USA Women Advance to Quarterfinals at FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament with 4-0 Record
The USA 3x3 Women’s National Team beat Germany (2-2) 21-12 and Uruguay (0-4) 22-5 at the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament on May 29 in Graz, Austria, to claim a 4-0 record and Pool A’s No. 1 seed for the quarterfinals, where it will meet Belarus, the No. 2 team from Pool C at 8:50 a.m. EDT on May 30.
The quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals, and the semifinal winners will earn two of the Olympic berths on the line at this event. The two semifinal losing teams will play for third place, and the final women’s Olympic bid. The games are live at FIBA’s 3x3 You Tube Channel.
“I think we did some really good things today,” said Katie Lou Samuelson (Seattle Storm/Connecticut/Huntington Beach, Calif.). “We came in after having a really good first day with two good wins, and we wanted to make sure we got even better from there. We really focused on improving today, and we feel good about how we capped off pool play.”
In its first game the USA led 6-2, but with her third 2-pointer to start the game, Germany’s Satou Sabally, the No. pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft and a Dallas Wings teammate of USA guard Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings/South Carolina/Sandersville, Ga.), pulled her team even at 6-6 at 6:34. A free throw from Samuelson and 2 from Gray gave the USA a 9-6 advantage, but Germany closed the margin to 10-9 at 5:11. Samuelson and Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky/Connecticut/Port Jervis, N.Y.) added points to make it 12-9, and that was the start of a 9-3 USA run to close the game.
Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces/Washington/Poway, Calif.) scored all seven of her points among the USA’s last nine scores, including the game-winning free throw with 54.5 seconds on the clock to seal the 21-12 USA win. Samuelson added six points, Gray had five and Dolson had three.
“We're super happy,” Dolson said. “We're learning a little bit more about our team after every game. I’m really proud of how we've been playing and how hard we've been playing. So, we're looking forward to tomorrow. We are going to prepare, focus on ourselves and play our game.”
The USA’s 22-5 win over Uruguay saw Dolson, Gray and Samuelson each score six points and Plum add four, and the USA jumped ahead 7-0 and never looked back. By the time Dolson made a 2 at 5:41, all four U.S. team members had made a 2-pointer, and the USA led 14-3. The USA would make six 2s in the game, including Gray’s final 2, which gave the USA the 22-5 win with 3:05 on the clock.
“We knew going into the Uruguay game we wanted to run some of the things we haven't had a chance to, so that we are fully prepared for whatever defense is thrown at us,” Dolson said. “So, we're happy, and proud of the way we have played over the last couple of days, and we are looking forward to tomorrow.”
The three other quarterfinal games feature Japan (4-0) – Switzerland (3-1) at 6:45 a.m. (all times listed are EDT); Hungary (4-0) – France (3-1) at 7:10 a.m.; and Spain (3-1) – Australia (3-1) at 9:15 a.m. on May 30.
The semifinal games are at 11:30 and 11:55 a.m., and the third-place game is at 2:25 p.m.
“We are super excited,” Samuelson said. “I think we're all happy that we play right away tomorrow – we get to go right into it, because I think we're ready to go. It's the most exciting part of the tournament.”
3x3 basketball is played with a 12-second shot clock on a half court. Baskets inside the arc and free throws are worth one point, and baskets made from outside the arc are worth two points. The winner is the first team to score 21 points, or the leading team at the end of the 10-minute game clock.