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Interview: Bridget Carleton talks making EuroLeague Women history, playing for Canada and living in Hungary

Fresh off a 41-point performance against Polkowice, Győr’s Bridget Carleton talks to us about her big night and much more.

Minnesota Lynx v Connecticut Sun
Bridget Carleton scored the third-most points in a single game in modern EuroLeague Women history.
Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images

In case you missed it, Bridget Carleton went bonkers during Gameday 12 of EuroLeague Women, missing only four shots as she scored 41 points and led Serco UNI Győr to the upset win over Polkowice. Her 41 points are the third-most in modern EuroLeague Women history. Be sure to watch the highlights below. And then watch them again. And again. It is what pure perfection looks like.

We were fortunate to catch up with Carleton soon after her incredible performance.

What was the exact moment that you knew you were on one against Polkowice? Was it the first play of the game, when you got a steal and a three in the first four seconds? Or was the feeling growing gradually, with the flow of the game and you never got too comfortable, were always on edge?

Honestly, I didn’t have the best warmup shooting-wise, so after I hit that first shot I was able to relax a little. I got really good looks in the first half that I expect myself to knock down but I knew I was feeling really good when I hit the first shot after half time. I knew it was going to be a good day after that.

One thing that gets somewhat overlooked in your performance on Wednesday is your defense: six rebounds, four steals and one block. In the whole competition, you’re averaging 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. How much pride do you take in protecting the basket and how much work do you put in perfecting that craft?

I take a lot of pride on the defensive end. Basketball is so much more than just stats or scoring. I’m able to guard a variety of positions and I’ve learned to anticipate what the offense is going to do, which I think are some of my strengths as a defender. I love playing defense and getting stops because I know that directly translates to our own offense and eventually winning games. I’ve definitely evolved a lot as a defender over my professional career, learning from some great coaches and teammates.

Can you tell us a bit about how you were scouted back in Canada, at John McGregor Secondary School to Iowa State? How did you handle the move to the US?

I wasn’t highly recruited when I was high school. My time with age group national teams is where I got the most attention. Iowa State was the school that I could tell was extremely invested in me and believed in me and my future. I immediately felt comfortable when I visited so I knew that Iowa State was going to be the place for me! The move was actually easier than expected. It was tough being away from home, but I had amazing teammates and coaches who I grew to have great relationships with. Ames became a second home for me very quickly.

You already played in Australia, Spain, France and Israel. This year you’re living in Hungary. Can you tell us more about how you got here and how’s life in the country? Any travel/sightseeing/food recommendations?

It’s been incredible. I love experiencing new places, new cultures and new styles of basketball. This year has been great. The opportunity presented itself to come to Győr and I thought it was a perfect fit. I love playing in EuroLeague and I was excited to experience playing in the Hungarian domestic league. Life has been good. Győr is a cute, small city located an hour from both Budapest and Vienna, which has been incredible to be a tourist in some amazing European cities.

You played for Canada in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament. How awesome would it be to don the red and white for the Olympics in Paris?

Our goal is to not only qualify for the Olympics but to get on the podium. I love playing for Team Canada. Being able to represent my country at the highest international level is the greatest honor.

Who is Bridget Carleton outside of basketball? What do you do to unwind and what do you devote your energy outside of the court?

I am a pretty simple, easy-going person. I love spending time with my friends and family (via FaceTime when I’m abroad). I recently started doing pilates and I love it! I also love reading, trying new restaurants or coffee shops and spending as much time as possible outdoors.

Special thanks to István Deres of UNI Győr for putting us in touch with Bridget.