UCLA recruit and Windward basketball star Jordin Canada is flying high these days. Canada, who led her team to the CIF Southern Section Open Division title against Mater Dei, is generally regarded as the top point guard in the country.
Of course, she made the cut as a representative on the McDonald All-American team, which she helped her West team defeat the East squad. Canada and Simon are the only Westside girls basketball player to be selected to the All-CIF Open Division team. So it’s naturally, the Windward star would also be collecting her share of postseason honors.
That would include being named as the CIF Southern Section Player of the Year. Canada was joined on the All-CIF team by teammate Kristen Simon, who made the first team. Getting the most out of great talent requires great coaching behind it. Canada, Simon and the rest of the Windward girls’ basketball team may not have gone as they went this season without coach Vanessa Nygaard calling the shots and putting her team in the right position to succeed.
No, Canada didn’t take this basketball season journey by herself. She had some help along the way. In large part that belongs to Nygaard, guiding Windward to an overall record of 26-3, claiming the CIF championship and advancing to the state playoffs. Nygaard was chosen as the CIF Southern Section Open Division Coach of the Year.
It’s difficult to follow behind a coach that gave a program its identity and winning record. For 13 years, Steve Smith did that for Windward before stepping down in 2012, compiling a 276-67 record during that time. Nygaard has come in put her team among the best in the country.
With Nygaard running the team from the sideline and Canada operating as the coach on the floor, Windward recorded a remarkable season, beating 18 of its 29 opponents by double digits.