Hooping for the best

By Morris Dalla Costa
The London Free Press
April 15, 2011

Call it another challenge in the life of Miranda Ayim.

If she responds to this one as well as she’s responded to all the others, then she’ll do just fine.

Ayim is quickly becoming one of the most successful women basketball players from this area.

After playing the winter in Turkey and the summer for Canada’a national team after graduating from Pepperdine University, the 6-foot-3 Saunders graduate has signed a contract with the Tulsa Shock of the Women’s National Basketball Association.

It happened a while ago but because of green card issues, Ayim has been waiting to get the OK before telling anyone. While the green card hasn’t been issued yet, all the papers have been filed and no one expects a problem.

Ayim played in Alanya in the Turkish First Division. A number of WNBA players were in the league.

“It was right on the Mediterrean and it was pretty nice,” Ayim said. “My agent was doing her job. I sent my agent a video of me playing in Turkey and she passed it on to (Tulsa). Apparently the head coach saw another video of me playing, actually he was looking at another player but he noticed me playing before one of his assistant coaches said, ‘We got this video.’ ”

Ayim will head to camp in a couple of weeks.

“It is exciting. I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” she said. “I will be more excited after I make the team. I am cautiously optimistic that everything will work out. Ask me in a month.

“I’m not so worried about not making it. I’m just a realist, knowing there is so much hard work to do in the next month.”

Ayim has always been a terrific player not only physically but mentally as well. She’s someone who made the most of university in sports and academically. She’s graduated with a public relations degree.

The stint in Turkey gave her a overview of what she needs to do to play successfully in the WNBA.

“The thing that helped me the most was the level of competition over there,” she said. “The calibre of players over there was really strong. I got a look at the players to see what they are doing and learn from them, especially the posts. There are a lot of small posts.

“I have to get stronger and be more aggressive. I have to work on strength and cardio.”

Ayim is one of those well-grounded individuals.

“I don’t have that big, ‘I know exactly what my biggest goal in life’ or anything like that,” she said. “It’s a natural progression to go from college to international to professional ball. So now it’s just the next thing that I wanted to do for a little while. Of course, every girl basketball player says ‘wow, I’d love to play in the WNBA.’ It’s neat that now I have a chance to do it.”

The 22-year-old doesn’t give the slightest hint she may be nervous.

“You always are kind of apprehensive going into a new situation,” she said. “But I’m looking forward to a new experience. I know it will be tough being a rookie. It would be a lot easier being on top but you have to work for your place. I hope it works out, if it doesn’t there’s always something else.”

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