History Made! US Women's Team Wins First Gold Medal in 3-on-3 Basketball Olympic Debut
Another historic win for Team USA is in the books!
The U.S. women's 3-on-3 basketball team won the sport's first-ever gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.
The team — which includes WNBA players Stephanie Dolson (the Chicago Sky), Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young (the Las Vegas Aces), and Allisha Gray (the Dallas Wings) — beat Russia with an 18-15 final score and took home the gold at Tokyo's Aomi Urban Sports Park on Wednesday evening.
The U.S. team locked down a strong 7-2 lead and continued to pull ahead thanks to solid defense. Dolson scored the most points for the team with seven, while Plum followed close behind with five.
Earlier in the day, the U.S. team beat France 18-16 to earn their spot in the gold medal game. They came into the final game with just one loss during the tournament, against Japan.
With the latest victory in 3-on-3, the U.S. now has 11 gold medals through the Tokyo Games, just behind Japan and China, which have 13 and 12, respectively.
Their victory comes after the women's team lost Katie Lou Samuelson, who had to sit out this year's games after testing positive for COVID-19 just before the start of the tournament. Samuelson was placed into COVID-19 health and safety protocols the weekend of July 17, ESPN reported.
"I am devastated to share that after getting sick with COVID-19, I will not be able to go an compete in Tokyo," Samuelson posted on Instagram, adding, "I am especially heartbroken as I am fully vaccinated and took every precaution, but I know everything will work itself out in the way it's supposed to."
With Samuelson out, the team brought on Young, who previously played for the USA Basketball 3-on-3 national team at the 2019 World Beach Games in Doha, Qatar.
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This year marks the first time 3-on-3 basketball has been featured in the Olympic Games. The sport, which features 10-minute-long games, is played in an outdoor arena half the size of a traditional basketball court. Players also use a smaller ball, and a DJ provides a soundtrack to the game.
"From a spectator's point of view, it's fun to watch, energetic, never a dull moment," Gray told NPR. "Overall, it's just fun to play."
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.