Canada’s women’s basketball team won the inaugural GLOBL JAM championship, held this year in Toronto, defeating Team France 78-60 in the finals on the afternoon of Sunday, Jul. 10, 2022. Kingston’s Aaliyah Edwards celebrated a personal victory as well, taking home the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. “It feels great,” Edwards said, in a press release issued by Canada Basketball. “The mind frame was win. That was our goal from the start of the tournament and we came here and finished it.”
During Sunday’s gold-medal game, Edwards added 13 points to Canada’s tally, including seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block, as her team took secured the trophy on home court. The Canadian squad went undefeated through three round-robin games before beating Team USA 85-60 in the semifinals, a game that saw Edwards score 10 points for the red-and-white. In total, the 20-year-old chalked up 77 points for her team throughout the tournament, cementing her status as MVP.
“She’s been a real anchor for us on both ends of the floor,” Team Canada head coach Carly Clarke said of Edwards’ contributions to the team. “She made some timely baskets again today, and often had the job of keying in on one of the opponent’s top players and defending them. She cleaned up the boards, defended, and her effort never wavers. Pretty special performance.”
Sunday’s victory was a special win for Edwards and her Canadian teammates, who relished the opportunity to play in an international tournament right in their own backyard.
“The energy,” Edwards said, when asked about her favourite part of the event. “Winning at home, the first inaugural tournament of GLOBL JAM, and to actually say that we won it the first time is amazing. All the friends and family that came out to support, and watching online and on TV? Amazing. We love the love.”
The win marks Edwards’ first international gold medal as a member of Team Canada; in 2017, the then-15-year-old took home silver at the FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship, before experiencing a similar result at the 2019 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup in Puerto Rico. The Kingston native is currently a member of the UConn Huskies in the NCAA’s Big East Conference; in 2021 Edwards was named to the conference’s All-Freshmen Team while also taking home the Sixth Woman of the Year award.
The Huskies enjoyed a remarkable campaign this past season, finishing atop the standings at the end of the regular season before taking home the title at the Big East Tournament. The squad would advance to the Division 1 Women’s Basketball Tournament, a competition-level equivalent to March Madness, before losing to South Carolina in the championship finals.
Canada Basketball created the GLOBL JAM tournament as a showcase for its U-23 players, allowing the country’s young basketball stars to compete in an international event on home soil. In total, five different countries participated in the inaugural edition of the event, with Canada and the USA having representation in both the men’s and women’s competitions, while France, Belgium, Italy, and Brazil also took part.
Canada Basketball will now set its sights on the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup, which takes place this September in Australia. Edwards, meanwhile, is set to head back to UConn for her junior year. Following her successes at GLOBL JAM, the star forward will likely be an even bigger threat when things heat up in the Big East later this year.