FIBA - International Basketball Federation

09/23/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/23/2019 11:22

At 17, Aaliyah Edwards just wants more gold medals for Canada

SAN JUAN (Puerto Rico) - She is one of the youngest players of the tournament, and Canadian player Aaliyah Edwards is an essential part of the red and white squad that strives to ratify their FIBA Women's AmeriCup championship for the third time in a row.

This is a great moment for Edwards, who had already represented her country in youth tournaments, achieving a silver medal in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in 2017, a ninth place in the FIBA U17 World Cup in 2018, and a sixth place in the FIBA U19 World Cup in Thailand this year.

Now, in her first official appearance with the national senior women's team, the 6'3' small forward started powerfully, achieving 5 of 6 attempts at the rim, scoring 10 points. She also recovered four rebounds and gave three assists during 19 minutes of action in Canada's victory on Sunday against Mexico, 109-53, as part of Group A.

After three years in the national program, Edwards' goals are set on continuing to learn from a group of veterans that have been successful in the NCAA, WNBA and in professional leagues around the world. It's a process that includes learning both in and out of the court, something that Edwards acknowledges and thanks her teammates for.

'Just being around these players is incredible,' said Edwards to after the game. 'They've taken me under their wings and have lifted me up with them. I simply appreciate that and I'm learning a lot from more mature athletes in this team like Miranda, Kim and Miah. They're good leaders for me and I simply appreciate that if I don't understand something immediately, they're always there to lift me up and continue in the process with me instead of leaving me behind.'

Edwards reflects and says that her progress has been evident and that she always learns something new. Likewise, the 2020 graduation candidate stated that she is willing to do whatever is necessary for the good of the team, be it scoring, defending person-to-person or cheering her teammates from the bench.

'This is my third year. Watching the games from my first time (I can see that) the growth is there. Every time I'm with the Canada team I've learned something new and I've grown through it. I've gotten to know new people and just growing with my teammates is a great environment,' Edwards added.

The Olympic Dream is number one in the shooter's list of priorities, reiterating her patriotic pride and her wish of being a part of an outstanding national representation that portrays her as an example for the youth.

'With the national team I want to win more medals and eventually go to the Olympics,' said Edwards. 'Playing for my country and wearing 'Canada' across my chest means a lot to me and I want to be a role model for younger people.'

As if this were not enough, Edwards combines basketball with track and field, and catches everyone's eye in the triple-jump event at the Crestwood Preparatory College. With her achievements, the young player wants to project a message of perseverance and dedication for young women who, like her, dream about reaching their goals in sports.

'I want to send a message to girls younger than me that no matter your age, how big or small you are, you can make it if you put in the work and the effort,' Edwards concluded.

Emmanuel Márquez