Team 3 Wins Tournament To Wrap Up USA Women's U23 Training Camp
Training camp for the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U23 National Team, which began on July 31 with 36 hopefuls, wrapped up on Friday, Aug. 4, with a 3x3 contest between Team 1 and Team 4 at 11 a.m. ET and a gold medal game between Team 2 and Team 3 at 11:40 a.m. ET.
Later this afternoon, 12 players will hear their name called as members of the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U23 National Team. In the meantime, check out the recap of the 3x3 contest and a hotly contested intrasquad championship.
- 3x3: Added to the 2020 Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee in June, 3x3 features a 10-minute time limit and a 12-second shot clock. Points inside the arc are recorded as one point baskets, and the traditional 3-pointer counts for two. The first team to 21 points, or the team with the most points after 10 minutes, is declared the winner.
Team 4 jumped out to the early advantage just six seconds into the game and led 6-0 after the opening minute. Jatarie White (Texas/Charlotte, N.C.) put Team 1 on the board moments later before Asia Durr (Louisville/Douglasville, Ga.) answered with her first of three 2-pointers in the game. Team 1 cut the deficit to 9-6 with 7:48 to play, but Team 4 rattled off four-straight buckets to take a 13-6 lead. A Durr jumper at the 5:01 mark, followed by her second 2-pointer with 4:16 to go made the score 17-7. Durr scored 10 of the last 11 points for Team 4, which won 22-9 via her third 2-pointer of the game with 2:08 on the clock.
Durr finished with 13 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-3 from long range. Kristine Anigwe (California/Phoenix, Ariz.) added four points for Team 4. Victoria Vivians (Mississippi State/Carthage, Miss.) led Team 1 with five points, including two 2-pointers.
“I think there’s a lot more space,” said Durr, who participated in the 2015 USA Basketball 3x3 National Tournament alongside fellow U23 athletes Anigwe, Natalie Chou (Baylor/Plano, Texas) and Arike Ogunbowale (Notre Dame/Milwaukee, Wis.) “The game is faster, too. You only have those 10-minutes, and it’s non-stop, except for dead balls. So, as soon as you get the ball out of the net, you have to clear the ball. The game is quick, and I think every basketball player likes a fast-paced game. You just have to stay aggressive, but also keep your teammates involved, and really, just have fun with it.”
- Gold Medal Game: There was no shortage of scoring in the early going between Michelle Clark-Heard’s (Western Kentucky) Team 2 and their counterparts, Cori Close’s (UCLA) Team 3. Team 3, wearing white as the home team, was out front after 10 minutes, 24-20. A defensive battle took over in the second quarter, but Close’s team held onto a slim 33-32 advantage at the break.
That margin grew to as much as 14 points, 56-42, in the third quarter, due in part to transition scoring, but, led by Ariel Atkins (Texas/Duncanville, Texas), Clark-Heard’s team trailed by nine, 62-53, heading into the fourth. A 4-0 run to begin the fourth quarter pushed Team 3’s lead back up to 67-53. But, Team 2 refused to go away, mounting a furious 19-4 run, capped by an Ogunbowale old-fashioned three-point play and a follow layup from Brittany McPhee (Stanford/Normandy Park, Wash.) to go up 72-71 with 1:38 to play in the game.
Two Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State/Cincinnati, Ohio) free throws and a Monique Billings (UCLA/Corona, Calif.) fastbreak score put Team 3 back up, 75-72. After a Kalani Brown (Baylor/Slidell, La.) free throw for Team 3, Mercedes Russell (Tennessee/Springfield, Ore.) scored at the rim to trim the deficit, 76-74. Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon/Walnut Creek, Calif.) hit one-of-two foul shots to put Team 3 up three points, 77-74. Ogunbowale’s straight-away 3-pointer came up short in the final seconds, and Close’s Team 3 came away as champions.
Mitchell and Erin Boley (Oregon/Hodgenville, Kent.), who grabbed six rebounds as well, paced all scorers with 19 points apiece. Ionescu notched a healthy line of 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Team 3, too. Four players scored in double figures for Team 2, led by Linnae Harper’s (Ohio State/Chicago, Ill.) 15 points, six assists and five rebounds.
“It was a defensive effort,” said Mitchell, who tallied 19 points in the win. “They had an aggressive group of guards and they liked to post us up, so we tried to keep them out of the lane and out on the perimeter as much as possible. At the end there, coach put an emphasis on executing a particular play. We got it, and we were able to get a back cut and draw that crucial foul to help us win it.”
For the 12 selected players, USA Women’s U23 National Team head coach Jeff Walz (Louisville), and assistant coaches Courtney Banghart (Princeton) and Michelle Clark-Heard (Western Kentucky), training camp continues through Aug. 7 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The USA U23 National Team will compete Aug. 12-15 at the U24 Four Nations Tournament in Tokyo, Japan. The USA will face Australia on Aug. 12, Canada on Aug. 13 and will close out the tournament facing host Japan on Aug. 15.