USA Women’s 3x3 Team Trounces Russia 22-3, Advances Undefeated into World Beach Games Quarterfinals
The USA women’s 3x3 team of Paige Bueckers (Hopkins H.S./St. Louis Park, Minn.), Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx/Connecticut), Ruthy Hebard (Oregon) and Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces/Notre Dame) continued to roll Tuesday at the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games in Doha, Qatar. The USA finished off preliminary round play 3-0 after posting a 22-3 dismantling of previously undefeated Russia (2-1).
Playing its third and final preliminary round game Tuesday, a game to decide first place and Group A's No. 1 seed for Wednesday's quarterfinals, the USA defensively completely shut down Russia, a team that had won its first two games by 16-7 (Jordan) and 19-10 (Dominican Republic) tallies.
Young, a 6-foot guard who plays for the WNBA Las Vegas Aces, got the Americans off to a strong start scoring five of the USA's first seven points and the U.S. sprinted to a 7-0 lead as Russia shot 0-for-5 to open the game. Russia got on the scoreboard to make the score 7-1, but the USA, with all four players scoring points, reeled off the next eight points to take charge 15-1. Up 20-3, Bueckers, the USA's youngest member at 17 years old, connected from behind the arc for 2-points to finish off the game and earn the USA the 22-3 win.
Young finished with a game-best nine points, Collier added six points, Bueckers drained a pair of 2-point shots to finish with four points and Hebard added three points in Tuesday's lopsided win.
"We just wanted to play hard and play to our strengths," said 6-foot-4 University of Oregon senior Hebard. "Paige shot well, Naphesa of course did well, Jackie drove really well today, we just played to our strengths and we're having fun."
The U.S. limited Russia to 3-of-22 (13.6 %) shooting for the game and 0-for-6 from behind the 2-point arc.
"I don’t think either team played a great game, but I thought we played pretty good defense overall and we’re trying to do little things, like rebound, and that really helped," said Collier, who recently won gold playing with the USA National Team at the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup.
"Tomorrow, I think we’ll have three really hard games, so it was good to have these three games just to prepare and get ready," said Collier.
"I think we’re putting people in position where they’re going to score. We know where each other like the ball and we’re moving really well right now and doing the little things like rebounding and things like that," added Collier.
The USA’s scoring through the team's first three preliminary round games has been a balanced effort, with Collier and Young leading the offense with 18 points each, while Bueckers and Hebard have recorded 15 points each.
In its three preliminary round games, the USA has shot a blistering 56.8 percent (54-95 FGs) from the field overall and 35.0 percent (7-20 2pt FGs) from 2-point, while limiting its opponents to a combined 15.2 percent (10-66 FGs) shooting, including holding Dominican Republic, Jordan and Russia to 0-of-20 from beyond the arc.
Additionally, all three games ended before the 10-minute game clock expired.
"We’ve watched a lot of the other teams - France has looked really good, so has the Netherlands. We just have to keep playing tough and hard and hopefully win the rest of our games and get another gold,” said Hebard.
The 2019 ANOC World Beach Games 3x3 competition concludes Wednesday with the medal round quarterfinals, semifinals and finals schedule to take place. As Group A's No. 1 seed, the USA will face Brazil, Group C's No. 2 seed (7:30 a.m. EDT). Should the U.S. win, it will face the winner of the France (3-0) versus Uganda (2-1) quarterfinal in the semifinals (10:50 a.m. EDT) for the right to play in the gold medal game (1:20 p.m. EDT).
The USA team is taking part in the inaugural World Beach Games 3x3 women’s basketball competition at Katara Beach from Oct. 13-16.
The inaugural World Beach Games, which feature beach, water and action sports, are a six-day competition that will include 13 sports and 14 disciplines, with more than 1,200 athletes from 97 nations expected to participate.
"It’s been fun," added Hebard. "I played in Lima (Peru-Pan American Games) this summer, that was fun, now here. It’s always fun to see different teams and get to know people from different countries. It’s always fun to play for USA."
Collier echoed Hebard about the experience. "It’s been really cool. It’s hot, but it’s been really nice here. It’s beautiful here and we’re around the beach so it’s been nice."