Kia Nurseâ€™s summer vacation is over. But at least the University of Connecticut womenâ€™s basketball teamâ€™s senior guard had one, which is different than her past three years in school.
â€śIâ€™ve gotten a lot more rest than I expected, which obviously was helpful for my body to heal up some of the old stuff that was going on,â€ť Nurse said last month. â€śMentally I think itâ€™s a good place to be right now. You have the motivation, you have time to sit back and not have to do all the Canada basketball stuff and go straight from school to camp. So there was relaxation time and time with the family, and I think that all helps in the end.â€ť
Nurse is now in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and preparing to play with the Canadian national team in the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 that starts Sunday and runs through Aug. 13. The top three finishers in the event receive bids to the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
After her time in Buenos Aires, Nurse will join her UConn teammates in Italy for the remainder of their tour there.
But at least the 21-year-old has had some time to herself since the Huskiesâ€™ loss to Mississippi State in the NCAA Final Four semifinals on March 31. She did not take part in a Team Canada tour in May and was on the Storrs campus for the first summer school session before heading to Edmonton for Team Canadaâ€™s camp July 24.
â€śYou only get away from the game for about a week or so and it isnâ€™t that big of a step, but it is a bigger step than I usually get,â€ť Nurse said. â€śThen when I went home there was a little bit bigger of a step. You want to be back in the gym, but you also have to understand that you have to take a step back because if it is all basketball all the time eventually you are going to hit a wall. I would rather not hit a wall this year.â€ť
Nurse has spent her last four summers with Canadaâ€™s senior national team and took part in the 2014 FIBA world championships and the 2016 Olympics. About the only break she had in that span came a year ago when she had surgery for a sports hernia following the Huskiesâ€™ national championship run.
Nurse played in 33 games as a junior, missing four February contests with an ankle injury, and averaged 12.7 points and 2.1 rebounds. She was eighth in the American Athletic Conference in assists (3.9) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.6), while leading the league in 3-point percentage (46.2) and free-throw percentage (85.5).
She reached the 1,000-point plateau for her career and was named to the all-AAC second team. In UConnâ€™s NCAA tournament second-round win over Syracuse, she made nine 3-pointers to tie the NCAA record of Purdueâ€™s Courtney Moses.