GOLD! Kelsey Plum Makes 3x3 History At Olympics
That is what Kelsey Plum said during her on-court post-game interview to describe her feelings on Wednesday evening after her U.S. Olympic Women's 3x3 Basketball Team (8-1) captured the first gold in the sport's Olympics history.
While the former Husky standout might have been speechless, Plum and her teammates – Allisha Gray, Stefanie Dolson and Jackie Young – made quite the statement by running away with an 18-15 win over the Russian Olympic Committee (6-3) at Aomi Urban Sports Park.
The U.S. squad dominated from start to finish to complete an impressive run through the tournament. Early on, it was Plum who sparked the Americas. She jumped out with five of her team's first eight points as the U.S. built an 8-3 lead. She would go scoreless the rest of the way, but it did not matter as the Americas turned their focus on pounding the ball down low and taking advantage of early ROC foul trouble.
On the defensive end, the Americans swarmed ROC, especially sharp-shooter Olga Frolkina, who entered the game narrowly edging Plum as the tournament's scoring leader. She was held to one point, largely behind Gray's swarming defense.
The U.S. continually pounded the ball down low to Dolson and drove aggressively to the basket, putting ROC in foul trouble and taking the air out the Russian's physicality. Dolson tallied seven points and dominated the glass with nine rebounds.
The Russians hit the last bucket of the game to make the score 18-15, but the Americans dribbled out the ball and celebrated as the buzzer expired.
Well after the dust had settled, Plum met with the media and was able to better articulate her feelings of capturing a gold medal, especially on the one-year anniversary of walking for the first time after her Achilles surgery.
"An Olympic gold medal is something that I have always wanted to accomplish," she said. "Coming off the Achilles makes it extra sweet. I would say it's the highest (of all my accomplishments through the years.)"
The U.S. beat France, 18-16, in the semifinals to advance to the gold medal game. The Americans never trailed in that game and Plum tied Gray for high-scoring honors with six points each.
Plum, who ended her college career as the NCAA's all-time leading scorer, ended up topping the tournament with a 6.1 points per game average.