Four women basketball players in white uniforms give a number 1 sign to the cameraFIBA

Team Canada’s women’s 3×3 team makes push for Paris while prioritizing passion

When Team Canada’s women’s 3×3 basketball team played in their first FIBA 3×3 World Cup in 2022, they took the silver medal. Seeking insight on their performance, they asked their temporary coach for her thoughts.

“Run faster, shoot better,” was the response. Kind of harsh, but it does capture just about everything.

Oh, that temporary coach? Well, that was player Paige Crozon’s then-three-year-old daughter, Poppy, with the hot take post-tournament.

“She took that job very seriously,” laughs teammate Katherine Plouffe.

Team Canada’s women’s 3×3 team – comprised of twins Katherine and Michelle Plouffe, Crozon, and Kacie Bosch – have been writing themselves into the history books since forming as a team in 2019. The Canadian women have been dominant in the FIBA Women’s 3×3 Series since its inauguration in 2019. Their win percentage and status as vanguards in Canadian 3×3 basketball draws them frequent comparisons with the legendary Edmonton Grads, a special compliment, especially for the Plouffes, who are from Edmonton.

“I’d say it’s an honour,” Katherine says. “It’s a cool line of continuation to go ‘look what’s been done before [in women’s basketball]. Look at what’s happening now. What else can happen in the future?’”

But it hasn’t been an easy path for Team Canada. When we chatted with them in August 2023, they discussed their disappointment about not having the opportunity to take to the court in 3×3’s Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. But with confidence in their philosophies – both personal and basketball – they have forged on.  

READ: Canadian women’s 3×3 team on basketball, humility, and the pathway to Paris 2024

  • Pictured is Michelle Plouffe, Katherine Plouffe, Paige Crozon and Kacie Bosch after winning the FIBA 3X3 Women's Series Title on September 17, 2023.

They won back-to-back FIBA Women’s 3×3 Series titles in 2022 and 2023, further cementing their reputation as not just a skilled team, but also as an example of leadership in women’s sport. Their team culture is one rooted in friendship, respect, support, and fun. 

The team was formed before Canada had a formal 3×3 development program in place, with the players initially funding their own tournament travel. Crozon relied on her teammates for support as she adapted to life as a single mom and elite athlete while the team made its first Olympic push. That’s a culture that not every team can claim, and the Team Canada women know it has made them a stronger unit.

Nowadays, five-year-old Poppy still hops in with her guidance every so often, but the team has also added three-time Olympian Kim Gaucher to the coaching roster, to provide the experience that Poppy still lacks at this point in her career.

Pushing for Paris

The 2023 FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series win gave Team Canada an extra boost of confidence heading into the Olympic year. After a focused winter of training, the team opened their season in late April in Springfield, Massachusetts with another win, defeating Team USA in the gold medal match of the tournament.

READ: Team Canada wins first stage of 2024 FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series

Next, it’s a full press forward to the FIBA 3×3 Universality Olympic Qualifying Tournament taking place May 3-5 in Utsunomiya, Japan. One team of each gender will qualify for the Games. The remaining three team spots per gender will be up for grabs in Debrecen, Hungary May 16-19. The nations already qualified for Paris 2024 in women’s 3×3 include China, France, Azerbaijan, and the USA.

It’s a high pressure spring schedule, but Team Canada plans to approach it with the same attitude that has brought them success so far.

“I think something that’s been really important for me is to find a mental state I can play in where I can be joyful and free and have fun, because that’s also when I play my best,” says Crozon. “So I have to find the right balance of being focused, intense, and intentional, while also staying loose and having love for the game.”

Katherine Plouffe agrees. “It’s just a game. So you have to take that pressure off to be free, to play with joy, to support each other and be in the moment. You just have to know that if you’ve given everything you have, then the result is going to be the result. That gives me a lot of clarity and peace while playing, because all I need to control is what I do on the court.”

Michelle and Katherine finished the 2023 Series ranked within the top three players in the entire league, with Michelle being named MVP of the Final, so there’s definitely something to this perspective. The whole team proves that you can have fun and see your names all over the top stats page.

And then no matter what, the women of Team Canada have the wisdom of a kindergartener to fall back on.

Crozon says that after games, Poppy will sometimes ask: “Mommy, did you win?”

“So I’ll ask her, ‘Were you watching?’ And she will be like: ‘No, but I was cheering!,’” Crozon explains. “So, it’s like, the outcome doesn’t really matter, but the fact that we’re there playing, doing what we love is all that she really cares about.”