USA Advances to Semifinals With 3-0 Mark at FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Montreal Stop
It wasn’t an easy road to a perfect preliminary round record, but the USA (3-0) earned a 3-0 record to finish atop Pool A at the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series stop in Montreal on Sept. 3 and advanced directly to the Sept. 4 semifinals (4:25 p.m. EDT).
Opening the day with an 18-16 overtime win over Germany (1-2), the USA then earned a 15-14 win against Austria (1-2) and closed by edging the Netherlands (1-2) 16-14.
Hailey Van Lith (Louisville/Wenatchee, Wash.) paced the USA in its three victories with 18 points, which tied as the top output on the day, and had four key assists and eight rebounds; Breanna Richardson (Mississippi State/Conyers, Ga.) scored 13 points and grabbed 17 boards; Jordan Reynolds (Tennessee/Portland, Ore.) had 12 points and 11 rebounds; and Camille Zimmerman (Columbia/Mesa, Ariz.) contributed six points and nine boards.
Also advancing to the semifinals was Spain (3-0), which claimed the top spot out of Pool B. The second and third placed teams from each group will play in quarterfinal games, with those winners meeting the No. 1 seeds in the semifinals. Facing off in the two semifinal play-in games are Poland (2-1) versus Austria and Canada (1-2) versus Germany. The championship game is set for a 7:25 p.m. tip-off. There is no consolation game.
“There are not at all,” answered Reynolds after being asked if there are any easy games in 3x3. “There’s a lot of great competition here. Me and my teammates, we knew we had to come out here and set the tone because if you get down just a little bit, that could be the end of the game.
“We’re not completely satisfied (with the three wins),” she added. “We have a few more to go.”
The USA went back and forth with Germany before a 5-0 U.S. run put the Americans up 9-3. Germany worked its way back to within three points, 14-11 at 3:13, but the USA added two scores from Richardson to lead 16-11 at 1:22. While the USA looked poised to win, it went scoreless from the field for the final 1:22. With the USA over the foul limit, Germany made two free throws, and then scored an offensive bucket to cut it to two points, 16-14 at 25.3. Germany tied the game at 16-16 when it scored a 2-pointer at 12.0 seconds. The USA missed its final jumper, and the game went to overtime.
Germany missed two attempts before Richardson scored on a drive. Germany missed its next possession, and Jefferson secured the rebound, which led to a made jump shot from Richardson to seal the 18-16 overtime win.
Richardson had six points and four rebounds, Reynolds and Van Lith each added five points.
Although the USA never trailed, the game against Austria was a tight affair for the first few minutes and after three tied scores, the USA was up 7-6. Three-straight buckets from Van Lith and a put-back and 2-pointer from Richardson pushed the USA’s lead to 13-6 at 3:27. With the scoreboard showing 14-7 with 2:25 left on the clock, Austria began to mount a comeback.
The European side scored the game’s next three points before Richardson got the USA’s final point on the board at 1:23 to make it 15-10. Austria then hit a pair of 1s and a 2-pointer in the final minute and was within striking distance with seven seconds remaining, 15-14. The USA held onto possession of the ball for the waning seconds for the victory.
Richardson scored five points and grabbed six boards against Austria, Van Lith and Zimmerman notched four points and four rebounds apiece and Reynolds, who made a crucial blocked shot with 13.5 seconds to play, finished with two points and three caroms.
“We had trouble finishing the games out,” said Richardson following the USA’s second game. “We’d been up by five or six each time, so we’re going to work on our switches and finishing the game out.”
In its final game of the day, the USA started off strong and jumped to a 5-0 lead. The Netherlands slowly chipped away at the deficit and knotted the game at 9-all on a 2-pointer at 4:14. A Richardson free throw 10 seconds later put the U.S. back on top. However, the Dutch, in need of a win or at least 16 points in order to continue into Saturday’s knockout games, put together a 4-1 spurt to move in front 13-11 with 2:41 on the clock. A 2 from Reynolds tied it up 13-13 and with Netherlands in the bonus, Van Lith was fouled and hit both her attempts to go up 15-13. A Netherlands jumper at 1:33 cut it to 15-14 and neither team was able to knock down a shot and with 7.4 seconds remaining, Reynolds made one of two from the line for the game’s final point.
Van Lith poured in nine points, Reynolds had five points and six caroms and Richardson added two points and seven boards.
The USA is hoping to earn an invitation to the 2021 FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Final that will be played on Sept. 18-19 in Bucharest. The host nation of Romania and the top seven teams in the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series season standings will earn an invitation to the event.
USA teams also participated in the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Constanta stop that was played Aug. 14-15 and won the Klaipeda stop that was played July 30-31.
“It’s always a great experience traveling the world,” added Richardson. “And we’re playing basketball, so it’s pretty cool going to different countries and seeing how the lifestyle and everything is in the other countries.”