TAMPA, Fla. -- Kia Nurse is looking forward to a break.
A break? The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's freshman guard deserves a lengthy vacation and not just a break.
With the Huskies' third straight and 10th overall national championship secure thanks to a 63-53 win over Notre Dame Tuesday night at Amalie Arena, there is some time off in Nurse's future.
"Break is a nice word right now," Nurse said with a smile. "It's been a long year."
Nurse has been playing non-stop for almost a full calendar year, starting with the Canadian national team and then coming to Storrs after helping Team Canada to a fifth-place finish in the 2014 FIBA world championships.
In 39 games at UConn, the native of Hamilton, Ontario, totaled 976 minutes of action.
After coming off the bench the first two games she joined the starting lineup for the Nov. 23 contest with Creighton and the only time she left was to make room for Kiah Stokes on Senior Day. UConn won every game she started.
Nurse was the MVP of the Gulf Coast Showcase early in the season and while she had her ups and downs on the offensive end she could always be counted on to do good work on the defensive end. She became the eighth UConn freshman and the first since Bria Hartley four years earlier to average in double figures scoring and register 100 assists.
Her final numbers were 10.2 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting from the floor, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game.
She had nine points Tuesday night. Five came in a 7-0 run early in the second half that gave the Huskies a 12-point lead. Then when Notre Dame got back within five, she nailed a 3-pointer with 7:08 left to keep the Irish at arm's length.
"It's an emotion that's hard to put into words but it's definitely an incredible feeling," Nurse said of her first title.
"There was a point in the season that I was inconsistent," she added. "I don't know if I was physically tired or more mentally tired. It's a matter of getting through it. Right now? I'm ready for my break."
But while she is going to get a break, it won't be a long one.
Nurse will rejoin Team Canada for a training camp in May and take part in a European tour that stretches into June. From July 16-20, she'll play in the Pan-American Games in Toronto. Then she'll participate in the FIBA Americas tournament Aug. 9-16 (a 2016 Olympic qualifier) in Edmonton.
"If you've ever traveled with the national team, it's amazing when you don't have to go anywhere," Nurse said. "Our older players have told me all of the terrible stories of the places that they have gone. They are beyond excited we're at home and I can only feed off that energy."
She'll head back to Canada a better player than when she left.
"Every day here I got to learn something new from someone," Nurse said. "I can be aggressive and I can be confident in my game and that's when I play my best."