Women’s U18 National Team Named USA Basketball’s 3x3 Team of the Year
Sean Shapiro, Red Line Editorial
Dec 9, 2022
USA Basketball has been accustomed to success from its national teams. When it comes to the newest discipline of international basketball, the USA 3x3 U18 Women’s National Team has continued the tradition.
Back in August, the women were exceptional at the 2022 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup in Debrecen, Hungary, coming away with what is the fourth consecutive gold for the U.S. at that tournament. For that reason, and their overall performance, the 3x3 U18 Women’s National Team has been named USA Basketball’s 3x3 National Team of the Year.
“The U18 Women's World Cup Team won its fourth consecutive FIBA 3x3 U18 gold medal by an average of nearly 10 points, demonstrating how well they came together as a team to represent USA Basketball,” USA Basketball CEO JimTooley said. “These women are important to the growth of women’s 3x3 both here and abroad.”
The team consisted of Kamorea “KK” Arnold, SarahStrong, MikaylahWilliams and SaharaWilliams. Despite Mikaylah Williams being the only one with previous 3x3 experience, the four women proved to be a tough combination to stop. They outscored opponents 142-73 while going 7-0.
The U.S. opened the tournament with a 16-8 win against Egypt and later that day defeated Mongolia 21-10. The Americans then defeated Kyrgyzstan 21-4 and Ukraine 21-12 to round out pool play.
This setup a quarterfinal matchup with the Netherlands, which the Americans won 21-15. The American women got back to their dominant ways and quickly dispatched Spain in the semifinal, winning 21-13. The U.S. then defeated Germany 21-11 in the final. This World Cup gold is the fourth in a row for the U.S., and the sixth in nine total 3x3 U18 World Cups since the tournament began in 2011.
Mikaylah Williams led the way for the Americans and was named the tournament MVP for the second consecutive World Cup. She also had a game-high nine points in the final, though she wasn’t the only one that impressed.
Sahara Williams, who was making her USA Basketball debut, added six points in the final. She helped set the tone against the Germans with a pair of key blocks in the first five minutes.
Arnold found many ways to contribute throughout the World Cup, highlighted by her go-ahead bucket late in the semifinals that clinched her team a spot in the finals. Strong also pitched in everywhere she could. She was dominant on the boards and was integral in controlling the lead in the final against Germany.
As 3x3 basketball continues to grow internationally, players like Mikaylah Williams and her teammates on the U18 team are helping USA Basketball stay on the forefront of the sport’s exciting new discipline.
This honor is one of several end-of-season USA Basketball awards that will be announced throughout the month.
Sean Shapiro is a freelance contributor to usab.com.