Basketball has become a staple at the Olympics. Whenever the Summer Games roll around, eyes all around the world (and particularly in America) fixate toward the basketball tournaments that feature NBA and WNBA elites.
This held true once again for Tokyo, but with a twist — basketball 3×3 was added to the mix.
While similar to 5-on-5 basketball in principle, 3×3 is a much different game from its more popular counterpart. There are only four players on a team (three allowed on the court at a time), it’s played on a half court instead of a full-sized court, the ball is smaller, there are no three-pointers and games can be won in two ways — be the first to 21 or have the highest score through 10 minutes.
The basketball 3×3 competition in Tokyo was must-see hoops action for fans around the world, and it certainly did not disappoint.
Team USA’s regular women’s basketball squad was looking to make history in Tokyo by winning its seventh-straight gold medal, but the women’s 3×3 team ended up making some history of its own.
The U.S. women made it all the way to the gold medal game and took down the ROC to win the first-ever Olympic women’s 3×3 title. As if the U.S. needed any more notoriety in the sport of basketball Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young were dominant in the 3×3 tournament, only losing one game during pool play.
Young, who ended up playing a key defensive role for Team USA, initially didn’t make the 3×3 squad, but Katie Lou Samuelson was unable to compete in Tokyo after testing positive for COVID-19, giving Young an opportunity to play alongside her WNBA peers.
China also took home a medal from the 3×3 tournament. After going 5-2 during pool play, the Chinese quartet of Yang Shuyu, Zhang Zhiting, Wan Jiyuan and Wang Lili took down the French to earn their first 3×3 bronze.
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