U.S. Pan American Games 3x3 Women’s Team Wraps Up Day One 3-0
The 2019 U.S. Pan American Games 3x3 Women’s Basketball Team (3-0) racked up three victories in its first three games of the 2019 Pan American Games on Saturday at the Coliseo Eduardo Dibos in Lima, Peru. The U.S. women beat Argentina (2-1) 21-15, raced past Uruguay 21-5 (0-3) and finished out the evening with a 21-7 win over Brazil (1-2).
The U.S. women complete preliminary round play on July 28 versus Venezuela at 6 p.m. and Dominican Republic at 8 p.m. Times listed are EDT, and the USA’s games are streaming live at WatchESPN.com.
“We worked really well together, and the key definitely was communicating, on defense and on offense,” said U.S. forward Ruthy Hebard (Fairbanks, Alaska). “We clicked really well together from the start. So, I’m really happy, and I’m excited for tomorrow.”
Against Argentina, Hebard and Sabrina Ionescu (Walnut Creek, Ore.) led the USA with nine points apiece, while Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Connecticut/Winder, Ga.) swatted five shots.
Neither the USA nor Argentina led by more than three points in the contest until the final minute, when the USA converted on all of its final six free throw opportunities to go ahead 20-15 with 40.0 seconds remaining. Ionescu pulled up for a jump shot with 20 seconds on the clock that sealed the USA’s 21-15 win.
In the USA’s win over Uruguay, the red, white and blue led 9-5 with six minutes to play, and from there held Uruguay scoreless while racing to 21 points to win the game with 2:00 left on the clock.
The USA was balanced in its scoring against Uruguay, with Hebard finishing with seven points, Ionescu adding six and Nelson-Ododa and Christyn Williams (Little Rock, Ark.) each adding four points.
“I think it is always nice to have a familiar face to look over to or to talk to on trips like these, so it is really nice to have Sabrina here,” Hebard said of her University of Oregon teammate. But, she also is creating new alliances. “It is really nice to have these two girls – Olivia and Christyn, they are great people and turning into great friends as well.”
Wrapping up the day with an impressive 21-7 win over Brazil, the USA was an impressive 13-of-18 (.720) from inside the arc, and Hebard led the way with 10 points, followed by Ionescu with six. The USA jumped ahead 7-1 and was in control of the game throughout the contest, and Brazil never threatened the USA’s lead.
“Definitely setting good screens that the guards can get off well, and then when we are down low, hoping to take advantage of our size and get an easy bucket,” Hebard said of the USA’s strategy to capitalize on its height advantage.
The women’s semifinals will be played on July 29, and will feature the No. 1 and No. 4 teams from the preliminary round at 10 a.m., followed by the No. 2 and No. 3 placed teams at 10:30 a.m.
The semifinal losers will meet in the bronze medal game at 1 p.m., and the winners will play in the gold medal game at 2 p.m.
The women’s fifth place game, which includes the No. 5 and No. 6 teams, will be played at 12 p.m. on July 29.
This year is the first time 3x3 basketball has been included at the Pan American Games, and the men’s and women’s tournaments feature six teams each.
Similar to the Pan American Games, 3X3 basketball will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The exciting and fast-paced game officially was unveiled in international competition at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and since has become a fan favorite at FIBA 3x3 World Cup events.
3x3 is played on a half court with a 12-second shot clock and a 10 minute game clock. The first team to 21 points, or the team in the lead at the end of regulation, is the winner.