All Kia Nurse has done over her past few years on the court is collect wins.
After seeing her trophy case fill to the brim with the 2015 NCAA championship for the University of Connecticut, two gold medals for Canada at the Pan-Am Games and FIBA Women’s AmeriCup that same year, another NCAA title in 2016, and a second AmeriCup gold in 2017, the 22-year-old from Hamilton, Ont., is up to her winning ways once again this year.
This time, it’s the WNBA she’s set her sights on, where Nurse has dominated for the New York Liberty since getting drafted as the 10th-overall pick this past April. She proved Saturday that the change of scenery will do little to slow her down, putting up a record-breaking performance against the Indiana Fever that saw her amass 34 points — setting franchise marks for the most points scored by a rookie or a reserve player.
With a few days to let the impact of her offensive outburst sink in, Nurse joined JD Bunkis and Ben Ennis on the Good Show Monday to reflect on the historic performance.
“It was one of those games where, you know, you just do things unconsciously,” she said. “You kind of play, and it feels like you’re a kid back in first or second grade, and you’re just running around doing something that you love, and having a lot of fun while you do it with your teammates. I think that was probably one of the best parts.”
.@KayNurse11 went OFF for 34 points tonight!
— WNBA (@WNBA) June 3, 2018
Currently averaging the eighth-most points in the league through her first four WNBA games, she also spoke about the difficulties of transitioning from the college ranks to the pros.
“I think the biggest thing here is when you get to the professional level, you can be stronger, quicker, faster, have younger legs than any player, and they just have a basketball IQ and an experience … that will allow them to counteract anything that you can try to do, physically,” she said.
With a résumé that ranks her unequivocally as one of Canada’s top talents on the court, and her WNBA career off to an impressive start, Nurse said she’s come to appreciate her opportunity to be a role model for young girls looking to get involved in the sport.
“It’s also a huge responsibility, knowing that you’re always going to have eyes on you no matter what you’re doing,” she said. “For me, I grew up and there wasn’t a lot of women all over the place like it is now. Like we see now with the social media — on Instagram, we get to follow our favourite female athletes, we see them on TV. There wasn’t a whole lot of that when I was growing up.
“So if I get to be that for those people who, now in this era, are allowed to do that — young girls can see me play and it gives them an added bonus and an added desire to win and play — then I’ve done more than my job could ever give me.”
Listen to Nurse’s full interview with Bunkis and Ennis below, as she discusses the need for the WNBA to get more exposure in Canada, the difficulty of building your brand as a female athlete, and Andrew Wiggins’ decision to pass on the national team.