Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Murphy, Tatham and Thorburn Retire from National Women's Basketball Team

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Murphy, Tatham and Thorburn Retire from National Women's Basketball Team

Article excerpt

Three veterans retire from basketball team

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TORONTO - The "Happy Anniversary" messages have poured in every July 1 since 2012. On Canada Day that year, Shona Thorburn, Lizanne Murphy and Tamara Tatham helped the national women's basketball team clinch the last available berth for the London Olympics.

The trio of two-time Olympians announced their retirement from the Canadian team Tuesday -- and recalled that day, in particular, as one they'll never forget.

"We call it our anniversary," Murphy said. "What was so special about that was since we made the senior team from an open tryout (in 2007), we thought about the London Olympics every single day for five years. It just meant so much to get there."

"You'll get these messages: 'Hey guys! Best day of our lives!'" added Thorburn. "Because we didn't take the easy route to get anywhere. I'll never forget those girls and what we accomplished. Without that 2012 summer, and what we were able to accomplish, we wouldn't have made it to Rio either, in my opinion. Because that was when we realized our potential and at what level we could play at."

Thorburn, a 34-year-old from Hamilton, represented Canada from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2011 to 2016, playing 132 games in total with 107 on the senior team. Murphy, a 33-year-old from Beaconsfield, Que., and the 31-year-old Tatham, from Brampton, Ont., both joined the team in 2005, and have been close friends ever since. Murphy went on to play 145 games while Tatham played 157.

The trio helped Canada qualify for back-to-back Olympics in 2012 and 2016 and win gold medals at the 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 FIBA Americas tournament.

The Canadian women's team saw a resurgence over the past decade, and the three veterans were a big part of it. They stuck it out through the program's lean years, when "Canada Basketball had no money and we were sharing dorm rooms, and Teresa Gabriele and Kim (Gaucher's) parents were baking food for us," Murphy laughed.

"We look back at those days, those were some of my fondest memories of the national team," she said. …

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