Kia Nurse is back to her usual busy self.
The University of Connecticut women's basketball team's senior guard was named Friday to the Canadian national team that will participate in the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug. 6-13. 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 Huskies' 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. The national team camp in Edmonton opened last Monday.
"I'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," Nurse said in late June. "Mentally I think it'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."
Nurse has spent her last four summers with Canada'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 Huskies' national championship run.
"You only get away from the game for about a week or so and it isn't that big of a step, but it is a bigger step than I usually get," Nurse said. "Then 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."
Part of her break was spent at her family's home in Hamilton, Ontario. But she also traveled to Edmonton to watch her brother, Darnell, take part in his first Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers eliminated the San Jose Sharks in the first round. Nurse took in Game 6 of Edmonton's second-round matchup with the Anaheim Ducks on May 7. The Oilers scored five unanswered goals in the first period en route to a 7-1 win to forge a deciding seventh game.
"The playoffs were so much fun," Nurse said. "Game 6 was really fun. To see him in that setting with them going farther than the first round, that was fun."
But like the Huskies, the Oilers had a tough ending as Nick Ritchie's goal 3:21 into the third period gave Anaheim a 2-1 win.
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 UConn's NCAA tournament second-round win over Syracuse, she made nine 3-pointers to tie the NCAA record of Purdue's Courtney Moses.
But the Huskies' four-year reign as national champion and their record 111-game winning streak ended in Dallas when Mississippi State's Morgan William sank a jumper at the overtime buzzer to lift the Bulldogs to a 66-64 victory.
"I definitely think that it's motivation, and I'm not sure that you ever do stop talking about it," Nurse said. "It will sting for a really long time, but at the same if you know how to use that it can be a fuel for your workouts, a fuel for us to become better individually, a fuel for us to be better as a team. It makes us pick on things that we might not have picked on last year to make sure we are set and ready to go. I think that is important for us. It's something we had to take away from that."
Team Canada -- which is ranked second in the Americas and sixth in the world by FIBA -- will wrap up training camp in Edmonton on Tuesday, then head to Argentina and train there for three days. The Canadians face Cuba on Aug. 6, Puerto Rico on Aug. 7, Mexico on Aug. 8, and Paraguay on Aug. 10 in pool play. The semifinals are Aug. 12 with the gold-medal game Aug. 13.
The United States is not taking part in the tournament having clinched its spot in the 2018 FIBA World by winning the gold medal at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro a year ago.
USA MOVES INTO U-19 SEMIFINALS
Team USA overcame a slow start Friday to advance to the FIBA U-19 World Cup semifinals. Texas A&M freshman Chennedy Carter scored 18 points in a 78-51 win over France in Udine, Italy.
The Americans will face Japan on Saturday. The USA-Japan winner will take on either Canada or Russia for the gold medal on Sunday.
UConn sophomore guard Crystal Dangerfield had seven points and two rebounds in 23 minutes for Team USA while Huskies' freshman Megan Walker had three points and four rebounds in 17 minutes. UConn Class of 2018 recruiting target Christyn Williams did not score in four minutes.
Team USA erased a seven-point deficit with a 12-2 run to take a 21-18 lead. The Americans scored the final six points of the second quarter to go up 30-22 at halftime. Ahead 40-35, Carter had seven points and University of Texas sophomore Alecia Sutton five in a 14-1 spurt that pushed the advantage to 18. It was 55-40 after three quarters and France got no closer.
University of Texas sophomore Joyner Holmes added 14 points while South Carolina sophomore Tyasha Harris chipped in 12 points and six assists. Princeton sophomore Bella Alarie was the fifth American in double figures with 11 points.
In other action Friday, Japan routed Spain 95-71, Canada topped China 68-65, and Russia edged Australia 67-65. All four semifinalists topped their respective group in pool play.