U.S. Olympic 3x3 Team Battles Its Way to Two More Wins on Day Two
The U.S. Olympic 3x3 Women’s Basketball Team upended Romania (0-4) 22-11 and then earned a hard-fought 20-16 win over Russian Olympic Committee (3-1) to improve to 4-0 after two days of competition at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo.
On July 26, the USA will take on Italy (2-2) at 4:55 a.m. EDT and China (3-1) at 8 a.m. EDT. Streaming and broadcast information is available at the USA Basketball Olympic schedule page.
Against Romania, the USA was led by 12 points from Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces/Washington/Poway, Calif.), who was 7-of-7 from inside the arc.
The game was tight for the first few minutes. With the USA holding a 7-6 edge, Plum sunk a 2-pointer with 6:47 on the clock to spark a 6-1 run that ended with a field goal by Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky/Connecticut/Port Jervis, N.Y.) that put the USA up 13-7. The U.S. continued to pull away from there, and with 2:39 to play, Plum sealed the game with a 2-pointer to give the U.S. a 22-11 victory. The USA forced 10 turnovers and shot 75.0% from the field (18-24 FGs), including a red-hot 88.9% from inside the arc (16-18 1pt FGs).
“I think we just started to execute better,” Young said of the USA’s run against Romania. “We got locked in after a little bit. I think in the beginning, we weren't executing as well as we should have been.”
Dolson contributed six points, and Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings/South Carolina/Sandersville, Ga.) and Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces/Notre Dame/Princeton, Ind.) chipped in two points apiece.
In its game against Russian Olympic Committee the USA trailed 5-2 before Plum and Gray combined for four straight points to give the USA a 7-5 lead, but Russian Olympic Committee answered right back, and the USA fell behind 10-7. Gray tied the game 10-10 at 3:44, but the USA again found itself down 14-11 at 2:55. Dolson was fouled at 2:47, and with ROC over the foul limit, Dolson stepped to the line and made both free throws to pull the Americans within one point, 14-13.
After forcing a ROC turnover, Gray netted a 2-pointer, which was followed by a Plum drive, and the USA was in the lead 16-14. ROC scored at 1:38 to make it 16-15, but the momentum had swung to the U.S. side. The Americans closed out the game with a point from each athlete and gave up just one more score to ROC to bring the game to its 20-16 final as time expired.
“I think we expected that, that they were going to play super physical and the fouls were going to be pretty high, but I thought we played through it for the most part,” Plum said. “They're a really good team, and they've been playing together as you can see. They make a lot of really good reads. So, I'm just proud of the way we battled. We could have gotten down on ourselves when we got down early, but we didn't, and we got the win.”
Gray led the USA with eight points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Dolson and Plum added five apiece, and Young contributed two points and two rebounds.
After facing Italy and China on July 26, the USA will wrap up preliminary round play on July 27 against host Japan (3-1) at 12:30 a.m. EDT.
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 coach is Kara Lawson (Duke University). In FIBA 3x3 basketball, coaches are not allowed during games.