Earlier this spring, an unexpected group rolled through the USA 3×3 National Championship with a perfect 8-0 record in Colorado Springs. Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard, Erin Boley and Oti Gildon of Oregon women’s basketball became the first team to qualify for a World Cup whose players all came from the same institution.
The favorite was the USA Basketball team consisting of Asia Durr (Louisville), Arike Ogunbowale (Notre Dame), Napheesa Collier (Connecticut) and Kristine Anigwe (Cal) who lost in the semifinals finishing with a 5-2 record and third in the final standings.
Team USA bring their on-court chemistry and experience of playing together to the table, not to mention their friendship. “Let’s face it, they’re with each other. It’s one thing when you’re playing with people that you don’t know, but these are their best friends and they get to travel the world like this and compete together, that’s a great deal,” said Kelly Graves, the head coach of the Oregon Ducks.
They are led by Ionescu, one of the nation’s top point guards and scorers, who was also named the 3×3 National Championship MVP. Erin Boley is a 6-foot-2 guard who can shoot it, Ruthy Hebard brings a presence down low at 6-foot-4 and works well with spacing the floor and rebounding. Oti Gildon is a versatile forward who brings experience as the lone senior to the team.
The 3×3 FIBA World Cup began in 2012 and has been held every two years. USA has qualified for every competition since it began and currently holds two gold medals and one bronze medal most recently from 2016.
Nearly a year a go, the International Olympic Committee approved the addition of 3×3 basketball to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. It is considered by FIBA as the “number one urban team sport” and has quickly taken off in recent years. “Now that it’s an Olympic sport, it adds so much to the importance of it,” added Graves. This World Cup is an incredible experience for Team USA’s Olympic consideration in 2020.
– Games are played on one basket, in the half court.
– Two teams compete at once, made up of three players and up to one sub per team.
– Games are played on a 10 minute clock and 12-second shot clock.
– The first team to reach 21 points or best after 10 minutes wins.
– Free throws and shots inside the arc are worth one point.
– Shots made beyond the arc are worth two points.
- In the case of a tie, the first team to score two points in overtime wins.
The 3×3 FIBA World Cup will take place from June 8-12th in Manila in Philippine Arena. Team USA will start off in pool play against Iran and Andorra on the 8th followed by Russia and Uganda on the 10th. From there, teams will advance to the quarterfinals and single-elimination.