KELCEY WRIGHT JOHNSON
Published August 28, 2017 - 8:22pm
Last Updated August 29, 2017 - 9:50am
After being the last cut from the cadette national basketball team more than five years ago, Cape Breton's Alison Keough kept working and earned a spot on the development team this summer.
Keough, along with 11 other players, represented Canada at the World University Games in Taipei, which ended on Monday for the basketball team.
"When I first got told that I made the team, I was fighting back tears I was so happy," said Keough. "Finally getting to wear the jersey, it was a proud moment — definitely the proudest of my career."
Keough averaged 19.3 points per game last season, her fourth with Cape Breton University, and was the only Atlantic University Sports player to make the Canadian squad.
"I'm really proud to be representing the AUS," she said. "The AUS gets overlooked a lot, so I'm happy to be here. I feel privileged and humbled."
Keough's Canadian team played six games at the summer Universiade — winning three and losing three. Keough scored two points as Canada beat the Czech Republic 84-68 on Monday to finish in seventh place.
The Marion Bridge native had a tournament-high 11 points during a 79-42 victory over the Republic of Korea on Aug. 22. She also scored 10 points in the game against Taipei, in the sold-out Taipei Arena.
"She's had ups and downs like everybody in their first international experience," said Fabian McKenzie, the head coach for Team Canada's development team as well as the Cape Breton Capers women's basketball team.
"She had some really good games where she scored well and defended well. It's great to show that someone from the AUS can make the squad and play well internationally."
Keough averaged 4.6 points throughout the Universiade.
"The atmosphere has been really insane, my experience has been unreal," she said. "I definitely have a bigger role on my university team back home, but here whether I play no time or got 20 minutes, I was just trying to stay positive and stay in the game all the time."
Her coach took note of that and is excited to see what she will bring back to her Capers team this season.
"She really had to adapt here to the different speeds and the physicality," he said. "She'll be able to bring that back and hopefully help her teammates with how to adjust to playing a little more efficiently and physically. Hopefully, this experience will help her grow."
And after her first summer playing for Team Canada, her advice for other AUS female basketball players is simple: "There's no shame in trying out. Just go out, do your best and good things can come out of it."