UConn's Aaliyah Edwards, an Olympic hopeful, to remain with Team Canada as Huskies' teammates arrive this week

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While her UConn teammates arrive on campus this weekend and officially report next week, sophomore forward Aaliyah Edwards will be in Tampa, Fla., with the Canadian Senior National Team in advance of next month’s FIBA Women’s AmericaCup.

“They’re doing their prep work,” coach Geno Auriemma said. “We might not get Aaliyah at all, the whole month of June. We don’t know. But she’s playing, she’s with a good team and she’s getting great coaching.”

Team Canada’s camp, which moved to Tampa from Edmonton because of current Canadian quarantine protocols, opened May 20 and concludes June 4. The AmeriCup is June 11-19 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Edwards is one of 17 players in camp from a roster of 20. Three players, including UConn’s Kia Nurse, were unable to attend due to the WNBA season. The AmeriCup is one of four continental cups and one step toward qualifying for the FIBA World Cup beginning in Sept., 2022, in Sydney, Australia.

Canada, the No. 4 team in the world, according to FIBA rankings, has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, beginning in late July. If Edwards makes the Olympic team, she is unlikely to spend time at UConn prior to mid-August.

“She’s always going to play hard,” Auriemma said. “She’s always going to compete. And if she makes the Olympic team, hopefully, knock on wood, she’s a contributor and they have a great trip and win a medal. The impact that will have on her life, and how that will help her be a better player for UConn, it’s just immense.”

Edwards, of Kingston, Ontario, averaged 10.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 21.8 minutes and shot 68.9 percent from the field last season as a freshman for the Huskies (28-2).

Every other UConn player will be on campus for the first summer school session. Incoming freshmen Amari DeBerry, Caroline Ducharme and Azzi Fudd join classmate Saylor Poffenbarger, who enrolled and joined the team midway through last season.

Paige Bueckers, the 2020-21 national player of the year, will be on campus, but is sidelined while recovering from ankle surgery performed April 30. Bueckers, now in a walking boot, is expected to be ready by the time preseason practices begin in September.

mike.anthony@hearstmediact.com