The New York Liberty will benefit next season from Kia Nurse playing in Australia.
Kia Nurse has been on a tear since she set foot in Australia. She has taken the Canberra Capitals from a good team to a contender for this year’s title. She has averaged 16.5 points. 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Her scoring number has her sitting in sixth in points per game.
However, it is not just the numbers that Nurse is producing which are helping her team, it is when she is doing it which is so important for the development of this budding superstar. Nurse is transferring her skill set from college, where she made the right call on the right shot or the right play most of the time.
This season, Nurse has hit the game winning shot against another contender the Melbourne Boomers. The game was like a heavyweight boxing match. Both the Capitals and Boomers played fast, almost flawless basketball for three quarters.
In the final quarter, the players were playing like they were punch drunk, it was an ugly quarter of basketball where the ball seemed to be turned over more often than it was not. However, on the final play, there was no doubt who was going to take the shot.
The ball did not look like leaving Nurse’s hands and despite swarming defense, the fade away shot that Nurse took had not business going in. However, go in it did and the Capitals won.
Nurse is also aware of what is required for her team to have the best shot at the championship. At this point of the season, that involves eliminating teams from playoff contention who may be a threat. With four rounds left the Canberra Capitals took on last seasons champions the Townsville Fire.
The Fire were weakened with the continued loss of one of Australia’s best players, Suzy Batkovic, being out again through a neck injury. As they say, you can only play the people on the court and the Capitals won 104-75 which all but eliminates the Fire from the playoffs.
Nurse was on fire, she scored 33 points on 13-24 shooting. She shot 7-of-13 from deep which is an insane 53 percent. Nurse also had four rebounds, three assists and a steal. She only committed one foul and did not turn the ball over. It is this kind of play which will hopefully translate to on the court success for the Liberty next season.
It is not just the numbers and the leadership development which is going to pay dividends. It is also the personnel she is playing with. The Capitals roster has WNBA player Leilani Mitchell, as well as ex-WNBA players and seasoned professionals in Mariana Tolo and Kelsey Griffin. Tolo, who has also had successful stints in Europe is showing the professionalism required to succeed, but also how to care for her body during her rehabilitation from injury.
Griffin is showing how to play with every ounce of her ability and how she prepares for each and every minute of every game. Griffin is leading the league in three or four categories and plays so hard night in and night out. Couple this with the professionalism Nurse has learnt from Tina Charles and this extremely intelligent ball player who thirsts for knowledge will apply this to herself for the betterment of her game.