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Canada Basketball – TORONTO, ONT. (May 23, 2019) – As Canada Basketball’s Senior Women’s National Team prepares to chase a third consecutive FIBA Women’s AmeriCup title this fall, it can look to the past to chart its future success.

After a decade of proudly wearing her country’s colours, Team Canada guard Nirra Fields is retiring from international competition, leaving valuable lessons that her successors can follow.

“I hope the example that I’ve set with the Senior Women’s National Team is having a mindset of growth and doing the little things that create incremental improvement,” said Fields, a veteran of 102 international games, including 76 with the Senior Women’s National Team.

“My first year trying out for the team I got cut and I didn’t want to go back.  I came back the next year made the team. However, I didn’t get a lot of minutes.  I went from sitting the bench to being MVP of FIBA Americas and helping the team win gold,” continues Fields, who was named Most Valuable Player after leading Canada to a championship victory over host Argentina at the 2017 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup.

“The message that I want to share to those who follow in my footsteps is you get revered in the light for the things you do in the dark. Working overtime off the court and the constant thirst for improvement has always been something that helped me be successful on the court and in life,” Fields said.

Hailing out of Lachine, Quebec, Fields experienced it all playing for Canada, from exhibition contests in China to Olympic qualifiers at Edmonton’s Saville Community Sports Centre. Her tenure with the Senior Women’s National Team included trips to the FIBA World Championship for Women 2014, Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, and the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018.

“Ever since Nirra burst on the international scene with our U16 team, we knew that she was going to be something special,” said Lisa Thomaidis, Head Coach, Senior Women’s National Team.  “On the court, her talent is undeniable, but what I’m most proud of Nirra for is her work ethic, the time and effort she put into her game, as well as into her personal growth.”

“Nirra’s stoic demeanour covered up a fierce competitor who was driven to be the best she could be,” Thomaidis said.  “I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know Nirra and coach her these last five years.  I know that great things lie ahead for Nirra, and I can’t wait to see her write her next chapter.”

Fields made her international debut in 2009, as a member of the inaugural Canadian U16 Women’s National Team that won silver at the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Women in Mexico City, where her 14.2 points per game average ranked third in the tournament.

“My first time playing for Canada I remember just being really excited to travel and play basketball at a high level,” Fields said. “I later realized how much of an honour and privilege it is to represent Canada.”

The five-foot-seven dynamo’s favourite national team memory came during the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, where Canada won gold by defeating the United States in a unforgettable gold medal final before a positively electric standing-room-only crowd at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

“Being able to share that experience with my teammates and have my family there to enjoy it with me was the best,” Fields said.

This summer will be 10 years since a 15-year-old Fields first tugged on her Team Canada jersey. Now feels like the time, she says, to move on to her next chapter.

“I have a very curious mind and I’m always looking for ways to improve, grow and learn,” said Fields, a graduate of UCLA. “I knew it was time to move on and see what else I have that same intense curiosity for outside of basketball.”

No doubt Fields will have that same intense curiosity as she watches the athletes, she mentored on Team Canada continue to evolve, just as she did.

“I am most proud of the overall growth that I have made on and off the court,” said Fields. “The simple skill of being persistent when things don’t go as planned has been the greatest accomplishment for me.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Matt Walker, mwalker@basketball.ca