Monday, June 24, 2024

Aaliyah Edwards of Kingston, Ont. set to play in NCAA Final Four

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As the spotlight shines on the NCAA women’s basketball tournament’s Final Four Friday night, Aaliyah Edwards of Kingston, Ont. will be one of the star players on the basketball court.

Edwards and the University of Connecticut Huskies face the Iowa Hawkeyes in the women’s basketball tournament semi-finals in Cleveland. Game time is 9 p.m. on TSN.

“I’m just grateful for the platform that I’ve been given playing at an elite school like UConn,” Edwards told reporters on Thursday. “It’s opened doors for me and opportunities for me, but also opportunities for, you know, those upcoming in Canada.

“Showing Canadians that not only can we be dominant just within in Canada, but coming across the border and seeing how special….you can get a lot more opportunities in the NCAA.”

The 21-year-old Edwards is in her fourth season at UConn, and this is her third trip to the NCAA’s Final Four.

“It’s been a big dream for me. Not only just how much I have achieved here at UConn but also just making that step to go across the border,” Edwards told Canadian media Thursday night.

“It is not an easy decision to make to leave your family and to leave what you call home to come into a new environment and a new challenge. At the same time, it opened up a lot of opportunities for me.”

“UConn opened a lot of doors for me.”

She is averaging 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in 36 games for the UConn Huskies this season.

Edwards has already announced she will enter the WNBA draft on April 15.  The ESPN mock draft has Edwards being selected with the fifth pick in the first round.

Edwards says she decided to announce her plans to turn pro this spring.

“I was just ready to tell the world,” Edwards said.

“I had a conversation with (coach Geno Auriemma) about my decision and how I want to go about it, and also talked with my family and I think it was the right decision for me to make. I was just ready to let the news be known.”

Edwards played for Canada at the Tokyo Olympics, and is expected to join Canada at this summer’s games in Paris.

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