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Team Canada Women's 3×3 Pushes Toward Paris While Prioritizing Passion – Team Canada

Team Canada Women's 3×3 Pushes Toward Paris While Prioritizing Passion – Team Canada

International Basketball Federation

When Team Canada's women's 3×3 basketball team played in the first FIBA ​​3×3 World Cup in 2022, they captured a silver medal. Seeking insight into their performance, they asked their interim coach for her thoughts.

“Run faster, shoot better,” was the response. Kind of harsh, but it picks up almost everything.

Oh, this interim coach? Well, that was player Paige Crozon's three-year-old daughter, Poppy, who had the hot post-tournament shot.

“I took this job very seriously,” laughs her colleague, Catherine Plouffe.

Canada's women's 3×3 team — made up of twins Katherine and Michelle Plouffe and Crozon and Casey Bush — have been writing themselves into the history books since forming as a team in 2019. The Canadian women were dominant in the FIBA ​​women's tournament. 3×3 series since its inauguration in 2019. Their winning percentage and status as vanguards of Canadian 3×3 basketball draws them frequent comparisons to the legendary Edmonton Grads, which is a special compliment, especially for the Plouffes, who are from Edmonton.

“I would say it's an honour,” Catherine says. “It's a great series to continue to look at what's been done before.” [in women’s basketball]. Look at what's happening now. What could happen in the future?

But the road has not been easy for Team Canada. When we spoke with them in August 2023, they discussed their disappointment about not getting the chance to take to the court in the 3×3 team's first Olympic appearance at Tokyo 2020. But confident in their philosophies – both personal and basketball – they pushed forward.

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Read: Canadian women's 3×3 basketball team, humility and the road to Paris 2024

  • Pictured are Michelle Plouffe, Katherine Plouffe, Paige Crozon and Casey Bush after winning the FIBA ​​Women's 3X3 Series title on September 17, 2023.

They won back-to-back FIBA ​​Women's 3×3 Series titles in 2022 and 2023, cementing their reputation not only as a skilled team, but also as an example of leadership in women's sports. Their team culture is rooted in friendship, respect, support and fun.

The team was formed before Canada had an official 3×3 development program, with players initially funding their own tournament trips. Crozon leaned on her teammates for support as she adjusted to life as a single mother and elite athlete while the team made its first Olympic push. That's a culture not every team can claim, and the women of Team Canada know it's made them a stronger unit.

Nowadays, five-year-old Poppy still steps in for guidance every now and then, but the team has also added a three-time Olympian. Kim Gosher joins the roster of coaches to provide the experience Bobbi still lacks at this stage of her career.

Pressure for Paris

Winning the 2023 FIBA ​​Women's 3×3 Championship gave Team Canada an extra boost of confidence heading into the Olympic year. After an intense winter of training, the team opened its season in late April in Springfield, Massachusetts with another win, defeating Team USA in the tournament's gold medal game.

READ: Team Canada wins first stage of 2024 FIBA ​​3×3 Women's Championship

After that, it's a full press forward to FIBA 3×3 World Olympic Qualifying Championship It will be held from May 3 to 5 in Utsunomiya, Japan. One team from each gender will qualify for the Games. The remaining three seats for each gender will be up for grabs in Debrecen, Hungary from May 16-19. Countries already qualified for Paris 2024 in the women's 3×3 event include China, France, Azerbaijan and the USA.

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It's a high-pressure spring schedule, but Team Canada plans to approach it with the same attitude that has brought them success so far.

“I think the really important thing for me is to find a state of mind that I can play in where I can be happy and free and have fun, because that's also when I play my best,” says Crozon. “So I have to find the right balance between focus, intensity and intentionality, while also remaining loose and loving the game,” he added.

Catherine Plouffe agrees. “It's just a game. So you have to take that pressure off to be free, play with joy, support each other and live in the moment. You just have to know that if you give it your all, the result will be the result. And that gives me a lot of clarity and peace while playing, because All I need to control is what I do on the field.

Michelle and Katherine finished the 2023 series among the top three players in the entire league, with Michelle being named Finals MVP, so there's definitely something in that perspective. The whole team proves that you can have fun and see your names all over the top stats page.

No matter what, the women of Team Canada have the kindergarten wisdom you can rely on.

After matches, Crozon says, Poppy would sometimes ask, “Mom, did you win?”

“So I'll ask her: Have you been watching?” And you'll say, 'No, but I was cheering!'” Crozon explains. “So, it's like the score doesn't really matter, but the fact that we're playing and doing what we love is all you really care about.”

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