Bloomington, Ind. - Indiana center Sarah McKay will compete for a spot on the Canadian Senior Women's National Team this summer. McKay will participate in an open tryout held in Richmond, British Columbia, on Tuesday, May 18, with the hopes of earning a spot on the National Team roster.
Should McKay make the roster, she would compete in a series of four exhibition games during the summer of 2004 before returning to the squad next summer for the 2005 FIBA Americas World Championships Qualifying Tournament. The site of that tournament is still to be determined.
A native of Victoria, British Columbia, McKay has prior experience with Canada Basketball, as she was one of only 22 players invited to participate at the 2002 Canada Basketball Developmental Mini-Camp. She competed for the Under-17 British Columbia Provincial Team in 2001 and 2002.
"I am very excited to get a chance to play for the Canadian National Team," McKay said. "It has been a dream of mine to do this for a long time, and I am honored to get this opportunity and look forward to the tryout."
Canada Basketball has already invited 14 athletes to the team's training camp, which will be held from May 20 through June 9 at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. Of the group of 14 players already invited, only 6-7 Margaret DeCiman is a true center. DeCiman currently plays at the Community College level in Saskatchewan. Officials from Canada Basketball plan to use the open tryouts to add more post players to the roster.
Should McKay make the final roster, she would become one of only three Hoosier women's basketball student-athletes ever to compete at the Senior National Team level. Linda Cunningham competed for the Canadian National Team in 1983 and 1984, and McKay's current teammate, Cyndi Valentin, will compete for the Puerto Rican National Team this coming summer. Coach Kathi Bennett served as an assistant coach for the United States at the 2003 Pan American Games played in the Dominican Republic and helped lead the team to a silver medal.
"We are very excited that Sarah is getting an opportunity like this," Bennett said. "She has come up through the ranks of Canada Basketball and is getting a chance to do something she has always wanted to do. We are very proud of her."
As a senior at Stelly's Secondary in British Columbia, McKay dominated the competition, averaging 37.8 points 26.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks per game during her team's run at the 2003 AAA Provincial Championships. She grabbed 28 and 30 rebounds, respectively in back-to-back games at the Provincial Championships her senior year and once blocked 25 shots in a single game as a junior.
The 6-7 McKay recently finished her freshman year at Indiana and made an instant impact in the post. Her 55 blocks in 2003-04 established a new single-season Indiana freshman record, surpassing the previous mark of 47, set by Shirley Bryant in 1991-92. She also established a new Indiana single-game freshman record by blocking seven shots against Michigan State on February 29. McKay also blocked six shots at Illinois on January 22.
Her 55 blocks stand as the fifth-highest single-season mark in school history among all players and make her only the third Hoosier ever to reach the 55-block mark, as she joins former WNBA players Jill Chapman and Quacy Barnes. She had a career day against Ball State, scoring 24 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking two shots against the Cardinals. Her 24 points were good for the sixth-best single-game mark ever for a Hoosier freshman, and her 16 boards were the fifth-highest mark ever for an Indiana freshman.
On the year, McKay averaged 5.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game. She was recognized as Indiana's Most Improved Player as voted by her teammates after she started the season by averaging 2.9 points per game over the first eight games, but averaged 7.0 points per game for the final 21 games.