BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Kia Nurse was two years old when Sue Bird made her debut for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.
No wonder the United States national team's point guard and three-time Olympic gold medalist feels her age when she looks across the court at the UConn freshman and point guard for Team Canada.
But with age comes experience and wisdom and Bird knows exactly what Nurse is getting into.
"Everything's probably your fault, even if it's not, so be ready for that," Bird said Sunday after a Team USA-Canada scrimmage Sunday at Webster Bank Arena. "The advice I would really give her is to take it one day at a time and try to get better. Be a good teammate and everything will probably fall into place for you.
"As far as international play, that's different because her role will be different. Even at UConn though you're a freshman and you're young, the oldest player is only three years older. You go on the international stage, like with me, 17 years is the difference. It's a much more physical game."
Team USA and Canada will play an exhibition game here Monday at 7 p.m. before heading overseas. The 2014 FIBA world championships are set for Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey, Sept. 27-Oct. 5.
After Sunday's scrimmage, Nurse made her way over to talk to another former UConn All-American guard -- Bria Hartley.
"It's really exciting to play against some of the players that I watched growing up," Nurse said. "Some of the things they do are just crazy to me now. But to think that one day I'll be able to do them ... It's just so much fun.
"I'm really lucky to have this opportunity. These are great players that will expose my weaknesses and show my strengths and you can't ask for anything better than that."
Nurse scored one basket in Sunday's scrimmage. UConn junior All-American Breanna Stewart had four points for Team USA.
The squads played four 10-minute quarters that were scored separately but over the 40 minutes the Americans outscored the Canadians 75-52.
"Anytime you play against us, it's difficult," Bird said. "You know what? If you took any one of the 17 players on our team and put them on Canada, I don't know if they would shine because they'd be playing against the USA. So it's difficult when you're a young kid on that team. But you can see things. I like her body, Kia's got a good basketball body."
Team USA coach Geno Auriemma was in a unique position of coaching against one of his players before he actually coached them. It also happened at the 1993 United States Olympic Festival when he coached the West and Nykesha Sales played for the East. Sales would sign a letter of intent with UConn that November.
"Kia's in kind of a difficult situation," Auriemma said. "There are a lot of veterans on their team and they're trying to incorporate a lot of youngsters. When you're 18 and playing with pros it's not the easiest thing in the world. She holds her own out there. She doesn't look intimidated. She doesn't look like she's overwhelmed. But this was only a scrimmage. We'll know more Monday night."
Nurse, a 6-foot guard from Hamilton, Ontario, made her debut for Team Canada at the 2011 FIBA U-16 Americas tournament and played in the 2012 FIBA U-17 world championships. She joined the senior national team in 2013 and averaged 10.0 points and 2.5 assists in 24.0 minutes as Team Canada qualified for the 2014 world championships with a top-three finish at the FIBA Americas tournament in Mexico.
Canada's 12-player roster for the world championships was announced Friday.
"They push me to my limits and I'm thankful for that," Nurse said. "It's a great program to be a part of and a great group of girls and coaches.
"It's been a crazy summer. We've been all over the place. I went to school for a week. I haven't been in one place for a long time but I'm playing as much basketball as I can and traveling the world doing something I love."
Her commitment to Team Canada means she is doing her UConn schoolwork from afar. She is taking four courses during the fall semester.
"I'm doing pretty well with it," Nurse said. "I keep up with my agenda each and every day. I know exactly what classes that I'm doing and which readings I'm doing that day. I've been good and keeping up. My academic advisor is in touch with me all the time, so that's helpful, too."
Some 5,000 tickets have been sold for Monday night's contest. Ironically, Nurse's first game in Connecticut will have her in Canada's road red uniform.
Her UConn teammates are expected to make the trip here to support Nurse and Stewart.
"I'm hoping that we'll get a couple of fans," Nurse said with a smile. "The girls are coming down to watch. But other than that I'll keep my red on for the day and when I get back to school it will be blue."
Four players cutFour players -- ex-UConn star Hartley of the Washington Mystics, 2014 WNBA Rookie of the Year Chiney Ogwumike of the Connecticut Sun, Briann January of the Indiana Fever, and Danielle Robinson of the San Antonio Stars -- were cut from Team USA camp Sunday night. That leaves a total of 20, the 13 that scrimmaged Sunday and the seven coming from the WNBA Finals, is the running for 12 spots on the USA roster.