Quotes: USA 3x3 Women Qualify for Olympic Games
Two big wins today and this awesome qualification - what are your thoughts?
We’re just super excited. Really proud of our team. Looking forward to Tokyo. We fought really hard. We knew this was going to be a tough game and just really proud of how we performed.
Can you talk about your presence on the inside during this tournament?
I’m just thankful to have three people I can play with and who can pass me the ball. It's not normal to have a ‘big’ in the game of 3x3, but we made it work. They were able to find me, and I was able to finish, so just really happy.
Can you talk about what it took to defeat these two teams today?
I just knew I wanted this one (semifinal) to be the last game. I didn't want to go to the third-place game, and that gave me more intensity to handle things the first time, so there wouldn’t be any doubt.
What does it feel like to have accomplished this goal you guys have been working so hard for?
All the training, all the effort by all the coaches, all the quarantine, it paid off. We didn't come all the way out here not to win and be able to qualify for the Olympics. We came out here and achieved what we had to do.
Can you talk about what it took on the court to beat Belarus and Spain today?
I think in the first game, it's kind of a wake-up game, because you can warm up all you want, but it's really hard to emulate the pace and speed of 3x3.
I think the biggest overall thing for both games, which is what (coach) Kara (Lawson) has always emphasized, is at the end of the day, it is our pace that helps us win. We continue to find a way to win, and it was really cool to see that happen, especially in the Spain game, because it was pretty close, it was back and forth. So, we’re just really excited. I love this team, and we have a lot of fun.
What is what does it feel like right now to have done what you guys set out to do?
For me, this has been a real journey. I kind of thought my dreams were over, because of the Achilles. And you know, with COVID and everything that's been postponed, it just kind of made it happen. So, I just really grateful for this and trying to enjoy it.
Katie Lou Samuelson
Can you talk about the two games you won today?
I think the pool play games really prepared us for today. We really feel like we were hitting our stride in our two games.
You played at camp to name this team in February 2021, and you trained with the WNT & 3x3 team in January 2021, and you became official team member in March 2021. How has this journey been for you?
It's been exciting. I went to those camps originally, and I got put in as an alternate. One thing I know with USA Basketball is you never know when you're going to be needed, to get called up or when you're going to need to step up. I'm grateful I had this opportunity to fill in, and I feel like we've been playing really well here.
What's it feel like? How, how excited are you right now?
I think all of us still are just kind of soaking it in, just to actually be part of qualifying America for the Tokyo field, because that's awesome.
Kara Lawson (USA 3x3 Coach/Advisor, Duke University Women’s Basketball head coach)
Can you talk about the growth you saw in this tournament and throughout the journey to get here?
This process started for us in January of 2020 – just trying to get our qualifying team together. And then, obviously, everything got put on hold with COVID, and we had to wait a year. We started again at the end of January this year, together, and then we periodically trained. We trained without (Katie Lou Samuelson) for most all of the training sessions, except for one, due to her overseas commitments, and we just got better and better.
Every one of my teams over the years in 3x3, the more reps they get in live action, they just grow, they just keep growing, and this team did that. From the first time we played to the quarterfinal game or the semifinal game, they just keep growing, and they keep understanding it, the nuances of it, more and more, figuring out where they can influence the game with their skill and with their physicality.
Obviously, it's really hard to do when you're playing against seasoned 3x3 veterans on most teams. And for them to gel together this quickly and secure a bid to Tokyo is pretty remarkable. And then, on top of that, being a part of the historic first competition – I think that's pretty cool.