Basketball star was among best in OUA rankings for points and reboundsPhoto courtesy of geegees.ca
Hannah Sunley-Paisley played every year of her Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) career with the Gee-Gees women’s basketball team, and will be recognized for her efforts Sept. 27 when she becomes the newest member of the Gee-Gees Hall of Fame.
At the age of 25, Sunley-Paisley is also one of the youngest players to be inducted into the hall of fame. Three years after graduating, she joins Olympic basketball players Coleen Dufresne, a 1975 All-Canadian who was inducted in 2010.
“I wasn’t expecting to be inducted at such a young age, but it feels good,” Sunley-Paisley said.
Sunley-Paisley graduated from the University of Ottawa with a bachelor of arts in 2012.
On the court, she dominated as a post player throughout the country. She was ranked second in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) for most rebounds in her career with 993, and seventh for most points in a career in the OUA with 1,483.
She also racked up the awards during her career, including three OUA East Player of the Year recognitions and three appearances on the CIS all-star teams. In her final year, Sunley-Paisley was named the Nan Copp CIS Player of the Year, as she led her team to an OUA championship, and a CIS bronze medal, the best in Gee-Gees history.
“It’s always nice to be recognized,” she said. “I am proud of what many people around me over the five years I spent as a Gee-Gee helped me accomplish.”
The year after her graduation, she pursued a professional European basketball career playing for Quakenbrueck, Germany, but later switched to coaching.
Last year, Sunley-Paisley coached the under-15 boys Ottawa’s Next Level club team and the Algonquin Thunder women’s team. This year, she’ll coach the Next Level under-16 boys and play in a couple of leagues herself.
“Unfortunately there isn’t anywhere for me to go, playing-wise, in Canada,” she said, “but hopefully there will be for future generations of players.”
For Sunley-Paisley – a CIS player of the year, not having any options to play competitive basketball in her own country raises concerns. Canada has many possibilities to expand a professional basketball league for women, just as they introduced the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL) to men. As the hall of famer said, there is still hope.