USA 3x3 Men & Women Open with Two Wins Apiece at Big Twelve International
The USA 3x3 Men’s and Women’s National Teams took the court Friday at the Big Twelve International 3x3 Tournament in Voiron, France, and both teams wrapped up day one at the warm-up event with 2-0 records.
The USA 3x3 Men’s National Team (2-0) defeated Last Call/Algeria 21-7 and Ukraine B 21-7, both with time remaining on the game clock.
The USA 3x3 Women’s National Team (2-0) started with a 22-9 victory against Ukraine, followed by a 22-12 win against France B.
The USA teams will be back in action on Saturday, May 22, with the USA men taking on a team still to be determined at 10:40 a.m. ET, and the USA women beginning against a TBD team at 11:20 a.m. ET.
After completing games at the Big Twelve International on May 23, the U.S. squads will depart for the May 26-30 FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz, Austria, where an Olympic berth will go to the top three finishing men’s teams and top three women’s teams. A total of 20 men’s and 20 women’s national teams will be competing at the Olympic Qualifier.
In today’s contests, the USA men were hot from deep, scoring eight 2-pointers in a 21-7 win over Algeria/Last Call that ended with 3:13 on the clock. The winning bucket was scored by Joey King (Minnesota/Eagan, Minn.), who joined the team as an alternate just a few days ago.
In the USA men’s second game, the USA made five 2-pointers and won 21-7 with 3:05 remaining on the camp clock.
“You know, it felt great,” King said. “From my perspective, it was a little bit of short notice for this tournament, but with 3x3 and in the FIBA World Tour, I'm always ready to compete at any time. I'm thankful for the opportunity, and it definitely felt good to get out there with the guys today.”
Dominique Jones (Fort Hays State/Harlem, N.Y.) had five points in both games today; Robbie Hummel (Purdue/Valparaiso, Ind.) had four points in each game; and Kareem Maddox (Princeton/Los Angeles, Calif.) added three points against Last Call.
“I think for both games we had great warm-ups, and that gave us the opportunity to come out and play at a high level from the first checkups,” King added. “Obviously, when you're out there, you're in the flow shooting the ball and you're going to feed off your teammates, and that's definitely what we did. Domo hitting that first big 3-pointer to start our day definitely felt good, and it never really stopped from there.”
The USA women opened with a 22-9 win that saw Olivia Cochran (Columbus, Ga.) suit up for the USA. Cochran joined the team in France as an alternate.
“It felt good to be back playing 3x3,” Cochran said. “It just felt good to be back on the court period. It’s been a little over two months since I’ve been on the court. It felt good to build chemistry with my teammates and get some new experience. I mean, they're pros, so they make me better.”
The USA women also reached 22 points in a 22-12 win over France B in their second victory on the day. Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky/Connecticut/Port Jervis, N.Y.) scored the first four points for the USA, and Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces/Washington/Poway, Calif.) made a 2-pointer to end it.
“I saw a lot of physicality,” Cochran added of what she observed in the USA’s second win. “More ball movement and talking, just a lot of chemistry. It looked like they had played together before. It was awesome to see.”
The USA women’s team is rounded out by Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings/South Carolina/Sandersville, Ga.) and Katie Lou Samuelson (Seattle Storm/Connecticut/Huntington Beach, Calif.).