USA Women’s 3x3 World Cup Team Finish Day One 2-0
The 2018 USA Basketball Women’s 3x3 World Championship Team finished the first day of competition at the 2018 FIBA 3x3 World Championship in Manila, Philippines, unscathed after claiming convincing preliminary round victories over Iran (0-2) 21-7, and Andorra (0-2) 21-6.
The USA Women’s 3x3 World Cup Team is comprised of four University of Oregon basketball team members: (Oregon/Hodgenville, Ky.); (Oregon/Spokane, Wash.); and (Oregon/Walnut Creek, Calif.). The foursome won the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s 3x3 National Championship in April to earn the opportunity to play for the FIBA 3x3 World Cup title.
"Getting back out and playing again was really fun. I felt good and I thought we did really well,” said 6-foot-4 Hebard. “Getting out to strong start is really important because the games are so short and by the time to get near the end usually both teams are tired. So, getting out to a great start when you’re fresh and ready is really helpful.”
Cruising from the opening seconds, the USA women opened the 3x3 World Cup with a 21-7 win over Iran. pumped in eight points, and each added five points and was credited with three points in the win.
Tied 1-1, Boley hit from beyond the arc to push the USA ahead 3-1, then getting three points from Gildon and two from Hebard, the U.S. opened an 8-1 lead with 6:42 left in the game. Iran managed three consecutive points to cut the deficit to 8-4, but the USA pounded the ball inside to regain control and Ionescu drained a two from behind the line to end the game 21-7 with 1:11 remaining.
“We saw that the teams were smaller, so we definitely focused on dominating inside and working on all the post moves we use at Oregon,” added Hebard. “Defensively, we switched everything off, were versatile, which is really helpful for 3x3. We just focused on closing out and playing really good defense.”
In its second contest against Andorra, the U.S. consistently looked inside and took advantage of their size. In claiming a 21-6 win, Hebard finished with eight points, Gildon tallied six, Ionescu added five points and Boley tossed in two. Each USA team member scored a point in the opening 1:13 to help the team get out to a 4-1 lead and at the halfway point the USA was in control, leading 13-3. Finishing strong and relying on balanced scoring, Gildon scored the USA’s 21st point to end the game with 2:08 remaining.
In the opening round of the women’s Skills competition, Ionescu, a 5-11 guard, recorded the day’s fastest time of 21.3 seconds and advanced as one of four qualifiers to the knock-out round. Also advancing were: Marie-Eve Paget (France), Nigyar Nagiyeva (Turkmenistan) and Nancy Fora (Switzerland).
Under the Skills competition rules, each women’s team was permitted to enter one participant. The four fastest women qualified for the knock-out round, which consists of a semifinal, a bronze-medal round and a final. The fastest player from the qualification matches head-to-head with the fourth fastest qualifier, while the second and third fastest go head-to-head. The winners advance into the finals and the losers play in the bronze medal contest. Each participant in the competition has 45 seconds to make a corner shot, then dribble through a slalom course of four cones, make a straight pass into a target, dribble through another slalom with two balls forward and then backwards, do another straight pass, dribble through the slalom and score a basket.
In other Group C preliminary action, defending champ Russia (2-0) defeated Uganda (1-1) 22-8 and beat Andorra (0-2) 21-9. Uganda earned its first win edging Iran (0-2) 18-10.
The USA women continue preliminary round play on June 10 against Uganda (1-1) at 11:50 p.m. EDT and defending champion Russia at 1:20 a.m. EDT (June 11)
We watched a few games (earlier) which was definitely helpful and fun to see,” said Hebard. “We watched Russia and they are definitely a really good team so we have to come out focused from the start and end well as well.”
All of the FIBA 3x3 World Cup action, including the men’s and women’s games and the skills contests, are viewable live online in the United States exclusively on ESPN3 and ESPN+.
Following completion of the round-robin preliminary games, teams will be seeded, and the top two finishing teams from each pool will advance to the June 12 quarterfinals. Winning teams will advance to the semifinals, and the gold and bronze medal games will be held June 12.
The USA women won the event in 2012 and 2014, took bronze in 2016 and missed the event in 2017, when the FIBA 3x3 World Cup switched from an every-other-year format to an every-year format. The United States is 23-2 all-time in 3x3 World Cup play.
the 20 nations competing in the FIBA Women’s World Cup are: Andorra, Argentina, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, host Philippines, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United States and Venezuela.