RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Katherine Plouffe was having a difficult time sitting in the stands at the London Olympics, watching the Canadian women’s basketball team play. She wanted to be on the court, but she wasn’t ready.
If that wasn’t motivation enough, she sat and watched her twin sister, Michelle, play.
That was the last bit of inspiration Katherine needed to get back to work and take that next step.
The Plouffe twins are reunited on the court at the Rio de Janeiro Games, helping Canada advance to the quarterfinals in pursuit of the country’s first medal in the sport. Canada’s best finish came in 1984 when the Canadians were fourth, and the country is making its second straight appearance in the Olympics with a Plouffe on the roster.
Canada (3-0) will play the United States (3-0) in group play Friday in a good test of those Canadian medal hopes.
Michelle couldn’t be happier at having her sister on the team this time around. Katherine had been on Canada’s developmental team in 2012.
“It was really hard for her to watch me play and not be able to participate,” Michelle said. “But I mean, she supported me through that. It’s good to have her here now.”
The sisters stand next to each other during the national anthem with Katherine wearing No. 14 and Michelle No. 15. They’re reunited after each went their separate ways for college leaving Edmonton, Alberta, to play collegiately in the U.S. They followed the path started by their older sister, Andrea, who played at Washington.
Michelle chose Utah, where she played four years and was an All-Pac 12 pick as a senior. Katherine went to Marquette, where she averaged a double-double as a senior helping the team to the Women’s NIT in 2014.
“We just needed space after like 18 years together,” Katherine said. “We both wanted to do that, and it helped our relationship like tenfold because we got to develop individually and have our own friends and come back and play together in the summer.”
In London, Michelle played in two games as Canada reached the quarterfinals. Katherine didn’t make the team.
“That was a huge growing period for me,” Katherine said.
Literally. Though both Plouffe sisters are listed as 6-foot-3, Katherine now is the taller twin closer to 6-4. She also has added a bit more muscle.
That might be why Katherine has gotten much more playing time since making her Olympic debut on Aug. 6 in a 90-68 win over China. She played 16 minutes and scored eight points with three rebounds while Michelle played 8 minutes. In a 71-67 win over Serbia, Michelle did not play and watched her sister score seven points and grab five rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench.
And yes, playing in the Olympics is so much better than watching from the stands with their parents, Laurie and Daryl.
“It was amazing to be on the court, especially during the national anthem,” Katherine said. “I was just feeling like what an awesome opportunity I have here. I fought my way back, and I’m able to be on the court this year.”
AP Summer Games website: http://summergames.ap.org/
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