U.S. wins first-ever Olympic 3×3 gold in Tokyo
From here on out I’ll like to be addressed as “Gold Medal Lish” ? pic.twitter.com/0yGKiWlnJK— Allisha Gray (@Graytness_15) July 28, 2021
In the inaugural 3×3 basketball Olympic competition, the U.S. Olympic 3×3 Women’s Basketball Team (8-1) won the gold medal beating the Russian Olympic Committee (6-3) 18-15 on Wednesday night in Tokyo at Aomi Urban Sports Park.
The game went down the final minute as Russia battled and tied the game up with 57.6 seconds left.
“They were really strong,” USA team member Stefanie Dolson said. “I mean, we knew going into it that Russia was one of the strongest, physically, teams here. They battled. They doubled. But thankfully, my teammates were able to make a lot of plays. We got them in foul trouble early. But the physicality of 3×3 in general is just unlike any other game, but it kind of makes it fun.”
The U.S began the tournament on a high note, beating France (5-5) 17-10, the team that entered the Olympics as the top seed. The win was even more special as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden was in the stands along with French President Emmanuel Macron. Both Biden and Macron greeted their respective teams postgame.
The U.S. continued to run through the tournament, holding off upset-minded squads. After six undefeated games in the preliminary round, the USA qualified automatically for a quarterfinal bye and secured a spot in the semifinals. With their place in the semis solidified, Team USA fell to Japan in the final game of the preliminary round 20-18 to head into the next stage, still leading the pack, with a 6-1 record.
In the semifinals, the U.S. downed France again 16-14 and entered the gold medal round.
Dolson (Chicago Sky) led the U.S. in the final game in points and rebounds (seven points, nine rebounds).
“It is incredible,” Dolson said. “Basketball runs deep in the USA, and to pull this off and win gold is incredible.”
Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces) scored five points, Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings contributed four points and corralled six boards, and Jackie Young (Las Vegas) put up two points. Throughout the tournament, Plum led all scorers at 6.1 ppg.
“An (Olympic) gold medal, that’s like top tier of my career,” said Gray. “I think the only way to top this is to win another gold medal. I don’t think any other accomplishment of my career can top this. The gold medal sits at the very top.”
The USA added Young to the team after the withdrawal of Katie Lou Samuelson due to illness from Covid-19.
Young was on vacation already during the WNBA’s Olympic break when she received the news that USA Basketball selected her to replaced Samuelson.
“I didn’t know if I was going to be on the team but knew that there was a chance, and so I just had to go. I flew out to Vegas the next morning, got tested, started the whole protocol, that stuff, and that’s how it worked out. And then I flew out to Tokyo.”
Duke University head coach and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Kara Lawson coached the team.
Final Olympic 3×3 Standings
- USA 8-1