seen in both our team and individual performance indicators over the course of the summer, and feel very prepared for the upcoming tournament. We are excited to get going!”

The competition in Xalapa will feature the best teams in the Americas, where they face Jamaica, Chile, Venezuela and Cuba in the preliminary round of the tournament. Canada has won bronze in the last four years of the FIBA Americas Championship tournament.

Canada must finish in the top three in order to qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Championship.