Canadian Women’s Basketball Team: A Summer of Silver

The Canadian Women’s Basketball Team is currently undergoing intensive training to prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics. After completing their training camp, FIBAmerica World Cup, and Global Jam, the team has made a significant impression on the national stage, winning medals at major events.

The tip-off to a monumental summer took place in Victoria for the Rim2Rim exhibitions against 2020 Silver Medalists Japan. Victoria welcomed the team for the first time in over twenty years, marking the provincial return of Langleyโ€™s Aislinn Konig.

Konig’s exceptional basketball skills gained her much-deserved recognition during her high school years at Brookswood Secondary. Her commitment to North Carolina State University was a clear indication of her continued excellence, culminating in her winning the ACC Championship and tournament MVP during her senior year. Currently, Konig is showcasing her talent in Spain’s premier women’s league for Hozono Global Jairis. Her remarkable success is the result of her unwavering hard work and dedication, instilled in her by her family from a young age.

According to Konig, basketball runs in her blood. “Basketball, it’s in my blood, from my grandfather, I watched him play in the Masters League, and travel worldwide. My parents played at university, my mother’s siblings played, and my sister still plays at Montana University. And then somebody told me, you know, that can be a job. I thought that was cool. And it has been a goal since the beginning.”

Konig attributes her exposure to the game at a high level and her family’s involvement to shaping her game into what it is today. She mentioned, “I think the family as a whole, I grew up watching every single one of them play at all different levels. And then my dad was a coach at UFV back when they were winning all their championships. I was running around with the team. So a lot of young Canadian university athletes had a big influence on me that they probably have no idea about.”

Despite the undeniable growth and support for talented female athletes, the climate and discourse around women in sports have become increasingly toxic. However, some fantastic advocates are doing an incredible job of bringing women to the forefront.

 Konig mentioned, “It’s not easy. I mean, it’s super, super rewarding. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sometimes we do get caught up in the negative of it all. But the support is different, the energy behind it is different. It’s changing, which is exciting. But it is different. There are big differences in the way we’re treated and it’s easy to let those things stop and distract you. but we have some very fantastic advocates who are doing an incredible job of bringing women to the forefront. But most of all, I think we need to focus on the big steps that have happened.”

Konig advises young women in sports to focus on their journey and not compare themselves to others. She said, “Everybody’s journey is so different, and it’s too easy to compare yourself to the people who’ve come before you all the setbacks, all of the successes have been different. The best advice I have for people is to put your head down, work, and be patient, and the rewards will come. They always do.”

The recent Rim2Rim exhibitions in Victoria served as a callback to the Pacific Rim rivalry between Canada and Japan, with Japan emerging victorious in the first game with a score of 80-60. The remaining two games were played behind closed doors. Before the game, Konig would stress the importance of the exhibition for Team Canada. “It’s an exhibition, which lightens the expectations a little bit and makes it a little bit more fun, or less stressful, but we’re still approaching it like It’s a major preparation for the Olympics in 2024.”

The approach proved to be crucial as the team seamlessly gelled together during the FIBAmerica World Cup, ultimately winning their first medal of the summer. They managed to clinch a bronze medal after a tough match against Puerto Rico.

The 2023 summer basketball season held great importance for Aislinn, both on a personal level and for Canada as a whole. She recognized the significance of the season for her country but also has a deep personal connection to it. “Basketball has taken me very far from home. I haven’t had a chance to be back in B.C. for much longer than 24 hours in the last seven years. So to come back and see the people that I’ve been missing, that have supported me to get to this point, it’s huge.”

Konig Attempts Three-Point Jumper (@CanBball/Instagram)

The Canadian Women’s team showed great determination and strength at the Global Jam, earning a well-deserved medal for their impressive efforts. Their unwavering spirit and hard work paid off as they faced tough competition against the United States, ultimately taking home a shining silver medal.

Looking ahead, we are reminded of the hard work and dedication required to reach the Olympics. Aislinn Konig and the Canadian Women’s Basketball Team embody the resilience and perseverance necessary to achieve such a remarkable feat.

Tejpaul Garcha

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