Despite a fourth consecutive strong start, the United States women’s 3x3 team couldn’t buy a bucket late against Brazil on Wednesday and dropped their World Beach Games quarterfinal game 14-12 in overtime.
In their first three games, Team USA cruised to victories against the Dominican Republic (22-5), Jordan (22-4) and Russia (22-3). The team made up of the Minnesota Lynx’s Napheesa Collier, the Las Vegas Aces’ Jackie Young, Oregon senior Ruthy Hebard and 2020 UConn commit Paige Bueckers shot a blistering 57 percent in those games while holding their opponents to 10 made shots on 15 percent shooting.
Against Brazil, the United States again got out to a quick 10-3 lead, but then the shots stopped falling. Brazil caught up, and regulation ended tied at 12 apiece. Since 3x3 plays on a “golden point”-style overtime, Brazil’s first made two-point basket sealed their victory.
Most of the United States’ offense in the final game came from Jackie Young, who scored nine points on 7-of-11 shooting. Collier, Hebard and Bueckers had one point apiece as the team’s shooting plummeted to 34 percent.
Across all four games, Young led Team USA with 6.8 points per game, Bueckers had 6.5, Collier scored 4.8 and Hebard averaged an even 4 points. The team made 28 percent of their two-point baskets (shots from beyond the arc) while holding their opponents to six percent from that distance — courtesy of two made shots by Brazil.
France went undefeated to take World Beach Games gold, the Netherlands took silver and China won bronze. By virtue of their 3-1 record, the United States took fifth place.
The United States is still fighting to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but they face an uphill battle, as the field will consist of just eight teams. Twenty teams will make the Olympic qualifying tournament, which takes place in India in March; USA is currently ranked No. 19.