USA Women Claim Gold Medal at First FIBA 3x3 AmeriCup
Including a 21-9 win over Brazil (4-1) in the gold medal game, the USA 3x3 Women's AmeriCup Team (5-0) cruised undefeated to the gold medal at the inaugural FIBA 3x3 AmeriCup on Sunday at Bayfront Park in Miami.
USA center Brionna Jones (Connecticut Sun/Maryland/Havre de Grace, Md.), who led the women’s event in scoring with 8.2 points per game, was named tournament MVP. Brazil’s Sassa Fausto Goncalves and Canada’s Michelle Plouffe rounded out the all-tournament team.
“I was excited to come down to Miami and play 3x3 basketball for the first time, and it feels good to get the gold medal on my first try,” Jones said. “I just wanted to come out here and do whatever I needed to do to help the team win a gold medal.”
The gold medalist men’s and women’s teams from the FIBA 3x3 AmeriCup earned a berth into the 2022 FIBA 3x3 World Cup, however, the USA women already were qualified by virtue of the USA’s gold medal finish at the Tokyo Olympic Games 3x3 tournament.
In the 21-9 gold medal win over Brazil, the USA blew the game open with an 8-0 run that culminated with a 2-pointer from Haley Gorecki (Duke/Palatine, Ill.) that brought the score to 10-2 in in the USA’s favor at 7:06. The closest Brazil got from that point on was five points, 14-9 at 4:58, but the USA held Brazil scoreless for the remainder of the game. The USA compiled seven unanswered points and secured the win with a Gorecki 2-pointer at 2:05.
Jones had seven points and four rebounds in the finals; Cierra Burdick (Seattle Storm/Tennessee/Charlotte, N.C.) finished with six points and six rebounds; Gorecki contributed five points and three rebounds; and Blake Dietrick (Princeton/Wellesley, Mass.) scored three points and grabbed three rebounds.
“I think we just had an amazing team,” Dietrick said. “I loved playing with them, and the whole experience was awesome.”
The USA's semifinal contest against Puerto Rico was tight through the first half, and the score was 10-9 in the USA's favor at 6:38. The USA launched an 8-0 run, however, to turn the tide and lead 18-9 at 3:52. Jones ended the game with a score inside at 3:02 that gave the USA the 21-11 victory.
Burdick finished with seven points and five rebounds; Jones had six points; Dietrick scored five points and collected three rebounds; and Gorecki contributed three points and four rebounds.
“There was some tough competition out here,” Jones said. “But we were able to execute our sets, and we played well.”
The USA was in control throughout its 21-7 quarterfinal win over Dominican Republic (1-3). After jumping out to a 6-1 lead, Dominican Republic came within three points, 7-4 at 7:02, but a 5-0 run gave the USA a 12-4 lead and the game's momentum.
Dominican Republic tried to slow the USA down by fouling, but the USA shot a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line. Six of those free throws came from Jones, who led the USA with 11 points in the game. Gorecki scored five points to go with a team-high five rebounds; Dietrick contributed three points; and Burdick tallied two points and three rebounds.
“They wanted to be super physical and not let us get into our stuff, and that's fine because we can make free throws,” Dietrick said. “I think we can win multiple ways on this team.”
Canada (4-1) beat Puerto Rico (2-3) 18-12 in the bronze medal game.
The USA 3x3 Men’s AmeriCup Team (5-0) also won the gold medal at the event, defeating Brazil 21-15. The U.S. men already were qualified for the 2022 FIBA 3x3 World Cup based on the USA’s 3x3 federation ranking points as of Nov. 1, 2021.
Joe Lewandowski (Point Park University), who has been coaching/advising USA Basketball 3x3 national teams since 2014, served as head coach for the USA men’s and women’s teams.