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Mission’s Kim Smith Gaucher returning to Olympics as coach

Gaucher leads first Canadian 3x3 women’s basketball team to qualify for Olympics
Mission’s Kim Smith Gaucher celebrates with her family after the Canadian 3x3 women’s basketball team earned an Olympic qualification last weekend in Hungary. Gaucher is already a three-time Olympian as a player but this will be her first appearance as a coach. /Photo courtesy of FIBA/Canada Basketball

Mission basketball legend Kim Smith Gaucher is returning to the Olympics for the fourth time.

However, the retired hooper won’t be suiting up for the red and white this time around. She heads back to the Olympics as the head coach of the Canadian 3x3 women’s team.

Gaucher helms the first ever Canadian women’s 3x3 squad to qualify for the Olympics after punching the ticket to Paris on Sunday (May 19).

“I’m honestly so excited for this group. Their stories are all incredible. I mean, they built this 3x3 program without any support at the start and to now be able to call themselves Olympians — I’m just so happy that I’ve been able to join this,” Gaucher said.

The team went 5-1 in the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Debrecen, Hungary last weekend, defeating the hosts in the third-place game to earn a spot in Paris.

Gaucher coached the team of Kacie Bosch, Paige Crozon, Katherine Plouffe and Michelle Plouffe to a 21-10 victory over Hungary after dropping a nailbiter to Spain in the semi-finals.

The Canadians lost to Spain 19-18 thanks to a last-second circus shot from Gracia Alonso to win the game. In the quarterfinals, Canada laid a 21-8 beating on Italy.

Gaucher says Canada has the two best 3x3 players in the world with the Plouffe twins. She says they’re both smart and talented passers who are complemented by the shooting and off-ball movement of Bosch and Crozon.

“The group of four have been playing together for so long that they really know where each other will be and there are a lot of cool actions that are run off the ball. If you haven’t watched threes before, it’s super fast-paced. It’s like starting the game in the fourth quarter,” Gaucher said.

The 3x3 game differs from normal basketball in various ways, including the powers of the coach.

“It’s like tennis. So technically you’re not supposed to be coaching from the sidelines. In general, that still happens a little bit but a lot of it is empowering your team to make the right decisions,” Gaucher said.

As a player, Gaucher earned three trips to the Olympics, gold medals at the Pan-Am Games and FIBA AmeriCup, provincial championships with Heritage Park Secondary, along with appearances in the NCAA’s Elite Eight and the WNBA Finals.

The transition to coaching has been close to seamless for Gaucher but there have been some adjustments.

“Game days are so stressful. I loved that feeling as a player — the nerves and the butterflies — because as soon as you hit the court, they all sort of evaporated and it was so much fun to play in high-stakes games. But as a coach, it’s this terrible feeling. You have no control and you have zero power once the game starts. So it’s been interesting,” she said.

The bulk of her time is spent preparing for tournaments and watching as much film between games as possible.

“There’s a tight turnaround. So there’s lots of prep work to be done so that you can deliver all the messaging quickly to the athletes in between games,” she said.

Gaucher returns to France for the Olympics this summer, where she carved out a lengthy career overseas for USO Mondeville. She played her final game as a pro in 2022.

The 3x3 competition at the Paris 2024 Olympics will run from July 30 to Aug. 5 at Place de La Concorde.

The squad will compete in the 3X3 Series throughout the summer with stops around the globe. Canada will play in Quebec City on June 29 and 30 and in Edmonton on July 5 and 6.

READ MORE: ‘I just stopped playing’: Kim Smith-Gaucher reflects on illustrious career

Dillon White

About the Author: Dillon White

I joined the Mission Record in November of 2022 after moving to B.C. from Nova Scotia earlier in the year.
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