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Canada Basketball – TORONTO, ONT. (May 23, 2019) – Individually, they’ve put up some rather lofty numbers.  Combined, the totals exceed those of nearly any surname you’ll find in the Canada Basketball player database:

17 years.  Nearly 200 games.  Well over 1,000 points.

Katherine and Michelle Plouffe are the sum of their parts; separated in age by mere minutes, distinctive to the untrained eye by only the digits on their red and white jerseys.

You could measure the twins’ greatness in stats, though none are greater than the memories.  For those are countless.

The Edmonton sisters are retiring from competition with the Senior Women’s National Team, after being at the heart of an evolutionary era for Canadian basketball; Michelle was on the Senior Women’s National Team in 2012 when it qualified for the London 2012 Summer Olympics for the first time in a dozen years and was joined by Katherine for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.

“It has been an absolute blessing to share my time on Team Canada with Katherine,” said Michelle. “I know it was hard for her to watch me in London, but to see her growth and her journey has been inspiring.  For me to get to play in the Rio Olympics with my best friend was an absolute dream.”

“It’s been so special to share my experiences with Michelle,” Katherine said. “She’s been a role model for me in her work ethic and her toughness and I am just her biggest fan. Playing together and traveling the world with Team Canada have been some great, great memories for me.”

The Canada Basketball journey started a decade ago for Michelle, at the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Thailand. Katherine made her international debut the next year at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women, in what was the first of numerous events the sisters would suit up alongside one another in their country’s colours, including the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women and 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.

“Michelle and Katherine are two of the most impressive individuals I’ve had the privilege of coaching,” said Lisa Thomaidis, Head Coach, Senior Women’s National Team.  “Twin sisters competing at the pinnacle of their sport as teammates, is something that is truly amazing.  The combination of their skill, athleticism, length and most importantly, character has been a recipe for success in all aspects of their lives.”  

“Both Michelle and Katherine have left their mark on our team by showing all who have been in contact with them, that being ultra-competitive and amazing teammates are not mutually exclusive,” Thomaidis said.  “Our team values having high-character people on our team, and Michelle and Katherine are terrific examples of that.”

Together, the Plouffe sisters were pivotal in gold medal victories for Team Canada at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, the 2015 FIBA Americas Women’s Championship and the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup. The 2015 Americas triumph was particularly special, as it came in the Plouffes’ hometown of Edmonton and punched Canada’s ticket to the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.

Michelle, who also competed at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018, has logged 110 games for Team Canada, including 85 appearances for the Senior Women’s National Team.

“Michelle has been such a huge part of Team Canada her entire career playing for our country,” Katherine said. “Her leadership is so valuable. Her work ethic is unwavering. Every practice she plays to win. Every drill, every play, no reps off.”

Katherine’s international career spans 85 games for the national team, with 64 games coming at the senior level.

“Katherine is so consistent, a great leader, a great teammate, and a hard worker,” Michelle said. “She is everything you could ask from a player and person. I am so proud of her for a lot of reasons – like how she has written her own story in her basketball career and how her unshakeable faith has been woven into her journey. She stands firm in who she is and she is unmistakably set apart on any team she is a part of.”

The twins are now turning their attention to 3×3 basketball, which will be making its Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games. As they navigate their future in the world of hoops, the past will never be far from mind.

“Basketball as a sport has been so instrumental in helping me grow as a person,” Katherine said. “Every book on growth and character development, growing in faith, and mental focus has been rendered useful because I’ve had the opportunity to act on it in team settings, especially working with people and learning how to communicate effectively. The coaches I’ve had since I started playing have taught me the most valuable lessons in these areas.”

“Basketball has given me, and continues to give me, so many opportunities to learn and grow,” Michelle said. “I have been able to travel around the world and meet people from all walks of life. This has allowed me to see the world through a different lens, one of human experience and interaction. Navigating and living in different countries and playing with so many different teammates has given me valuable life experiences that I don’t intend to waste. I was able to learn from some of the best players to ever represent our country in my time with the national team, and I am so grateful for their leadership, friendship, and who they are as people.”

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For more information or arrange interviews, contact:
Matt Walker, mwalker@basketball.ca