TORONTO - Canada Basketball has been celebrating the accomplishments of three of its most decorated female athletes after Lizanne Murphy, Tamara Tatham and Shona Thorburn all announced their respective retirement from national team duties.
The departure of the trio will leave quite a void, since collectively, they amassed 36 years of service and stepped out in nearly 450 games for their country - including back-to-back Olympic appearances.
"Playing for Canada has been my greatest pride and joy of my life," reflected Murphy, who started back in 2005 and played 145 games in total. "Our team is so special in that we are so competitive with one another, yet such a close knit group. Some of my best friends in life, or 'sistas' as I like to call them, are my current and former teammates.
"I’m grateful for the lessons I've learned both on and off the court over the 12 years that I have competed for Canada. But mostly I am so grateful that I've been able to live out my wildest dreams of going to not one, but two Olympics, traveled the globe, and competed at the highest level in my sport."
Tatham, who started in the same year as Murphy and went on to play in 157 games for her country, stated: "The national team means honour and pride as not everyone gets to represent their country on the highest stage at the highest level. When you focus on being outside of your comfort zone, only then are you in a position to change and maximize your potential. For me, that's a blessing and a dream come true."
Meanwhile, Thorburn started almost two decades ago and represented Canada between 1998 and 2003 as well as between 2011-2016 - playing 132 games in total.
Playing for Canada has been the highlight of my basketball career; there are no words to describe the feeling of running out onto the court after Canada has been called," mused the guard. "The friendships, memories, experiences are something that I will carry with me the rest of my life."
There was high praise for the retirees from Michele O'Keefe, President and CEO of Canada Basketball who stated: "Lizanne, Tamara and Shona are shining examples of how passion, dedication and commitment can take you to the highest levels. We're grateful for their contributions to the basketball community on and off the court; and for inspiring future generations of female athletes to dream big and play hard."
Canada will look to turn the page in the wake of their experienced trip departing when they compete in the FIBA Women's AmeriCup 2017 in Argentina later this year.
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photo Anton Vos
By Ian Chadband
By Alex Sharp