USA Women Claim Stop 1 Title at 2022 FIBA 3x3 U23 Nations League
The USA Basketball 3x3 U23 Nations League Teams completed the first stop of the 2022 FIBA 3x3 U23 Nations League of the Americas conference on Saturday with the U.S. women winning their final in thrilling fashion, 18-17, over Argentina in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The Americans went 3-0 on the but their 2-0 performance in the Women’s Pool A began with an impressive victory over Puerto Rico, 21-12. The U.S. was balanced throughout, with each player scoring at least four points. Maddy Westbeld had a game-high eight points to lead the USA and was the force behind a late 7-0 run that put the game away.
The U.S. was locked in defensively against Chile, holding them to two baskets in the game (21-2). The Americans jumped to an 11-1 lead in the first few minutes, earning a comfortable lead. Aaliyah Moore led the way with eight points and Alyssa Ustby added six as the USA clinched a final match up with Pool B winner, Argentina.
The USA appeared to be in control of the final, leading 14-10, with two minutes left to play. However, the Argentinians rallied to tie the game at 15 by hitting a couple of two-pointers and free throw. The game would be tied three times in the final 90 seconds but Moore found the game in her hands with 2.3 seconds left. Fouled on a put-back attempt, Moore made one of two free-throws to put the U.S. on top. The game ended on a missed corner two-pointer by Argentina.
The U.S. men went 1-1 in the Pool B, beginning with a 22-18 setback to Puerto Rico. Austin Butler scored the USA’s first five points of the game on his way to six total points. Keaton Wallace led all scorers with 11 points, including three two-pointers. The USA nearly rallied from a 20-14 deficit but a Puerto Rican two-pointer ended the contest in the final minute.
USA responded with a strong performance over host, Dominican Republic, 22-14. Eric Dixon was the catalyst for 7-1 start for the red, white and blue, scoring three of his five points in the opening three minutes. The U.S. lead would grow to as many as eight points (18-10) in the 10-minute game. Butler finished with a game-high seven points.
“The group of athletes we have here picked up and embraced 3x3 at a pace I haven’t seen before,” USA 3x3 U23 Nations League head coach Damon Huffman said. “Both the men and women showed an ability to come together as a unit and overcome several challenges at this competition. Their effort, attention to detail and execution of the game plan in a short time frame was impressive. We look forward to competing for the next week.”
Both the men and women return to action for the second stop of the Nations League on Sunday, August 14.
ABOUT FIBA 3x3 NATIONS LEAGUE
The FIBA 3x3 Nations League is comprised of 57 different national federations and 11 difference conferences. Each conference has six one-day events which includes daily pool play and final. Teams earn tour standing points after each one-day event. The best-ranked team in the standings after the sixth day are declared winners of their conference and qualify for the 2022 FIBA 3x3 Nations League Final in Constanta, Romania, on Sept. 14-16.
ABOUT FIBA 3X3
Different than five-on-five, 3x3 is played on a half-court with a 10-minute game clock and 12-second shot clock. Play is continuous, as teams “clear” the ball behind the 2-point line following a made basketball, defensive rebound or steal. The first team to score 21 points via 1-pointer field goals or 2-pointers behind the arc is victorious; or if time expires then the team leading wins.