A Kia Nurse profile, through the eyes of an eight-year-old girl

Mirabelle Megdal at a Los Angeles Sparks- New York Liberty pregame.
Mirabelle Megdal at a Los Angeles Sparks- New York Liberty pregame. /

A young student of the game reports on Kia Nurse’s rookie season with the New York Liberty.

My daughter and I celebrated Take Your Daughter to Work Day. We did so belatedly, because there were no games on the actual holiday, and the power of the day is lost when it means merely sitting next to Daddy while he watches game film.

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But a huge thank you to the Connecticut Sun, who gave Mirabelle her first media credential, and to Kia Nurse, Katie Smith and Mercedes Russell, who were so generous with their time Tuesday night in Connecticut.

It was a useful reminder of just how lucky I am to cover this league, getting to see my daughter go through the process herself, delight in the little moments, the proximity to remarkable athletes honing their craft. And we even got useful copy out of it!

The story below has been lightly edited, but the questions, ideas, structure and wording is all Mirabelle’s. I hope you enjoy it.

By Mirabelle Megdal

The biggest change in Kia Nurse’s life is not going to school.

“I love the extra free time so I can watch Netflix and hang out and do some more reading and explore the city a little bit,” Nurse told High Post Hoops Tuesday night, before scoring a game-high 19 points in an 81-75 win for her New York Liberty over the Los Angeles Sparks.

When I talked to her, I discovered Kia Nurse is just a regular person, but she’s an amazing basketball player, something her coach, Katie Smith, already sees, too.

Mirabelle Megdal and Katie Smith watch Kia Nurse shoot. (Howard Megdal photo)
Mirabelle Megdal and Katie Smith watch Kia Nurse shoot. (Howard Megdal photo) /

“She can shoot it,” Smith said. “A really good shooter, and with range. She can handle the point guard position, very comfortable running your team. Great handle, and just has a lot of energy. She can run, she puts pressure on the basketball, she is very, very fast. And when she gets out in transition, she puts pressure on the other team.”

This is what I saw on Tuesday night: Nurse steals the ball very well. Nurse is a very good three-point shooter. She has a quick release.

Late in the fourth quarter, everyone was passing the ball around and Nurse got it and scored. Then Nurse stole the ball and went through the crowd of defenders and scored again!

This is no surprise since Nurse herself said she is at her best in transition.

“I like that I’m able to play more than one position at the guard spot,” Nurse said. “I can move from the 1 spot to the 2 spot and if necessary I can play the 3, but I like to run the floor. That’s when I’m most dangerous.”

Beyond her basketball skills, Nurse is both motivated and kind.

“We go through running drills at practice and she takes a lot of pride in being first,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to seeing she and Bria Hartley compete because Bria said she has never lost and Kia is the same way. She is a tough kid and she competes every day.”

Even though she wants to win, it doesn’t stop her from being friendly to a another basketball player on the Liberty, her roommate, Mercedes Russell.

“Oh, she’s awesome,” Russell told High Post Hoops following Tuesday night’s game. “I didn’t really know her very well before coming here. I had played against her in international ball. I knew coming in she was a rookie, just like me, experiencing the same stuff. We live together so we do a lot of things together—we go to practice together, we go shopping, get stuff for the house like groceries. We go eat together, little things like that.”

Even though they are both trying for one of just 12 roster spots, Russell said she knows “off the court we’ll still be friends no matter what.”

For Nurse, who said getting drafted by the Liberty was “a dream come true”, this seems like the start of being an amazing basketball player forever. She wants to “learn as much as I can from the vets and the people who have been here before me and play what ever role they need me to” this year, but she is thinking bigger for her career.

Mirabelle Megdal and Kia Nurse. (Howard Megdal photo)
Mirabelle Megdal and Kia Nurse. (Howard Megdal photo) /

“I want to leave a legacy for young women that come behind me to bring a lot of luck to this sport, especially Canadian women who can do what ever they want,” Nurse said.

Tuesday night, she seemed like she was on her way.