2020 Tokyo Olympics: Team USA Women’s Basketball Creates History with Inaugural Gold in Unique Event

by Suzanne Halliburton

Score a special Tokyo Olympics victory for Team USA and 3X3 basketball.

It’s one of the new sports added to the Tokyo Olympics. And the American women’s team won the first-ever gold medal with its victory over ROC (Russian Olympic Committee).

Given that the United States created basketball, it’s fitting that the country won the first gold for the 3X3 event awarded at the Tokyo Olympics. The team of Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum, Stefanie Dolson, and Jackie Young won gold over the Russians, 18-15. The Tokyo Olympics conducted the tournament at Aomi Urban Sports Park.

In 3X3, the games are quick — they’re only 10 minutes played on a half-court. There is no break following a goal or a foul. The shot clock is 12 seconds. It’s almost like you’re right there at the neighborhood court. Tunes are blasting and you’re watching a terrific game of pickup basketball. Except in this game, the women all were basketball superstars.

“It’s always special to be the first of anything,” Dolson said during an interview with NBC following the gold-medal game.”Basketball runs deep in the USA blood. So for us to have this accomplishment as well and to hopefully start something is really special.”

Added Plum, who scored five points: “This is really cool. I just feel super blessed.”

Dolson scored a team-high seven points in the gold medal game. Outside the Olympics, she’s the center for the WNBA’s Chicago Sky.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

U.S. Team Posted 8-1 Record at Tokyo Olympics

The U.S. team posted an 8-1 record at the Tokyo Olympics. Their lone loss came to Japan in pool play, after the Americans clinched a spot in the medal round. The United States beat France, 18-16, in the semifinals to set up their matchup against the Russians.

The U.S. women’s basketball team also is expected to win the gold at the Tokyo Olympics. The team is stacked with experienced superstars. For example, Sue Bird is the starting point guard who carried the American flag in the opening ceremonies Parade of Nations. This is her fifth Olympics.

So 3X3 allowed other American stars the chance to soak up the golden Olympic experience. Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young were both WNBA No. 1 draft picks. Three of the four players won NCAA titles.

And the Americans even overcame Covid-19 to win gold. Young was a last-second addition to the team and called up while she was on vacation in Florida. Katie Lou Samuelson was supposed to be the fourth player. But she didn’t clear Covid protocols before arriving at the Tokyo Olympics. So Young received a call. She first went to Las Vegas, then traveled with the team to Japan.

On the men’s side, Latvia clinched the gold medal with a 21-18 victory over ROC.