Literally and figuratively, Abby Sweeny has come a long way to get to this place, and she's done it with an entire community behind her. 
Sweeny, a Grade 12 guard from Dakota Collegiate, is the first member of the 2024 Winnipeg Wesmen women's basketball recruiting class, committing to head coach Alyssa Cox. 
Sweeny, who has played with Evolve and TAP, will pursue a degree in Education and have five years of eligibility. 
Originally from Pimicikamak Cree Nation, came to Winnipeg when she was 12. She said she didn't have a lot of exposure to basketball as a youth but dabbled with it and fell in love with it shortly after arriving in the city. 
"Basketball was never really the popular sport there, it was mostly hockey," she said. "I tried it a little bit when I was up North and I really enjoyed it and it was something new. I felt like this is kind of what I want to do. And then when I moved here, that's when I decided this is the sport I want to play."
Sweeny made her commitment official on the weekend at a signing ceremony at the Duckworth Centre surrounded by more than 50 friends, family, community members and teammates. 
"It's amazing," she said. "I can't express how much it means to me, especially to have my grandparents here that live up North, and most of these people (at the ceremony) do live up North, so having the support of my community like that is amazing."
Last year, she was named the Indigenous athlete of the year by the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council and competed with Manitoba at the North American Indigenous Games in Halifax, where she won gold and scored 25 points in a semifinal win. 
With Dakota, Sweeny was a part of three straight provincial championships, having rostered with the varsity team as a Grade 10 in 2021-22. In her senior season, Sweeny was named the No. 4-ranked player in the province in the Winnipeg Free Press' annual coaches' poll, and she scored 25 points in the championship game earlier this month. 
Cox's first contact with Sweeny was coaching her on the 2021 Canada Summer Games team. Sweeny was a 16-year-old playing up on the 18U squad. 
"I was immediately impressed with her drive, and the intensity she brought to her training and to games," Cox said. "She has a great feel for the game and court awareness that allows her to read advantages and be a big-time contributor on the offensive end. We are excited to welcome her to the program and confident that she will have a big impact for us early in her career." 
"It felt like the right decision right away. I felt like once I had a meeting with her and we talked through everything, right then and there I was like 'I know what I want to do.' It felt like the right choice for me, and everything sounded right for me.
"I'm so excited for the next level."


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