When 3x3 Basketball made its debut in this year's Olympics, it was a major disappointment for the United States to not have their Men's 3x3 Basketball team qualify for the tournament. The good news is, the women's team not only qualified for the tournament, but now stand atop the world in the new Olympic category.
The U.S. Women's 3x3 Basketball team completed their wire-to-wire run through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, beating the Russian Olympic Committee 18-15 to win the gold medal match. The Americans led ROC by a score of 12-5 at one point before a spirited rally by their opponent, who pulled in to within 12-9 before Team USA pulled away.
The U.S. Women's team -- comprised of WNBA stars Kelsey Plum, Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, and Jackie Young -- were nearly flawless on their path to gold, earning victories over Mongolia, Romania, Italy, and China once before beating France and Russia twice. The only blemish on their Olympic record was a loss to Japan, which came in their final group game and with a bye in the semis already secure.
While the women's 3x3 team was a star-studded unit featuring four the WNBA stars and national championship-winning players in college, the group had to overcome the adversity of losing Katie Lou Samuelson to a positive COVID test. Individually, the victory was enormously rewarding for Plum: Despite being the all-time leading scorer in the history of college women's basketball, Plum was never able to win a national championship during her collegiate career.
As the American women celebrated their 3x3 triumph, the Men's side of the tournament came down to a battle between Russia and Latvia, with Latvia prevailing 21-18 to earn gold. In standard basketball, the U.S. Men's team rebounded from a disappointing loss to France with a blowout victory over Iran.