June 23, 2021 

Four WNBA players highlight inaugural U.S. Olympic 3×3 Basketball Team

First-time Olympians Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum, and Katie Lou Samuelson will represent the red, white, and blue in Tokyo

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Back in 2017, the International Olympic Committee added 3×3 basketball as a new Olympic event starting at the 2020 Tokyo Games. On Wednesday morning, USA Basketball announced that four WNBA players would represent the red, white, and blue in the inaugural event this summer: Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum, and Katie Lou Samuelson.

All four players on the 3×3 roster are young, first-time Olympians, but that fact will not hold them back in Tokyo. Each player has a proven track record of international and overall basketball success and excellence:

Dolson, a member of the USA National Team since 2013, is 42-3 all-time with Team USA and has won two FIBA gold medals. She is also a two-time WNBA All-Star and currently plays for the Chicago Sky, averaging 7.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest this season. While in college at UConn, Dolson helped lead the Huskies to two straight National Titles (2013 & 2014).

Gray, the 2017 WNBA Rookie of the Year, holds a 17-2 overall record with Team USA. She was named to the 2012 USA Basketball U18 National Team but missed the FIBA Americas Championship due to injury. She currently plays for the Dallas Wings and is averaging 9.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per contest this summer. In college, Gray helped lead South Carolina to the 2017 National Championship.

Plum has won multiple international medals in her career and is 44-3 all time while playing for Team USA. She is currently a member of the Las Vegas Aces and is averaging 12.9 points and 3.1 assists per game this season. Back in her college days at Washington, Plum was the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer with 3,500+ career points.

Samuelson’s spot on the Olympic roster makes her the first USA basketball player to compete in both the Youth Olympic Games and an Olympic Games. She holds a 55-2 overall record with Team USA and has won multiple gold medals internationally. Samuelson currently plays for the Seattle Storm and is averaging 6.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game this year. In college at UConn, Samuelson helped the Huskies capture the 2016 National Title.

The team will be coached by Olympic gold medalist, ESPN analyst, and current Duke women’s basketball head coach Kara Lawson. Lawson, a former WNBA All-Star herself, has found success leading Team USA in the past earning six gold medals in the 3×3 event since 2017. Before joining the Duke Blue Devils in 2020, Lawson was an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics making her one of the first female coaches in the NBA.

“I’m thrilled for these four women, all first-time Olympians!” Lawson said in a press release. “Their dedication these past 18 months to help position USA Basketball in Tokyo is being rewarded. Now, the real work begins.”

Lawson will only guide the team during game preparations as 3×3 rules do not allow coaching during games. USA Basketball describes 3×3 basketball as the following:

3×3 basketball is played with a 12-second shot clock on a half-court. Baskets inside the arc and free throws are worth one point, and baskets made from outside the arc are worth two points. The winner is the first team to score 21 points or the leading team at the end of the 10-minute game clock. Each team consists of four players, three on the court and one substitute per team.

The women’s team selection committee is made up of three people: USA Basketball Youth & Sport Development Director Jay Demings, USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director Carol Callan, and athlete representative, two-time Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Whalen

Eight teams will compete in the 3×3 event next month, including the USA, China, France, Italy, Japan, Mongolia, Romania, and Russia. The competition will take place at the Aomi Urban Sports Park from July 24 – 28. 

Written by Sara Stanley

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