USA women’s 3×3 locks in top seed ahead of medal round

3x3 Basketball - Olympics: Day 2
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After a nailbiter against China, the United States women’s 3×3 basketball team has secured the no. 1 seed, earning a bye into the semifinals. The women’s 3×3 team includes four active WNBA players, all who are making their Olympic debut in Japan. 

With the two teams tied at 19, Kelsey Plum scored the game-winning two-point shot. Plum also led the team with 10 points. You can stream the replay of the win over China on Earlier in the day, Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings) and Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky) each tallied 6 points in the 17-13 win over Italy. 

The USA will take on Japan in their final game of the opening round on Tuesday at 12:30 am ET. The semifinals begin July 28 at 4:00 am ET.

About Olympic women’s 3×3 basketball

Four players, 10 minutes, first to 21 wins.

That is Olympic 3×3 (pronounced “three-ex-three”) in a nutshell. It’s the halfcourt game we played as children with a real Olympic medal as the highest prize. The game is quick and with things like emcees and limited game stoppages, it’s fun to watch and exciting to play.

“There’s really no difference in the game. Basketball is basketball. The biggest thing for me is just make sure I’m in good cardio shape, because I know 3×3 is such a fast-paced game. So for me, it’s just narrowing in on my cardio,” said Gray.

The game also attracts foreign dignitaries. United States First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron filled the role of fans as their respective countries faced off in the opening round Saturday.

3x3 Basketball - Olympics: Day 1
TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 24: U.S. First Lady, Jill Biden cheers on Team USA prior to the Women’s Pool Round match on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Aomi Urban Sports Park on July 24, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“What an honor and what an opportunity to play in front of the first lady,” said first-time Olympian Kelsey Plum, saying the team invited her back for more games. When playing in a fanless stadium, I’m sure it’s nice to have someone rooting for you.

Even better if that someone calls The White House home these days. “As soon as we walked out, we saw her in the stands. She waved and she brought all the energy, so we are grateful for that,” Plum added.

United States – Olympic 3×3 basketball Roster

The United States are the favorites after going undefeated in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT). Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces) is a late addition to the team after Katie Lou Samuelson (Seattle Storm) tested positive for COVID-19 and was deemed ineligible for the team. Young joins Las Vegas Aces teammate Plum on the Olympic roster. Gray (Dallas Wings) rounds out the squad seeking to remain the top team in Tokyo.

Kara Lawson – Olympic gold medalist and current Duke women’s basketball head coach – serves as the head coach for the United States. In 3×3 basketball, coaches are not permitted to communicate with their team during the competition. 

The full Olympic 3×3 schedule can be found here.

The NBC Olympics research team contributed to this report.

Follow Erica L. Ayala on Twitter @Elindsay08

To stay updated on the biggest news in women’s sports at the Tokyo Olympics (and beyond), be sure to follow On Her Turf on InstagramTwitter, and bookmark the On Her Turf blog.

During the Olympics, you can also catch up on all of the major storylines in women’s sports by watching “On Her Turf @ The Olympics,” a 30-minute show that will stream for free on Peacock. Hosted by Lindsay Czarniak, MJ Acosta-Ruiz, and Lolo Jones, the show kicks off on Saturday, July 24, and will stream every day of the Games (Monday-Saturday at 7pm ET and Sundays at 6pm ET).