Liberty’s Nurse hopeful for WNBA restart, excited about Ionescu


New York Liberty's Kia Nurse shoots at the three-point contest during the WNBA All-Star festivities in Las Vegas in 2019. (John Locher/AP)

It was reported Thursday that there are growing concerns around the WNBA regarding the start of the season and lack of information about the bubble in which players will be staying in Florida.

For the time being at least, New York Liberty star guard Kia Nurse is remaining optimistic.

“I’ve moved back to New York now to finish physical testing and medical testing and get some workouts in with the coaches and then move to Florida next week,” Nurse said Friday during an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Good Show. “From what I understand everything is a go and that’s what we’ll be doing.”

The WNBA announced on June 15 its plans to play a reduced, 22-game season with all games played at the IMG Academy or other nearby locations in Bradenton, Fla., with camps opening in early July and games beginning at the end of the month.

In addition to getting back on the court, Nurse is hopeful the start of the season can happen so she and her colleagues can use their platforms to shine a light on various ongoing social justice initiatives.

“It’s exciting to get a season hopefully happening and be able to see everyone and I think it’ll be unique in the sense that we have all 144 players in one place and the ability to use our voices and help to inspire change and use the platforms that we have all over the world,” Nurse explained.

Kia Nurse on the pandemic, protests, and WNBA's return
June 26 2020

The 23-year-old Hamilton, Ont., native averaged 13.7 points, shot 87 per cent from the free-throw line and was named an all-star in her sophomore season despite her team finishing 10-24.

The poor finish resulted in the Liberty getting the No. 1 pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, which was used to select Oregon Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu.

“I think what Sabrina has done in her college career speaks for itself,” Nurse said. “She cemented herself as a superstar and I think obviously there’s going to be a bit of a jump from college to the WNBA just in terms of speed and size and how the game is played, but I think she’ll have the ability to continue to bring her playmaking skills. She was the triple-double queen for a reason.”

Ionescu was the first player in NCAA history, male or female, to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a career.

“I think that her ability to find people, her assists will be important for us and then obviously her ability to score from the point guard position. I think that’ll make us tough to guard,” Nurse added. “It looks like, based on our draft picks this year and our roster, it’s looks like we’re going to play a little bit of small ball and try out what that looks like in our league, so I’m excited to have her as our point guard and I think she’ll grow pretty quickly. She’s competitive so I think that’ll help with the rookie transition. I think it’ll be great.”


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