Clutch Basket By Plum Keeps U.S. 3x3 Undefeated
Kelsey Plum hit a clutch two-point bucket in the waning moments of the second game of the day to lift the U.S. Olympic 3x3 Women's Basketball Team (6-0) to a 21-19 win over China and push the American squad into the semifinals. Coupled with the team's 17-13 win over Italy earlier on Monday, the U.S. Olympic 3x3 team has clinched the No. 1 seed heading into the medal rounds.
The U.S. wraps up round robin play this evening against host Japan. Tip is scheduled to take place at 9:30 p.m. PT.
Neither the USA or China led by more than two points in the game, and the U.S. made the offensive plays down the stretch to earn the victory. The game was tied up a total of nine times, including at 17-17 when Stefanie Dolson scored at 1:33 to push the U.S. ahead 18-17. China again evened the score 18-18, but Allisha Gray countered on the following possession with 48 seconds to go to lift the U.S. ahead 19-18. China tied the score at 19-all with 41 seconds left, and Plum ended the affair with her game-winning 2-pointer with 34 seconds left on the clock.
Plum scored a game-best 10 points in the win.
"I pride myself on being ready when my number is called and trying to make some plays," Plum said of her game-winner.
"They played really super physical," Plum added about China. "For us, it is tough. This is a hard tournament, and you do not have an easy game. There is no rest. I thought we battled through things, and there were no mistakes. And they hit some big shots, so credit to them for putting up a good fight."
Against Italy in the USA's first contest of the day, the game was tied three times in the first few minutes. But with the USA holding a 7-6 lead midway through the contest, Dolson scored six consecutive points to put the Americans in front 13-10. Italy fired back with its second straight 2-pointer, however, to close within one point, 13-12. After swapping baskets, Plum made it 15-13 with under a minute to play, and neither team was able to connect from the field from there. With 18.7 seconds remaining and Italy over the foul limit, Gray swished in two free throws to give the USA a little breathing room and a 17-13 lead. Italy missed on the next possession, and Plum shot a final attempt as the game clock expired.
The USA has won six games in three days and is hoping to play three more games over the next two days.
Following the preliminary round, in which all eight teams play each other once, the first and second placed teams earn an automatic berth into the semifinals on July 28, and the third through sixth placed teams will meet in semifinal play-in games on July 27 at 4:30 a.m. PT and 5:50 a.m. The seventh and eighth place teams after the preliminary round conclude their Olympic play.
On July 28, in addition to the USA's 1 a.m. PDT matchup, the second semifinal is set for 2:10 a.m. PDT. Also on July 28, the semifinal losers will meet in the bronze medal game at 4:45 a.m., and the semifinal winners will play in the gold medal game at 5:55 a.m.
Information from this story was gathered from USA Basketball. For more stats, schedules and information, visit: https://www.usab.com.