Familiar Faces To Represent U.S. In Olympic Debut Of 3x3 Basketball
by Todd Kortemeier
Kelsey Plum, Katie Lou Samuelson, Allisha Gray and Stefanie Dolson will compete at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Who better to go after the first Olympic 3x3 basketball medal than the women who secured Team USA’s spot in the Games in the first place?
The U.S. team of Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum and Katie Lou Samuelson that went 6-0 at the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in May to book a place in Tokyo was officially made the U.S. Olympic Team Wednesday by USA Basketball. It’s been a long journey to the Games for Team USA, which began Tokyo preparations just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and then reassembled this past winter ahead of Olympic qualifying.
“All the training, all the effort by all the coaches, all the quarantine, it paid off,” Gray told USA Basketball after clinching the Olympic berth. “We didn't come all the way out here not to win and be able to qualify for the Olympics. We came out here and achieved what we had to do.”
While 3x3 basketball is new to the Games, the FIBA 3x3 World Cup has been contested since 2012. U.S. women won the first two gold medals but haven’t medaled at all since 2016. All four members of Team USA will be appearing in their first Olympic Games but all have prior international experience in either 3x3 or the traditional 5x5 game.
Dolson, 29, has played on USA Basketball teams since 2010. Prior to winning the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, she competed in 5x5 with the national team at the 2019 AmeriCup, winning a gold medal. Dolson was a standout on the legendary UConn Huskies program and is one of four players in school history to record at least 1,000 points and 1,000 assists. The 6-foot-5 center for the Chicago Sky was a 2017 WNBA All-Star.
Gray, 26, was first named to the women’s national team pool in 2018, and saw her first international action in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The 6-foot guard was the team’s leading scorer in the tournament with 39 points. The No. 4 overall pick of the Dallas Wings in 2017, Gray was WNBA Rookie of the Year that season.
Plum, 26, played on the most recent FIBA World Cup team that won the gold medal in 2018. Prior to that, the 5-foot-8 guard was the all-time leading scorer in Division I women’s basketball history with 3,527 points in her career with the Washington Huskies. Her 1,109 points in the 2016-17 season were also a record. Plum was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 WNBA Draft and currently plays with the Las Vegas Aces.
Samuelson, 24, has the most USA Basketball experience on the team, going 55-2 in her career wearing red, white and blue. Samuelson was a Youth Olympian in 2014, helping the team win the gold medal in 3x3. A standout at UConn, the 6-foot-3 guard/forward was the No. 4 pick of the Chicago Sky in 2019 and currently plays for the Seattle Storm.
The newly-released Olympic schedule sees Team USA open up Olympic play with the first of seven preliminary round games on July 24 against France. The U.S. will play each of its opponents once in the preliminary round, after which the bottom two teams will be eliminated. The top two teams go right to the semifinals while the No. 3 through No. 6 teams will battle it out in the quarterfinals.