There is nobody more committed, focused, driven and inspiring than Natalie Achonwa. The last 6 years I’ve been able to get to know her with our Fever organization, I am amazed at her personal growth and how she continues to excel both on and off the court. For a young player with so much talent, she understands and believes in the intangibles that it takes to be a part of an amazing team.

Tamika Catchings

VP/Fever Basketball Operations, General Manager, WNBA - Indiana Fever, @catchin24 @IndianaFever

After reading Aycha Hamaoui-Askarov’s story, I began to reflect and relive the seasons that she played at Humber College while I was her coach. It’s impossible to describe the totally of who Aycha is and what she has meant to our programs success both as a player and now as a coach. I suppose if I could share my top three characteristics that Aycha embodied they would be that she was/is a person of incredible courage, humility and someone who has so much fight and confidence in herself. She is someone who I want to know for the rest of my life as knowing her makes my life so much better.

Ajay Sharma

Head Coach, Women’s Basketball Humber College

This isn’t only a story about basketball but about a women’s strength, dedication and determination to be and remain relevant in this male dominated industry. As a female agent Leisa Washington deals with discrimination, adversity and feeling invisible when amongst male agents. She is a shero, a fearless leader who puts a lot of thought and experience behind her players by staying knowledgable and currents about the trends of professional basketball.

Her ‘keep pushing forward’ attitude is truly inspiring to women in sports and I admire her fight. I cannot speak highly enough of Miss Leisa Washington. I wish there was more to read.

Wendy Sparks

Owner & Host Court-Side Mom Podcast, IG: courtsidemoms Twitter @courtside_moms FB: Court-side Moms

I have known Natalie Achonwa since she was 16 years old and I could not be more proud of the woman, role model, teammate, sister, friend and athlete that she is. She is a fierce competitor who represents the best in all of us; by never giving up, inspiring us all to be better and caring about everyone around her wholeheartedly. I am lucky to call her my sista!

Lizanne Murphy

2X Olympian, Canada Basketball, IG@Lizannie12 Twitter@LizzieMurph

Bridget Carleton is one of the hardest working athletes I know. Her drive and determination is what helped lead her to success and separates her from other athletes. From a young age she set high goals for herself and put the work in to achieve these goals. The endless hours in the gym and extra time in the high school weight room helped to develop her game and lead her to many high achievements and awards. While you watch Bridget play she has a smile rarely leaves her face and anyone who watches her play can see she loves the game of basketball the way very few people do. Despite all of her successes she stays humble. She remains devoted to her hometown and the people that support her.

Nicole Quigley

Teacher & Basketball Coach, Chatham Kent Wildcats Basketball

As I read Katherine Plouffe’s story, I found myself nodding along as I related to what she shared and my own tendency to get caught in the snare of comparison. Katherine’s true colours shine through as she authentically shares her story of growth through adversity. As a woman of character who lives out what she speaks, she is always looking for ways to grow in her skills, her character and her faith. She is an overcomer, a trail-blazer, someone who perseveres through the ups and downs life brings, and she is not afraid to go first.

Roxanna Koop

Chaplain, Athletes in Action Canada, IG @aiacanada | FB @athletes.in.action.canada | athletesinaction.ca

Self-driven, with a passion for basketball and the support of family and a small town, Bridget Carleton continues to reach new goals and chase her dreams. We couldn’t be more proud.

Rob and Carriet Carleton

Parents & Bridget's Coaches

Leisa Washington is a woman who never let the barriers stop her from getting what she wants. That herstory (not history) is still being written. She keeps building on her legacy of furthering women in sport and business. Because she is the everyday person who was not rich, lucky or privileged. She worked 10 times harder than the average to make it happen. Works and cares for the less fortunate of us. She does it because they said a women could not do it. 

Patrick Shaw

CEO My Brothers and Sister Keeper Youth Organization, IG: Sisterskeeperto

In 25 years of coaching, Bridget Carleton is one of the most amazing people I have had the privilege to work with. Her work ethic is now legendary at ISU. Her willingness to be coached and her personal ‘inner drive’ to improve daily combined with her appreciation of TEAM and desire to be a part of something bigger than herself are qualities that every coach, parent, teacher, boss dream of.  What a tremendous role model she is for those willing to work towards their dreams!

