U.S. Olympic 3x3 Team Goes 2-0 in Debut of New Olympic Sport
The U.S. Olympic 3x3 Women’s Basketball Team (2-0) topped the world No. 1 ranked women’s federation, France (1-1), 17-10 and followed that up with a 21-9 rout of Mongolia (0-2) on the inaugural day of 3x3 basketball in Olympic history at Aomi Urban Sports Park on Saturday in Tokyo.
The USA next will play Romania (0-2) at 4:30 a.m. (all times listed are EDT) and Russian Olympic Committee (2-0) at 8:25 a.m. on July 25. Streaming and broadcast information is available at USA Basketball’s Olympic schedule page.
Against France, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden in attendance, the USA led 5-4 and then went on a 4-1 run before France scored three points to pull to within one point, 9-8. From there, a 5-0 spurt that was capped by a 2-pointer from Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces/Washington/Poway, Calif.) gave the USA a 14-8 lead, and the Americans finished off the game for the 17-10 win.
"It was more on the defense side – we were focused on limiting them in transition, because that’s what kind of hurt us the last time we played them (at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament)," said Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings/South Carolina/Sandersville, Ga.). "So, we just had to key in on our game plan."
Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky/Connecticut/Port Jervis, N.Y.), who shot 7-of-8 from the field and collected six rebounds, led the USA with seven points, Plum added six points, Gray added three points and five rebounds and Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces/Notre Dame/Princeton, Ind.) scored one point and grabbed four boards.
French president Emmanuel Macron also was in the stands for the USA versus France.
“What an honor and what an opportunity to play in front of the First Lady,” Plum said. “We are excited to get the win for her. We asked her to come back, so hopefully she has time for us. I loved it. As soon as we walked out, we saw her in the stands. She waved and she brought all the energy, so we are grateful for that.”
In its second game against Mongolia the USA was in control from start to finish and led 11-1 when Plum sank a 2-pointer at 6:20. Mongolia made two 2-pointers before the USA ended it with a score from Dolson with 3:00 minutes left on the game clock. Gray was 4-of-5 from 2-point on her way to nine points, while Plum scored six points, Dolson added five points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots and Young had one point and four rebounds.
“I think just getting more comfortable with each other really,” Dolson said of the improvements the Americans made against Mongolia. “They're a tough team to play against defensively, because they set a million screens. We're not used to switching. I'm not used to being screened. So, I don't think we were great defensively. But offensively, we're just going to continue to work on spacing. These are the first few games that we've played with Jackie, so we're just kind of finding that chemistry.”
After its two games tomorrow, the USA on July 26 will take on Italy (1-1) at 4:55 a.m. (all times listed are EDT) and China (1-1) at 8 a.m. And on July 27, the USA will wrap up preliminary round play against host Japan (1-1) at 12:30 a.m.
Following the preliminary round, in which all eight teams play each other once, the first and second placed teams earn an automatic berth into the semifinals on July 28, and the third through sixth placed teams will meet in semifinal play-in games on July 27 at 7:30 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. The seventh and eighth place teams after the preliminary round conclude their Olympic play.
On July 28, the semifinals are set for 4 a.m. and 5:10 a.m., the bronze medal game will be played at 7:45 a.m. and the gold medal game tips off at 8:55 a.m.
The USA 3x3 coach is Kara Lawson (Duke University). In FIBA 3x3 play coaching is not allowed during games.