I could probably write a book on what she meant to our team, this staff and our community! I think it’s a testament to internal motivation as well as self confidence in working to achieve the goals she set for herself. That following her passion wasn’t always an easy road but she put in the WORK and found joy in the process – one of the rare players who actually played the better portion of a game with a smile on her face!

It allows others to know it’s OK to sacrifice, set goals and work towards something they are truly passionate about because the lessons you learn along the way are just as important as the success you strive to achieve.

Jodi Steyer

Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Iowa State University, Twitter: @isucyclone | IG: @jodisteyer33 | FB: @Jodi Steyer

Aycha has been my closest friend, more like sister since I met her on the basketball court in grade 9 (she was in grade 10). Her drive, passion and love for the game inspired me to put all my focus on basketball. Aycha was one of the reasons I pursued college basketball as well as have the confidence to make the varsity team as a walk-on and not a recruit. Throughout my basketball career and personal life, Aycha has been a mentor for me and I’ve always looked up to her as someone I would strive to be. Fast forward 15 years, she is still that person, but so much more. I am incredibly proud of her hard work and success and major impact in Canadian women’s basketball. Basketball will always be something that I hold on to dearly and thankful she is someone I met through the love of this beautiful game!

Aycha’s basketball journey is the definition of tenacity, devotion and appreciation, not just for the love of playing basketball but carried throughout her professional career as an educator and coach. Her story is inspirational and accurately describes countless obstacles that many women in sports overcome. Women for the Win again and again!

Jordana Mazze

Previously assistant coach to Aycha for Etobicoke Thunder U19 Girls, Teacher, Leader, Mentor, Friend, Sister, IG: jmazzei13


Meghan McPeak’s knowledge and passion for the game, combined with her insatiable drive, has made her one of the brighter stars in broadcasting …regardless of gender.

Duane Watson

NBA XL Producer, Co-host of Home Court on TSN 1050, Producer NBA TV’s “The Hangout”, Twitter: @DuaneWatson, Linkedin: Duane_Watson, IG: duanewatson


Micaella Riche will never be okay with mediocrity. She expects excellence of herself and desires that for everyone around her. At Lay-Up, she brings that hunger to be the best every day through setting an example and constantly seeking how she can support and sharpen our team.

Chris Penrose

Program Director, Lay-Up Youth Basketball

Unlike most, Micaella Riche has real experience at a very high level as an elite athlete. She has experienced the highs and the lows mentally, physically and emotionally. One of the most important life lessons she learned throughout her journey is master our mindset. We really can accomplish more than we think we can, mentally and physically.

Pam Borton

ICF Senior Executive Coach | Professional Speaker | Author - Former head coach of University of Minnesota Women’s Basketball

Alex Kiss-Rusk is no stranger to success. She was an integral part of McGill’s national championship team. She immediately impacted the Martlet program with her knowledge, passion and experience – ultimately elevating the team to an even higher level. Her versatility and skill easily made her one of the most difficult players to defend in Canada. That said, as impressive as Alex’s athletic and academic resumes are, the most admirable thing about her is her dedication to being an incredible person, family member, teammate and friend.

Dianna Ros

Former teammate at McGill University, Vanier Cegep assistant coach and Quebec U-18 provincial team assistant coach

A graduate of Ryerson University, and our women’s basketball program, we are so proud of Mariah Thomas and all she has accomplished on and off the court. She continues to make an effort to learn and grow in and from everything she does; and continues to find new levels of success from that.

Carly Clarke

MBA, Head Coach, Women's Basketball, Ryerson University Athletics

I’ve known Micaella Riche for over 15 years and she‘s always been one to accept a challenge. She’s a worker and constantly seeks the best out of those around her. She’s overcome adversity and uncertainties time and time again with grace and humility. She’s world class/b>

Wumi Agunbiade

2019-2020 Raptors 905 Junior Coach and Program Director of Make it WHOop